5 Minutes for Books: Friendship for Grownups by Lisa Whelchel

by Jennifer Donovan

I love my friends. Seriously, I don’t know where I’d be without everything I get from my girlfriends — support, encouragement, wisdom, and of course a lot of laughs!

Lisa Whelchel, who all of you who grew up in the 80′s like I did, might remember as Blair on the Facts of Life, took her own journey to intentionally look at friendship in her life. Like me, she thought she was pretty good at friendship. She was able to reach out to people, she had a great group of friends with whom she laughed and shared life, but a few good friends in her life made her realize that she was holding back — she had built a wall of reserve.

Friendship for Grown-Ups: What I Missed and Learned Along the Way is the story of her journey. It’s not a how-to guide on making friends, it’s not meant to inspire you to build bridges with people (though you will probably want to after reading it). It’s simply her personal story of rocky friendships, good friendships, intergenerational friendships. She dug deep to break down her own walls and found it was worth it.

I loved this book.

I had a chance to do a phone interview with Lisa, and it was fun talking to her about our own experiences with friendship:

After reading the book, I realized that I’ve held back from true intimacy as well. I wondered how we can identify our own walls, or walls in others, and how can we break them down?

Lisa Whelchel said, “When I’m talking to someone, I pay attention to how I’m feeling”

She related a story about how she was talking to someone, and then she just put the wall right up, and said what she thought she should say, versus how she was really feeling. Lisa recognized the switch and confronted her friend about it. She gave her permission to feel and express her true feelings.

“We relate mask to mask not heart to heart.”

That should vs. reality quandry made me wonder if she thought it was harder for Christian women to have intimate friendships, or harder. On one hand, we have that very important common bond. On the other hand, there is that mask.

She didn’t even hesitate. “It’s definitely harder. There’s so much pressure to be a certain way, we end up pretending to be what we should be instead of who we really are.”

I love the fact that throughout the book, Lisa let us peek into so many kinds of friendships — intergenerational, Christian to Christian, old friends, new friends. I asked her, “Why is it important to get close to a variety of people?”

“If you have a diet of just peanut butter and jelly — those are yummy — but you miss out on steak or salad or a piece of fruit.”

This sums up what I like about this book and my conversation with Lisa Whelchel. She’s real. She’s down-home. But she’s wise too.

She encourages us in the book to be vulnerable and to just “get naked” with those around us (metaphorically of course). Knowing that she’s a good Texas girl, I had to ask her, “Is it naked, or nekkid?”

“Nekkid!” she squealed. “Oh, definitely nekkid.”

I have THREE copies of Friendship for Grown-Ups: What I Missed and Learned Along the Way to give away, courtesy of Thomas Nelson publisher. Please leave a comment if you’d like to win this great book. We’ll announce the winners in the August 9 column.

The winner of Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner is #13 Sarah.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

Email Author    |    Website About Jennifer Donovan

Jennifer Donovan has been a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom team since 2007. She writes product reviews, covers events, and manages the 5 Minutes for Books weekly column and website. She lives in Houston and blogs at Snapshot about life with her family.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Summer July 26, 2010 at 1:57 am

As a 30 something new mom I’m really trying to rediscover and recreate my life, with child. In that quest I am acutely recognizing the importance of female friendships. Though I have many friends I am discovering that I don’t have many “good friends” at all. And I truly believe this is self-imposed after reading this post. I don’t think about “walls” in context with friends. Husband, co-workers, sure. But friends…it’s brilliant! This book really resonates with where I’m at right now. I really hope I am picked to get a copy. It will be well received.


2 stacy July 26, 2010 at 2:00 am

I’d love to win a copy of this book!


3 Ruth Hill July 26, 2010 at 8:51 am

Please enter me to win!


4 Kate July 26, 2010 at 9:07 am

Sounds like a great read! Thank you!


5 NerdMom July 26, 2010 at 11:11 am

I would love to read this book! I really enjoy her books!


6 Elizabeth July 26, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I so miss the authentic, intentional friendships I had back in college and deeply desire to create those again at this stage of my life. I have not yet read one of Lisa’s books, but heard her speak once and just truly admire her vulnerability. I’d love to win this book!


7 Kelli July 26, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Love this!


8 Liz July 26, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I loved watching that show!!


9 Margaret July 26, 2010 at 3:39 pm

This sounds like a must read book! Thanks for the giveaway!


10 Beth July 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm

It’s funny because I’m right in the middle of a situation right now where someone is encouraging me to don a mask rather than be my authentic self in order to make an experience more “comfortable” for more people. I think this book might be a must read for me whether I win one or not.


11 Creative2xmom July 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Wow… I’d love to read this book. Keeping my fingers crossed that I win.


12 Lisa July 27, 2010 at 7:05 am

I love Lisa & her books! This one sounds awesome – thanks ladies for the chance to win :)


13 Wendy M July 27, 2010 at 10:35 am

I have enjoyed reading her other books and would love to read this one too.


14 Linda Kish July 27, 2010 at 10:53 am

I’d love to win this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com


15 Sarah - PS Mom Reviews July 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

I always love finding great new books like this one.


16 Marj M. July 27, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Lisa is just as beautiful today as in The Facts Of Life. I would love to read a copy.


17 Angie July 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I used to love Blair and Facts of Life! This sounds like a great book!


18 LaVonne July 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I really like this author I have one of her parenting books. Thanks for offering!


19 TopazTook July 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I’ve read some of her other books and am interested in this topic. I’d love to win this one!


20 tennille July 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I didn’t know she was a writer-cool


21 Marcella Cook July 27, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I would really love to get a copy of this book. I missed her when she came to East TX.

emmerswee at gmail dot com


22 Dena July 28, 2010 at 12:44 am

Yes, I would love to read this book.


23 Dee July 28, 2010 at 12:44 am

I would love to win this book!


24 Jen July 28, 2010 at 6:40 am

I would love to win her book! She is someone I think I could sit down and chat with all day!


25 shelly July 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I loved watching her on The Facts of Life! This sounds like a great book to read. Thanks for the chance.


26 Sarah July 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I would love to read this book!!


27 Angel H. July 28, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Would like to win. I have great friends and am thankful for them. I remember her from the facts of life.


28 Peggy Gorman July 30, 2010 at 8:44 am

This book sounds wonderful! Its so true that for years,it was mask to mask instead of heart to heart! Some of the wall is breaking down and woman are talking more of their true feelings!
Thanks for the chance


29 bonnie walker July 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

I would love to read this book. Working full-time and caring for my family has left me little time for strong friendships. I would like to change that.


30 katklaw777 August 1, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I’d luv to read this interesting book, thanks.


31 Tammy Gordon August 3, 2010 at 6:03 am

Sounds like a great book!


32 Carolyn August 3, 2010 at 6:55 am

This book sounds inspiring


33 Sonia August 3, 2010 at 9:38 am

Thanks for the contest!


34 Melissa August 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Love her! This book sounds terrific.


35 Sheri August 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I would love to win this book. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!


36 Mozi Esmes Mommy August 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I’d love to read this!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com


37 riTa August 11, 2010 at 10:45 am

I may need this book more than I realize–authentic relationships, a beautiful thing!


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