|Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't
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Finding safe people provides the foundation for building healthy, lasting relationships. Here's how to identify safe people.
- Response to Renee's review
I find Renee's review below to be hypercritical. Safe People is an exceptional tool for recognizing unsafe relationships--an engaging, warm, insightful and indispensable book, especially but not exclusively for Christians. I would put it in the category of Changes that Heal and Boundaries both for sharp insight and practical help. O.K., now look--no book does everything, and there other books which approach this topic from a different angle. Coping With Difficult People, for example, by Robert Bramson is good re people who manipulate at work, dominate in conversation, etc, but especially in high-powered situations like the office. Dealing With Difficult People (sorry, can't remember
author's name) had insights on games people play, adult-child-parent patterns of relating to others, avoiding certain psychological "rackets", and even leading groups of difficult people, written years before the self-help revolution. His book is a stand-out, but often runs out of space for truly in-depth solutions. Difficult Conversations, by the Harvard Negotiation project, is the best book on practical communication--head and shoulders above, for example, Caring Enough to Confront, which itself is admittedly good. What Safe People does, very, very well, is increase one's ability to discern the unsafe people around us, and those same tendencies within ourselves. In doing so, it includes a substantial amount of practical advice and wry but humble wisdom.
I do agree with Sister Renee that a section could have been written on 1)how to get out of such relationships especially when they are really sticky ones; 2)a step-by step approach to finding and grooming really good and rewarding relationships; 3)and a really good, annotated bibliography for doing further work on specific areas of relationship. As a matter of fact, I think Dr. Cloud would be the perfect person to write just such a sequel. I think a series of novels could be written for young adults which could indirectly address just such issues. Maybe Sister Renee herself should write something about the abusive, destructive types she is more concerned with.
- Balanced biblical instruction to help prevent abuse
These guys know what they are talking about. In terms that are germane to what really happens in our relationships with other people, Henry Cloud and John Townsend map out the destructive ways we often relate to others as well offering plausible and holy ways to rectify them.
It is not a "feel-good" book however, but it is the most practical and insightful book om human realtionships that I have ever read. Applying the principles in the book brings on emotional and spiritual progress for sure, and without fail draws one closer to the heartbeat of God.
If only more authors could cut through to the heart of the matter like these guys have done in their books!
Joseph Dawes...more info
- SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING BY THE 18 YEAR OF AGE
This book is written so well, so clear, and so boldly that one leaves it having gained a new confidence in choosing healthy relationships. These authors are straight forward and to the point, and write with no room for "sissyness". For example, they clearly point out the things you may be doing to contribute to the "drooping" state of your relationships. (Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this review. A workbook for the paperback edition is also available.) I regret that the rating only goes up to ten, as this book DESERVES a 20 out of ten. If you are an adult or almost an adult, then you are required to (I can't REALLY order you to but I wish I could) read this. This book is THAT GOOD and it's message THAT IMPORTANT! Order it yesterday!...more info
- Life Changing
I'm a 'Pleaser'. There, I said it. If you are someone who has excellent boundaries, is able to discern when people are using you, or treat you well one day and not the next, don't buy this book.
If, however, you are like me (before I read 'Safe People') and find yourself constantly wearing yourself to a frazzle trying to make everyone happy all the time, HURRY and buy this book.
'Safe People' will help you identify those in your life whom you find relate to you negatively if you don't perform to THEIR expectations. And, you'll see in this book people like the ones in your own life who will treat you well one day (or minute) and will be hurtful to you the next.
Drs. Townsend and Cloud have co-authored several books, including their flagship book 'Boundaries'. I began my journey to healthy relationships here and immediately read 'Safe People' after I completed 'Boundaries'. BOTH are EXCELLENT! If, I could wave a magic wand, I'd make both books mandatory reading for receiving a High School diploma!
'Safe People' did change my life. I KNOW who's who now. And I don't allow unsafe people into my life...EVER!...more info
- Safe People
Well... I sure didn't find the negative that others seemingly found in this book, and I definitely didn't find any arrogance at all on the part of the authors.
I believe this book was written for our everyday relationships from casual acquaintances to the closer more initimate friendships. I don't believe it was in any way intended to address a physically or mentally abusive marriage and/or the clearcut narrcisists in life, those being a miserable breed of their own and requiring some serious counseling for their severely abused victims.
