Friend-ish: Reclaiming Real Friendship in a Culture of Confusion

Friend-ish: Reclaiming Real Friendship in a Culture of Confusion

by Kelly Needham

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Bible teacher Kelly Needham debunks our world's constricted, small view of friendship and casts a richer, more life-giving, biblical vision for friendship as God meant it to be.

As the family unit grows more unstable and the average age of marriage increases, a shift is taking place in our culture: for many people, friends now play the role of family. And just as with family relationships, our friendships often don't turn out quite as we envisioned or hoped, and we wonder, Is there a better way to do this?

In Friend-ish, Kelly Needham takes a close look at what Scripture says about friendship. She reveals the distorted view most of us have of it and recasts a glorious vision for a Christian understanding. By teaching us how to recognize symptoms of idolatry and dependency, she equips us to understand and address the problems that arise in friendship--from neediness to discord and even sexual temptation. With hard-fought wisdom, a clear view of Scripture, and been-there perspective, Needham reorients us toward the purposeful, loving relationships we all crave that ultimately bring us closer to God.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400213528
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 08/27/2019
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 231,800
File size: 541 KB

About the Author

Kelly Needham is married to popular Christian singer and songwriter Jimmy Needham. She first began writing and speaking to his fan base in 2008 as they traveled together and has since garnered a much wider platform. Kelly is a regular contributor for Revive Our Hearts, and her writing has been featured at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, The Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, Eternal Perspectives Ministries, and Crosswalk. She has been on staff at two different churches, serving in youth, college, and women's ministry. Kelly and Jimmy live in the Dallas area with their three children, Lively, Sophia, and Benjamin.

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Friend-ish: Reclaiming Real Friendship in a Culture of Confusion 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
AmyWa 6 days ago
Friendships can be so complex, complicated and confusing. The culture also has a lot to say about them. Kelly helps us to think through different aspects of healthy and unhealthy friendships all through the lens of scripture. This is a must needed book. It is full of wisdom in every chapter and it helped me reflect on my own friendships. Going into reading this, I thought I had very healthy friendships, but through this book I realized we all have areas where we can grow.  I was blessed to receive an advanced copy via the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous 6 days ago
Kelly managed to say so many things that my heart has felt but could never adequately convey. Not only does she shoot straight, but she does it SO lovingly. I read this book during a season of transition (moved to another state) and it was the perfect time to REALLY evaluate my relationships and my own motives within each of them. It has also given me a fresh and healthy perspective moving forward in truly loving my neighbor, as we are called to do. I already told my daughters I want them to read this book because the truths Kelly shares need to be known!!!
Anonymous 9 days ago
Kelly Needham’s book speaks straight to the root of a problem I hardly realized was problematic for me and many of my peers. Her timely word on the importance of selfless, “others-focused” friendships is far more (but certainly not less) than a self-help book for codependents seeking freedom from relationship addiction. It also isn’t a “how to make friends” manual either, so both of my initial presuppositions about the book were quickly debunked. Kelly, in the book, writes poignantly in a way that points her readers to look to Christ for dependency and purpose and she draws attention to the unseen and hardly recognized idolatry between same sex and guy-girl relationships. She shows how, from a biblical standpoint, living a friend-dependent existence creates expectations and commitments that only marriage was meant to fulfill. Kelly rightly points readers to the Christ, the one who established marriage to show our ultimate need for dependency on Him alone! I’m so grateful for this book and would recommend it to believers who think there might be something wrong with their relationships (and also those of us who assumed we had everything right...).
