Issue No. 296 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a hot-off-the-press book on friendship from Jerry and Mary White. They quote Virginia Woolf, “Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I go to my friends.” Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff or board meeting.
Friendship Is Unnecessary
One of my favorite eNews readers (yes, I have favorites) emailed me some hilarious feedback recently. Here’s a line from this nonprofit CEO’s note:
“Well this email may be a surprise to you as I forwarded the latest Your Weekly Staff Meeting to a friend of mine (which excludes nearly every person who has served on a board over me, past, present and likely future—but I digress)…”
I laughed-out-loud and then thought about the board members I’ve served with—and, gratefully, my mind quickly landed on a former board chair, Jerry White, who is still a friend! Jerry chaired the CMA board (now Christian Leadership Alliance) and his day job was president of The Navigators.
So how’s this for timing? Jerry and Mary White have just written a heart-warming little book on friendship—and it’s so good, and so helpful, you’ll want to order extra copies.
I have seven reasons why you’ll appreciate To Be a Friend: Building Deep and Lasting Relationships.
Reason No. 1: Maybe your friendships need a tune-up or a celebration. Be honest here—when’s the last time you’ve read a book on building deep and lasting friendships? Maybe never?
In just 150 pages, the Whites tripled my understanding about the richness and diversities of true friendship. Generously, they open the curtain on their friendships—and let us in on the fun, the sadness, and their memorable stories, many told on themselves (LOL!).
Reason No. 2: More than 40 PowerPoint-worthy quotations! The Whites walk like they talk—and they write like they walk. To Be a Friend is packed with gems, plus over 40 poignant quotations on friendship, including:
• “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value. Rather, it is one of those things that give value to survival.” (C.S. Lewis)
• “It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble and then not worth much after you get it.” (Zora Neale Hurston)
• And this from Milton Berle on friends who make you laugh:
an instant vacation.”
Reason No. 3: Compelling chapter titles—too tempting not to read! I especially loved the fresh insights from these seasoned saints on “Virtuous Friendship,” “Broken or Damaged Friendships,” and “The Lego Factor: Building Close Friendships.” In their chapter, “How Much Does Friendship Cost?” the Whites deliver a gut-checker insight:
“Have you ever looked at your caller ID as you received a phone call and thought, I just don’t have time or energy to talk to that person right now? and then let the call go to voice mail? You’re not alone. Everyone has done this at some time. On the other hand, we immediately answer the call from certain people, even if it is 2:00 a.m. Both calls bear a cost to us, but the difference in response is the depth and commitment of the relationship.”
Reason No. 4: Not all friendships are created equal. Whew! That’s a relief! The Whites estimate “that a person makes between 500 to 1,500 acquaintances in a year.” Not every acquaintance becomes a friend—so the authors suggest we think about the four circles of friendship:
• Casual Friends
• Close Friends
• Intimate (Best) Friends
Quoting George MacDonald, “Few delights can equal the presence of one whom we trust utterly,” Jerry and Mary beautifully describe and define intimate friendships:
“These friends are rare and few in number. They are the people we trust most deeply, share with most intimately, and depend on most strongly. They bring zest to our lives, and we cherish them for a lifetime. We estimate that people will have only three to five best friends over a lifetime. This is not a rule, just an observation.”
Reason No. 5: You’ll think differently, and more seriously, about friendships. “Each of our friends has contributed to the person we have become. We are a product of our families, our times, and our geographical roots. But friends mark us in profound ways. They alter our thinking, actions, desires, and ambitions, for good and for bad.” Yikes!
Reason No. 6: Creative, thoughtful, humorous and God-honoring insights. At conferences, if Jerry and/or Mary were leading workshops, I’d be there—irrespective of the subject. Wisdom oozed. Ditto their books and ditto this one. Prolific authors, the Whites always deliver pass-along, teachable content and Christ-centered thinking. Examples: The Joseph Road: Choices That Determine Your Destiny; Rules to Live By: 52 Principles for a Better Life; and Harsh Grief, Gentle Hope.
Reason No. 7: The Book Cover! The eye-catching cover (see below) just begs for an honored place on your desk or your coffee table. Never has a book cover so perfectly described a book: To Be a Friend.
In writing a book review, Ambrose Bierce once said, “The covers of this book are too far apart.” Not this one!
To order from Amazon, click on the graphic below for To Be a Friend: Building Deep and Lasting Relationships, by Jerry and Mary White.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) “Most of us are unknowingly selfish when it comes to friendship,” say the authors in their chapter on “Virtuous Friendship.” Here’s a discussion topic from the book: “[Discuss] the instances in which you have practiced virtuous friendship or been the recipient of a virtuous friendship.”
2) The Whites quote Walter Winchell’s poignant line, “A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.” So…here at work, are you that kind of friend to at least one person?
The Chances of Meeting Your Perfect Match: Infinitesimal - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
In my cycle through the 20 management buckets, this issue features Chapter 9, The Team Bucket, and this reminder from page 208 of my 2013 book-of-the-year, “You’re not managing you!”
One key to effective management is to fine-tune your leadership style to each person on your team (few think like you). According to the “Strengths” gurus, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, “Very few people share your signature themes (in fact, there are over 35 million possible combinations of the top-five [of the 34 StrengthsFinder talent themes], so the chances of your meeting your perfect match are infinitesimal.)” That’s less than a dozen people in all of North America! As King David said, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
For more on the StrengthsFinder assessment, valued by more than 10 million people worldwide, visit the Team Bucket webpage.