This book helped me tremendously to take a stand and risk having friends abandoned me when I set my own boundaries based on scripture... where I end, and where you begin, this is who I am and this is how I feel, and what I need. A growing practicing Christian would understand, and benefit tremendously from this book... as not all "Christians" are necessarily safe people.
Again, I don't believe this book was written for overcoming hard-core emotional and/or physical abuse. It was written for those day-to-day friendship relationships that we all have around us and desire to be healthy, growing ones. Anything less can be draining to our spirit and not productive nor rewarding. ...more info
- Good but not great
I bought safe people with the hope that it would help me understand what to do with difficult people when they seem to latch on and leech the lifeblood out of you.
Cloud & Townsend (graduates from my school) present a good psychological evaluation of unsafe people, but give no answers to the person searching out how to deal with those people. I know who's unsafe...but now what?
As far as personal growth, this book is good. It gives Biblical advice on how to take the plank out of your own eye before you go poking around someone else's eye, looking for the speck.
In short, Good - but no great....more info
- Excellent Book on Relationships
I work as a lay counselor at our church. This book is wonderfully written and will be a tremendous resource for our library. I am so grateful to Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend for the taking the time to write such helpful information. Their book Boundries has already become very popular and I am sure this one will as well. Practical, real and honest, they deal with matters of the heart that often trip so many of us up. It's scriptural, loving and holds up a mirror so we can see ourselves. A very useful thing indeed!...more info
- not what you think it is
I was looking forward to reading this book and when I started to read it I realized it was a religious book disquised as a different type of book. I am very disapointed and might send it back. Be aware....more info
- Discernment versus Judgement
Discernment is objective, it alerts us that some people, places, and situations are legitimate unsafe conditions to have in our lives. Discernment is having a clear head to choose to say no and be available for safe and healthy realities. And you are able to wish them well so they one day may find the way. Then you let go and forget about it. It is in the past.
Judgement is when you take yourself AWAY from a situation but continue to judge and condem the very people, places, and situations long after you are gone through gossip, name-calling, and all sorts of cruel intentions manifested. It is subjective and harsh, and has the past in the present and future.
That said, this is an invaluable book on the nature of choosing a loving life experience with safe and emotionally healthy people. We create our reality through people, places, and situations that we have absolute choice in allowing in. Don't be emotionally hijacked. Take calculated risks in life - that is different than being reckless. Have as happy an existence as possible. Safe is not boring if you look at in the context of what is emotionally healthy and honoring to yourself and others.
A Warning from the Cover:
Safe People (Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend)
How to find relationships that are good for you and avoid those that aren't.
Countless individuals have invested themselves into people who've shipwrecked their lives in return. They've been abandoned or taken advantage of, and left with little to show for what they've given. They've lost the sense of security and personal value in the process.
This video presentation will walk you through frank, soul-searching questions into active changes and practical steps for growth. Safe People gives you solid guidance that will help you:
Correct things within yourself that jeopardize your relational security
Learn the twenty traits of "unsafe" people
Recognize what makes people trustworthy
Avoid unhealthy relationships
Form positive relationships
- This book will change your life.
This book is full of life-changing material. It teaches you about discernment and how to break the cycle of bad relationships. Since it is based on Biblical principles, it gives you a framework on which to build relationships. I read it along with the workbook as part of a Bible study a couple of years ago and it made a tremendous impact on my life. I recommend this book to anyone I meet who is having any kind of relationship problem - either with their friends or their family. It is excellent!...more info
- Safe People
Someone recommended this book and with the title I was not sure what I was getting into. However, after reading it, I think it should be required reading for everyone. The book is well written and discusses personal, personality charecteristics that everyone needs to work on to make themselves a better person, a safe person. A person other people can rely on to tell them the truth, to give honest feedback and to treat them fairly from an emotional perspective. I would strongly recommend this book to any age group. ...more info
- Safe People Workbook
This workbook helps you to personalized the material found in the book Safe People. It helps you to learn valuable life skills....more info
- Safe People
I really enjoyed reading this book. Even though you think you know who safe people are, sometimes you are blinded. Dr. Henry Cloud has a great way of making sense of everything and helps put everything into perspective. I was so into this book that I couldn't put it down and finished reading this in one day. Hence, I purchased three more of his books....more info
- EVERYONE needs to read this book!