Elizabeth_Cantrell 11 days ago
I’ve been following Kelly’s blog for years after seeing a post on Facebook linking to a blog post she wrote about friendships. I recognized her name because I’d been a fan of her husband, Jimmy Needham’s music since college. I don’t even remember what her post was specifically about, but I remember reading it and saying “wow.” It was a lot of what I’d needed to hear for a while and also things I had strong feelings about, but had never seen someone else put into words in such a honest way. I was hooked! When I saw she was writing a book on friendship, I was so excited to read it, but I also wanted to be able to share it with my Christian friends. I just finished reading an early copy of the book and have so many passages highlighted. Kelly writes in such an honest way. I felt convicted in parts, and in others learned a lot of things I’ve already started to put into practice in my own friendships. My favorite parts of the book talked about how the rise of social media has changed friendships and how we no longer understand or know how to accept seasonal friendships. I’ve definitely felt pressure and stress to maintain tons of different friendships that, before social media, would have just naturally faded out. That isn’t to say we cut out friends who move away—and that isn’t what Kelly is saying either. But she explains how we as people have limits—we are human after all. I’m sure everyone’s read those “self help” type books before where the author makes it seem as if their book is the answer to all of your problems; if you follow their methods/suggestions/steps/etc., you will have a better life. One of my favorite things about this book is that Kelly continually references the reader back to scripture as the way to improve your friendships. Not her book, her words, her advice, etc., but the Bible. She makes it clear throughout the book that it’s Jesus who will change your heart, your friendships. I love that (although I think her words are pretty helpful as well)! This is a book I will be reading again and recommending to my friends. I think it’s an important one for the church as a whole—this book isn’t just for women! Kelly interviewed many men as well when she was writing the book and there is a wealth of growth opportunity in this book for both men and women.
Anonymous 12 days ago
What I expected from this book was to learn some tips for how to be a better friend. What I got from the book was so much more - ultimately that our friendship with Christ meets all of our needs and satisfies our thirsty souls. However, though all of our needs are met in Jesus, we were created for relationships! It is indeed not good for man to be alone! This book is such a helpful tool in balancing those two dichotomies and answering questions regarding friendship that I didn’t know I had! Needham’s insights, honesty, and vulnerability are both refreshing and comforting as she speaks truth in love and helps me to see sin that I didn’t know I had. If you’d like gospel hope for navigating friendships, this book is for you.
Anonymous 13 days ago
As a forty-something woman who has known the value and richness friendship has brought to my life, I also understand the reality that difficulty and hurt that can come along with that gift. In "Friendish", Kelly Needham shares her insights and experiences, and brings up great discussion around these important relationships. I am glad to have this as a resource not only for myself, but for the generations of younger women coming behind me. I'm excited to use this book as our small group study in our high school girls' group this fall, and am looking forward to the discussions that will come from our time reading it together.
LDuPrez 17 days ago
Friendish is the debut book from Bible teacher and author Kelly Needham. The book's title is derived from the idea that as Christians, we need to cultivate friendships that are genuine. Kelly begins the book with the example of when she was visiting some friends and they went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant. Kelly was really looking forward to enjoying Mexican food but became disappointed as her friends explained that the restaurant served "Mexican-ish" food rather than authentic Mexican food. In the same way, we long for friendships that genuine. On page xiv of the Introduction Kelly explained, "It is because of my love for friendship that I am so dissatisfied with anything less than the best - anything merely friend-ish." Friendish is a very compelling read that I found hard to put down. As a busy mom with two young children, I have really been wrestling with what authentic friendship looks like in a season of unceasing needs and constant interruptions. Reading Friendish gave me many simple, practical ideas that have been truly helpful. I appreciate how Kelly included many candid examples in the book that most people have probably experienced. She detailed times she was left out and felt alone but shared with readers how she found comfort in Christ during those times. Friendish is a comprehensive look at all things friendship related through the lens of Scripture. In addition to learning how to make friends, Kelly also discusses how to keep friends from becoming idols and also what certain friendships look like in different seasons of life. In some ways this book opened my eyes to the cultural standards for friendship. I didn't know that there are people fighting for those experiencing same-sex attraction to be able to participate in non-sexual covenant friendships so they may be, in a sense, "married" yet still obedient to the Bible's standard of sexual ethics. I also learned that bromance style relationships are increasingly common and can even include non-sexual physical aspects (this really struck me as odd), and that there is a wedding photo trend in which in which the bride and her bestie are holding hands behind the groom's back to insinuate that nothing will really change about the friendship even though a marriage has occurred. Honestly, learning about what is happening culturally was surprising. I have a general feel for what occurs within culture but was really unaware of these trends. This made me not only want to be a better friend for the sake of showing the love of Christ to others. It made me want to be a better, godlier friend to be a light in the world. If ever there was a need for genuine, Christ honoring friendship, the time is now. Learning about these trends caused me to grow in appreciation for the time and work Kelly put in to writing Friendish. Overall, I found Friendish a humbling, convicting, and intriguing read and I am pleased to offer it my highest recommendation. I received Friendish compliments of Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous 18 days ago
God used Kelly to write these words in ways I can’t fully express here. It’s clear that much prayer went into this book from the beginning to the very end. After 10+ years I am JUST NOW getting clear and Christ-centered clarity about what it means to have godly friendships and what it means to be a godly friend. All I could do after reading was thank the Lord and let the tears fall. God knew what I needed and I’m so thankful to Him. I love how the 1st 1/2 of the book hits on what counterfeit relationships actually look like (hard to read at times because some of it really hit home for me) but right in the middle, she beautifully unfolds, intentionally and purposefully, that we can’t be a godly friend or recognize counterfeit friendships without a relationship with Jesus Christ. A needed call to repentance. Then, finally the latter chapters focuses on what godly friendships and what being a godly friend looks like. Powerful and so freeing. I’m so thankful for this book. As a mom to 2 kiddos, I’m so glad that God allowed me to read this, convict me of these truths (so that I begin to apply them, by His power) to now being able to share this truth with the next generation. YOU NEED THIS BOOK! GO BUY IT!
