This post is sponsored by DaySpring and contains affiliate links. I received product in exchange for promotion. All views and opinions (and reading group plans!) are my own.
I am so excited about the newest book selection for the TLIB Reading Group! DaySpring was kind enough to send me their latest book by (in)courage Community Manager Lisa-Jo Baker, Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships.
I am certain this book was written for me. I think Lisa-Jo must have been following me around in middle-school, taking notes up through my angsty teenage years into high school, through to university and up to today, a woman who carries scars, shame, and insecurities from broken and failed friendships past.
The TLIB Reading Group is becoming a place of real community for me. (I've even been brave enough to do live videos for book discussions! Whaaaaaat!?)
Just today, I shared a story about a particular friend from my childhood who told me she couldn't be my friend anymore because I'd succeeded at something she'd secretly wanted me to fail at. We had been friends for about ten years, and jealousy tore us apart. (There's obviously a longer version of the story, but that's it in two sentences.)
I've carried the pain from that "break-up" through to today. To this day, I'm afraid to succeed, for fear that people I love just won't like me anymore. I know it's not the truth, but my unconscious mind tells me that the people I love and care about want me to fail.
It goes further than that, too. I'm a Words of Affirmation girl, so I thrive on words of encouragement. When I don't receive verbal (or written!) support from people "in my circle," not only do I feel rejected and unloved, but I also feel active contempt and condemnation; because of the pain from my past, when I don't feel supported by someone close to me, my experience tells me that this is someone who's actually hoping to see me fail.
Listen up. I am not damaged goods. I have friendships, and I have great relationships with members of my family. I don't wallow in self-pity, curled up in a ball with my thumb in my mouth, crying, "nobody loves me!" I mean, who doesn't have baggage, right? I don't let my baggage – my experiences – define me. I live, I love, and I'm happy,
What I am missing though, goes deeper than just "having friends."
In Never Unfriended, Lisa-Jo starts by tackling our fears. These are the titles of the first three chapters:
Chapter 1: The Fear of Being Hurt. Again. (Friendship PTSD)
Chapter 2: The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Chapter 3: The Fear of Being (or Including) the New Girl
Those are the titles that make me certain that Lisa-Jo has been stalking me for 20-odd years, and has bugged my home and can read my mind.
But wait! Get this:
Chapter 4: We Can't Always Have Friendship Our Way
Chapter 5: We Can't Expect Other People to Fill Us Up
Chapter 6: We Can't Control Other People's Stories
Did you catch that!? Read the title of Chapter 5 again! What did she say!? Wasn't I just going on about needing friends and family to fill me up? Oh, me.
I clearly need to read this book.
We're better together, right? Right – which is why I'm looking forward to diving into Never Unfriended in the TLIB Reading Group. Learning and experiencing revelations within a community is one of the most refreshing and fulfilling things… I really believe that. In fact I know it! You should join us!
Now, one more thing before you go.
There's a fun activity, or challenge, that goes along with the theme of Never Unfriended. DaySpring sent me one of the most adorable little Conversation Starter Jars, which is full of slips of paper that have questions on them to encourage – you guessed it – conversation. I'll be using these little conversation starters in the Facebook Group once we get started with the book!
Here are some sample questions. Choose one of the following questions, and give us your answer in the comments!
- What's something you've tried, that you'll never, ever try again?
- Are there any household chores you secretly enjoy?
- What makes you feel brave?
- What are you most grateful for, right now, in this moment?