This is my 2nd book written by Dr Henry Cloud and its just as excellent at the other (boundaries in marriage). This book is NOT for persons in dangerous relationships anymore than an asprin will help your broken bones.
However, this book WILL help you reconnect with the basic fundamental idea that society has been drilling out of us since we were small.. We all really DO NEED PEOPLE in our lives. Self sufficiency is not what God had in mind for us. He built us to need eachothers company/attention/love/time and some very unhappy things happen inside us when we don't get that from others. This book helps identify how that can effect us and shows us how to find people who are safe to share who we are. This book is for you and for me....more info
- Should be required reading !!!!!!
This was my first book by Cloud and Townsend. I learned so much about myself and the others around me that I knew, but couldn't put into such practical words. The character traits of a safe church were very practical and insightful. This book pointed out (in my words) that our salvation is put into practice through our relationships,and that our relationships with God and His people are in a way, who we are. Every church/Christian should read this book and have support/small groups to discuss and practice these principals. I can only image the impact of Christ's church if that were the case!...more info
In examining ourselves (chapter four, "How We Lost Our Safety"), there are 4 areas where the reader may fail as a safe person. But in examining other people ("the bad guys") in chapters one to three, there are 23 areas where "they" may fail as safe people. At first I felt kind of good reading this book: "they" were not safe at all and "I" (one of the good guys, like the authors) was just an average sinner who needed some tweaking.
But after reading the book a second time and putting myself in the "them" shoes, I could see many ways I had not been a safe person either. This approach was more productive to me, since I cannot change others -- I can only change myself.
I am left clueless as to how to get rid of unsafe people. This book is full of anecdotes about unsafe people the authors knew (e.g., Bernard, Harry, Barry) but they don't tell us how they got rid of these people. Please, tell me how to get rid of unsafe people.
I am also uncertain as to which people I should keep and which I should "dump" (if indeed God wants us to to dump our friends.) The final "repair or replace" chapter seems to be dedicated to marriages only, and gives biblical references for repairing or replacing a marriage. The final chapter, however, does not deal with whether to repair or replace unsafe friends and acquaintances.
And then there are the unsafe people about whom we have no choice: family and coworkers. Sigh.
Maybe I expected too much from this book. After reading the authors' excellent book on "Boundaries in Marriage" I must say I am disappointed....more info
- A Brand New Steal of a Deal!
I ordered Safe People (which I recommend to all) from this buyer. The book arrived before scheduled delivery and brand new! The price I paid was a steal and even with shipping cost my total was under the retail value I would have paid in any bookstore. I highly recommend this seller :)...more info
- Safe People
Everyone should read this book to identify safe and unsafe people. I saw myself in the book as an unsafe person. I am working to correct that through God's help....more info
- Great Book!
I believe everyone would benefit from reading this book. Discover ways to improve your relationships by becoming a "safer" person and also learn to see how others may be toxic in your life. I really enjoyed this book because I love to learn about different behaviors in people which always lead to being able to help others in their time of need. The one thing I wish the book touched on that it didn't was what to do with unsafe people that you are "stuck" with, ie. family, not spouse. The only advice it gave was to proceed that relationship with caution...still, great advice....more info
- if you werent taught, this book will teach you
I read this book a while ago, and I think I liked it so much I read it too fast :) But I see on here that there are some not so good reviews. I thought this book was fantastic! If you are familiar with Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, you are familiar with their biblicaly backed up work. In this book, they explore what makes an unsafe person, how we attract unsafe people, and how to find safe people. Another "problem to solution" book of theirs. They give a solution after breaking down the problem. After reading this book, I realized that some of the realationships in my life were unsafe and why. This book gave me courage to let go of these unsafe relationships or challenge them. To some people, determining safe people comes easy, but it doesnt always come easy to me. I may have an internal inkling that something isnt right, but I dont know why or how to solve it. This book is helpful in that regard....more info
- Forgettable, Uninspiring
The first part of the book was okay, as it outlined the types of people who are "unsafe", but it completely wimped out on the reader. The authors give no solutions for improving relationships or finding safe people.
I expected that the book would be a lot more practical, and it just wasn't. It was very clinical and dry. Additionally, I find some of the concepts a tad spiritually "iffy". They seem to play fast and loose with scriptures, applying scriptures to situations that would have benefitted from any number of different scriptures. It was weird. His interpretation of scripture was a little odd. Also, most of they said was not backed up with a lot of scripture when you really evaluate it.