NatalieRS 18 days ago
This book gives a whole new perspective on friendship. It dives deeper into the various types of both healthy and counterfeit friendships with great insight and balance. All pre-teens and teenagers should read this book as they are beginning to establish both their friends, views on friendship, and their inner-voice that talks about who they are. Young adults and adults should read this for both personal use and as a ministry tool. I guarantee there will be something said that you have never thought of before.
JulieFuller 18 days ago
Not good to be Alone The last year I have been on a journey of trying to understand what a friend truly means to me. I don’t know about you, but I am always looking to grow, learn, and become a better disciple of Jesus. This book has led me to view friendship in a different light which will only help me love others better than I do now. Everyone has different definitions of friendship. Friendish, discusses how the Lord views friendship and how to have a friendship that point to Jesus and is healthy. Needham, weaves in scripture every chance she can which makes you want to study more. It’s refreshing to read a book that is truly scripture focused. Kelly is inspiring, relatable, empathetic, and encouraging. Her desire to help others walk closely with the Lord shines through this book. I will continue to grab truths from this book as I fine tune the friendships in my life and how I view friendship as a whole. Stoked to see the workbook that goes along with this.
jstein84 18 days ago
Friendish: Real vs Counterfeit This book is a book I cannot put down, and the times I do put it down, it’s because It leads me to want to read God’s word. Just as Author Kelly Neeham writes in this book about how our friendships should ultimately lead us back to Jesus, so does this book lead me back to Jesus Christ and his word. This book is very deep, lovingly convicting, and will change the way you view friendship forever. In fact, it will change the way you look at yourself in a positive way. It has helped me to determine not only what real friendship looks like, but more importantly it has helped me understand to ask “what kind of friend am I?” “What kind of neighbor should I be? “ Just as we are trained to hold up money to the light to see if it is real versus counterfeit, so too this book showed me we can evaluate friendship in the light of Christ to determine if it is the real thing. If you think you don’t need to read a book about friendship, then go get this book! I thought so too, and It has opened my eyes to so many truths! The content and in depth writing style drew me in , opened my eyes, and pointed me back to the ultimate book of truth.
SCBAnd 18 days ago
Do you have relationships with other humans? Then you need to read this book! Kelly’s bold yet empathetic plea to see beyond the cultural norms of friendship could not be more relevant! It is like the voice of a friend who is willing to speak truth, even when it is painful, because they believe in the greater goal of making you better! Friendish describes a framework for friendship that is so countercultural it is startling. Its Bible centered message is vital for people of any age or phase of life! As a follower of Christ, I found the deconstruction of “friendship” as I have come to understand it both convicting and refreshing. With every chapter you see more clearly the image of Jesus Christ being the source of living water in our lives. Our God given need for friendship can only be fully satisfied by the one who created that need. There is no greater joy than finding hope and friendship in Jesus AND getting to share that with others in authentic God glorifying relationships. (Let the reader understand.) Take the time to read this book. Then, find another human that you love and read it with them because true friends want to share the very best things with the ones they love!