Also, it was poorly written. The sentence construction was poor. Technically it was correct, but overall a hindrance when you have to read a sentence three times to figure out its point. They just aren't versed in the art of writing.
In all a really dull and uninspiring read. Not at all helpful. I wish I had something better to say about it, but I don't. It was disappointing and forgettable....more info
- Safe People
It is a good book on interpersonal relationships. Drs. Cloud and Townsend define safe relationships as those relationships that can be trusted. In safe relationships, people connect with one another, they provide emotional and social support to one another, and most importantly, they accept others the way they are. Safe relationships promote feelings of care and affection within the individual and amongst one another. The authors provide guide to the readers to determine if they indeed have safe relationships in their personal and work life. People who let others down; people who approach others when they want something from them and not because they want to spend time with them; people who fabricate and lie; people who backstab; and people who are inconsistent in their interactions; warm one day and cold the next day; are definitely not safe people. The authors make references to Bible and give a message that spirituality is significant for a happy and peaceful existence. They provide tips on how to create safety in interpersonal relationships. Drs. Cloud and Townsend also have website www.CloudTownsend.com. The website includes useful resources such as several video clips on various aspects of interpersonal relationships. If you are looking for personal growth, I would recommend this book to you. It has about two hundred pages. You can finish it in one sitting....more info
- great on relationships!!!
Wow,what a great book on relationships! This book is for all of us who has been in poor relations with our friends,co-works, and family members. Do yourself a favor,get this book and read it. Then put the good sound information to use!!!...more info
- Must-Read for Christian Relationship-Building
Cloud and Townsend, authors of the classic relational book "Boundaries," offer a wealth of insight here on developing healthy Christian relationships. They distinguish between safe and unsafe people, listing three categories of the latter: abandoners, critics and irresponsibles. They then continue to describe the character traits of unsafe people, and their interpersonal traits. Part two of the book asks the question, "Do I attract unsafe people?" The authors explore why so many of us get into unsafe relationships. In part three, safe people are portrayed, and the need of them explained. They close with a chapter on deciding whether or not to repair or to replace a relationship that is unsafe.
The portion of this book I found the most helpful was the valid point that churches do not always contain safe people. Many people in churches are unsafe, and some churches themselves are unsafe. The great need is for Christian discernment, and the authors provide insight in that regard.
I loved this book. I recommend it highly to anyone seeking to build healthy relationships that strengthen one another in Jesus Christ....more info
- Another Good One In The Series...
Another great book from the duo. The authors give an excellent description of "unsafe" people. I also think that the authors hit home with some really hard truths about personal responsibility. I believe that this book, read in combination with the book, Boundaries, (also by the same authors)could produce some life-changing behaviors....especially since the books are Biblically based....more info
- Safe People
The book is outstanding! It explains step by step how to recognize unsafe tendencies in others and in ourselves. I have learned so much so that I was able to pick a new job,better church atmosphere,and new friends. I went from a level 2 on the happiness scale to a level 9 in about 6-7 mos. I thank God for practical, dedicated authors like Dr Cloud and Dr Townsend....more info
- opened my eyes
Safe People was given to me by my therapist,because there are people in my life who are not safe for me.I suffer from depression and anxiety so the book helped me look at myself and identify the qualities that me and others around me possess. not quite as good as Boundaries but close. ...more info
- personal growth guide
This is a great guide for small-group growth, dealing with childhood and adult wounds, and how to avoid toxic relationships. It is a practical guide that goes further that the late Scott Peck's book, People of the Lie.
I can say it has helped me in my professional life as well. ...more info
- Spell It Out
This book spells out for you exactly what to look for in peope and what will keep you safe. Very awesome....more info
- Very Insightful & Amazing Book!
This book has been extremely helpful to me. I have always considered myself a nice & thoughtful person but I seem to attract people that are bad for me. I hope you find it just as helpful. I know the boundaries thing & I can do that. What I realize now is that I didn't want to see the signs that were already there in these people who were in my life. This book has helped me want to learn more about what to watch out for. Also, I'm open to improving myself with anything I learn about me from this book. It's a two-for-one deal! ...more info
- A practical guide toward relating with Biblical references
"Safe People" deals with the problem of character discernment, or evaluating who is good for us and who isn't. According to the authors, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, "safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be." Cloud and Townsend "believe the Bible contains the keys to understanding how to tell safe people from unsafe ones. It also teaches how to become safe people for others. In this age of broken relationships, these scriptural principles are both timeless and timely."