Anonymous 19 days ago
Never did I expect a book on friendship to reignite in me a passion for drawing near to Jesus. Kelly artfully pulls truth from straight God’s Word and uses it to challenge us, first and foremost, to find our satisfaction in Christ. “And this is the heartbeat behind Christian friendship. It is companionship forged in the fire of the conviction that Jesus alone can satisfy our souls....The best gift a friend can give is a commitment to fight alongside us for our joy in and communion with Christ.” In addition to pointing out ways we often place friends in roles only meant to be filled by a relationship with Jesus Christ, Kelly also strips away the lies used to define worldly friendships and replaces them with God’s definition of true friendship. She then takes you by the hand and walks you step by step through the process of rebuilding your view of friendship. You want the day in and day out? You got it. Kelly ends Chapter 1 with this statement, “My hope is to show you what makes friendship truly precious and give you the courage and confidence to build friendships that quicken your desires for God and promote dependency, not on one another, but on Jesus. You’ll see that when we find all we need in Christ, we will be free to truly love our friends, not use them to meet our needs.” I dare say she accomplishes her goal. This is a book to read and then read again, and again, and again. Filled with so many nuggets of wisdom, it was a challenge to not highlight the entire book! You’ll want to USE this book. You’ll mark the pages and make it yours. Your tears will stain the pages, and your stories will join Kelly’s. Your heart will ache when areas of sin are exposed, but your story doesn’t end there. You’ll be pointed to the One who has the power over our sin. The One who gave His life so he can offer eternal salvation through the ultimate friendship with Him. You’ll be reminded that because of this friendship, our sin has no power over us. Put into action the practical steps laid out in this book, and you’ll find fulfillment in your friendships like never before. As Kelly states in her introduction, once you’ve experienced real friendship, everything else is just Friend-ish!
AshWood531 19 days ago
Great growth read from start to finish! Every chapter of Friendish is filled with scripture and continually points back to the fact that in order to have purposeful, healthy friendships, we first must have a purposeful, healthy relationship with our Creator. It is a fantastic read for anyone who wants to pursue meaningful friendships based on biblical values, both in cultivating new ones, as well as correcting current ones. Be warned, there will be self examination that results in change and growth, as it should be every time you are aligned will the Word of God! I will for sure read this again, and can’t wait to see a workbook to go along with it!
CTStudd 19 days ago
Kelly Needham writes a 10/10 right out of the gate. I was able to receive an early copy of this book, and I can say that she clearly writes out how our culture overvalues earthly friendships and how we can put it in its respectful place. God is our maker, and we cannot live for things as small as earthly friendships when we compare that to a relationship with Jesus Christ and with our spouse and/or children. If you are searching for a clarifying definition of what friendship should look like, buy this book. You will not regret it.
Anonymous 19 days ago
I wanted to read this book at first because it seemed interesting to me, not necessarily because I felt like I needed it. Well, I did need it, and it has been a huge encouragement and challenge to me. I found it to be easy to read, yet profound and very biblical. It made me consider and think through things I probably never would have otherwise regarding how I approach and invest in my friendships (and relationships in general as well). I highly recommend this book!
spiffytiffy127 19 days ago
reading friendish has been like sitting with a wise, trusted friend who loves me too much to let me settle for less than God’s very best in this important arena of friendship. it is encouraging, challenging, truth-filled, convicting, and timely. the way kelly points to Jesus at every turn is powerful. i can’t recommend this book enough - for everyone! thankful to have this resource available. so needed!
LaurenTellman 19 days ago
In “Friend-ish,” Kelly Needham has managed to offer up a true, Bible-based view of friendship. Equal parts challenging and encouraging, “Friend-ish” uncovers what Christ-centered friendship looks like and how we can approach healthy friendship in the world today.
AlejandraM 19 days ago
Friend-ish is a must needed resource on biblical friendships. She points to cultivating our friendship with God first above all, which will allow all our other friendships to honor God and bless the people around us. In a world that is shifting the definition of friendship, and especially same-sex friendships, Needham reminds us what friendships are really meant for--to serve one another and further the kingdom of God. She includes research, interviews, and anecdotal examples to help us understand how society is influencing our views of friendship, and then uses God's Word to remind us of what God has to say about our relationships with friends. I learned much from her on the topic and appreciated that she didn't try to comprise her biblical stance, even when there are many other voices speaking the opposite. She is unapologetically solid in her understanding of friendships, which makes this a great resource!
Anonymous 19 days ago
I absolutely loved Kelly Needham’s “Friendish”. To my knowledge, other resources like it in the Christian community are few and far between. Kelly tackles the topic of friendship in a way that’s saturated with Scripture and completely based on the truth of God’s Word. This book left me challenged to pursue friendship the way God intended, and also excited to see how God will use and change my friendships for his glory. Kelly writes in such a personable way, even sharing her own struggles in the area of friendship. This book is excellent for any person of any age who has friends, wants them, or has struggled with friendship in some way (which really… isn’t that all of us?!). I’m so thankful for this resource!
Anonymous 19 days ago
Friendish is a book I wish were written years ago when I was deep into struggles with emotional dependency and anxiety in my friendships. How easy it is for us to turn friends into idols and selfishly pursue friendships to fill our needs, rather than seek Jesus above all else. In this book, Kelly speaks truth and points us to the One who satisfies our souls so we can rightly pursue friendships for their God-intended purpose: to pursue God’s Kingdom and encourage one another towards knowing God and making Him known. There are definitely some hard truths in this book, but they are coupled with the grace and freedom provided through the cross and gospel of Christ, who redeems and sanctifies our desires and relationships. The message of relationships having the potential to become idols is not a popular one in our culture today, but I believe these truths will ultimately allow us to enjoy friendship as God intended. I highly recommend this book as wisdom on friendships in our culture of confusion knowing that you will be faced with truth, and that may not always be easy to swallow. I pray that God will use these words to lead you to deeper intimacy with Him, and thus free you to enjoy healthy friendships as well.
MonetC 19 days ago
"Our first step to cultivating healthy friendships with people is cultivating a friendship with God... without [ it ], we have no hope of rightly befriending one another.” Kelly Needham jumps right in to reordering everything we ever thought, consciously or not, we knew about healthy friendships. Contrary to today’s culture, Needham expresses the importance of properly posturing God as head over all relationships, thus fulfilling those desires of belonging, comfort, and need, that we may wrongly place on our friends to satisfy us. No stone is left unturned as Needham boldly addresses today’s world of friendships in light of the gospel. From diving in to concepts like: how we deal with friends whose life circumstances have changed, and thus forever change the dynamics of our friendship, to the “You’re my person” mentality of Grey’s’ Meredith and Cristina. Furthermore, she tackles the topic of same sex attraction in friendship with a balanced perspective of humility and grace as she lays out the facts of sin that separate us from God, while providing a restorative hope and solution through Christ. Personally, this book has helped me to view my friendships as good gifts, but not the source of my joy, worth, and belonging. Being challenged to seek the only Source that can completely sustain and fulfill my needs has helped me to see how I can be a friend that gives out of that secure place, rather than being a friend who is a selfish consumer of friendship. I would undoubtedly recommend this book to any person who has experienced the painful loss of a friendship, is questioning if and how to end an unhealthy friendship, or desires to be a friend that gives freely out of God’s graces instead of falling into the consumerism and neediness trap that often accompanies today’s friendships.
MegAlbright 19 days ago
Simply put, I both enjoyed this book and benefited from it in some deep and needed ways. Whether you think you're "good at friendship" or not, you still probably need to read this book. Here's a quick overview of the structure of the book that might help you see why: -- Kelly expresses at the beginning the NEED we all have for genuine, healthy, biblical friendship - the real thing. -- 3 chapters outline different counterfeits we can stray to, thinking we have "good" friendships (and they vary). -- 2 chapters in the middle mark the deep, root issue with our counterfeits - the idolatry in our own hearts and our lack of really believing God is enough. -- the last 4 chapters walk through some "re-definitions": Redefining our Friendships, Our Needs, Our Enemy, and Our Mission. EVEN BETTER ... the book contains 4 appendices that are super helpful and expound on some different topics that she touches on in the book. Those are as follows: 1) Jonathan and David (Allies for God's kingdom, not covenanters against loneliness); 2) Friendship idolatry as a catalyst for same-sex desires; 3) How to know when it's time to end a friendship; and 4) a chart analyzing healthy vs. unhealthy friendships. With all the talk these days about "toxic friendships," I think it's really important that we not just walk away from people because they're hard to be around or because we feel drained by them. Friendship IS hard - and only staying around people we're comfortable with ISN'T biblical friendship. So I thought this was a great examination of genuine, Christ-centered friendship and had some really challenging and important things to say on the subject.