The authors devote Chapters 1 through 4 to examining and discussing who unsafe people are and the identifying traits of unsafe people. Chapters 5 through 8 examine the origin of the problem: why one might choose unsafe people to be in relationship with and how to repair this problem. The rest of the book is devoted to learning more about what safe people are and why we need them. The authors offer practical help on successfully meeting and relating to safe people. Overall, the book is designed to help one look both outside and inside oneself. As the authors cite from Matthew 7:5, "First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Cloud and Townsend raise a valuable point in that people tend to look for people to be in relationship with who are "spiritual," "godly, "ambitious," "fund to be with," and so on, and yet, these are not the issues that cause relationships to break apart. Relationships break apart because one partner doesn't listen to the other; because of perfectionistic tendencies; because of emotional distance; because of controlling tendencies; for promises that are made but not followed through; from condemnation, judgment, and anger; and most of all, because of a lack of or breakdown in trust. "We tend to look on the outside and not the inside of a person," the authors state. "We look at worldly success, charm, looks, humor, status and education, accomplishments, talents and giftedness, or religious activity." None of these qualities are character issues, which are precisely at the heart of both successful and failed relationships.
But the authors do not merely point the finger at unsafe people outside of ourselves. To begin with, a critical question they ask their readers is to reflect on what each one has learned about him- or herself from failed relationships. Furthermore, they tackle the issue of how our own actions reflect our relationship with God and how God lives through us. "The church often emphasizes our relationship with God and de-emphasizes our relationships with other people," they write. "We need to be around others who help us to grow and become the people who God made us to be ... We often learn about the divine from the fleshly. As John writes, 'If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen' (1 John 4:20)."
Recognizing that the typical response to being in relationships that have hurt is to retreat into isolation, withdraw, and shut down emotionally, Cloud and Townsend respond by citing the Bible to indicate that God created us to be in relationship with one another. "Finding safe people is not just a luxury," they write. "It's a necessary part of growing spiritually mature ... Everyone is created to be relational."
One way the authors counter the cultural norm toward self-sufficiency is by comparing spiritual hunger with physical hunger. "God created within us a hunger, a longing to be known and loved. This hunger functions exactly like physical hunger. It's a signal. It causes discomfort, a warning saying, 'Get up and get connected. Your tank's empty.' Hunger keeps us aware of our needs ... Make friends with your needs. Welcome them. They are a gift from God, designed to draw you into relationship with him and with his safe people. Your needs are the cure to the sin of self-sufficiency," which pushes us only further into isolation.
"The best example of a safe person is found in Jesus," they write. "In him were found the three qualities of a safe person: dwelling, grace, and truth." Safe people are also a very forgiving people, according to Cloud and Townsend. "They expect failure and disappointment from those they love ... Learn to receive forgiveness [and] learn to give forgiveness," they suggest.
Finally, the authors deal with whether to repair or replace a hurting relationship. "The chief theme of the entire Bible is reconciliation of unsafe relationships." While by no means suggesting that people remain in unsafe, dysfunctional, or abusive relationships, the authors differentiate between forgiveness in a relating sense and clearly drawing one's boundaries.
"The good news is that you can be saved from a life of relational hell with unsafe people. The bad news is that you must take up your cross and do the hard work of dealing with your own character problems. We have found in our lives and in the lives of others that this process works. If you will do the hard work of distinguishing safe and unsafe people, abiding deeply with the safe ones and dealing redemptively with the unsafe ones, you will develop an abundant life, full of satisfying relationships and meaningful service to God."...more info
- Been hurt? Read the book
This book is straight forward, easy to read, and ideal for anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship, abandoned, had a troubled childhood, or just plain has issues connecting w/ people or maintaining relationships. It also sheds light on the common myth that being alone is better, or being alone is the only way to be close to God. When relationships go bad/end sometimes it's not you, but sometimes it is, and this book will help you clear up which it is, when, and how to fix it either way. Great book. Highly recommend it....more info
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