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Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't

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Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer solid guidance for making safe choices in relationships, from friendships to romance. They help identify the nurturing people we all need in our lives, as well as ones we need to learn to avoid. Safe People will help you to recognize 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people. Discover what makes some people relationally safe, a Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer solid guidance for making safe choices in relationships, from friendships to romance. They help identify the nurturing people we all need in our lives, as well as ones we need to learn to avoid. Safe People will help you to recognize 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people. Discover what makes some people relationally safe, and how to avoid unhealthy entanglements. You'll learn about things within yourself that jeopardize your relational security. And you'll find out what to do and what not to do to develop a balanced, healthy approach to relationships.


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Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer solid guidance for making safe choices in relationships, from friendships to romance. They help identify the nurturing people we all need in our lives, as well as ones we need to learn to avoid. Safe People will help you to recognize 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people. Discover what makes some people relationally safe, a Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend offer solid guidance for making safe choices in relationships, from friendships to romance. They help identify the nurturing people we all need in our lives, as well as ones we need to learn to avoid. Safe People will help you to recognize 20 traits of relationally untrustworthy people. Discover what makes some people relationally safe, and how to avoid unhealthy entanglements. You'll learn about things within yourself that jeopardize your relational security. And you'll find out what to do and what not to do to develop a balanced, healthy approach to relationships.

30 review for Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tess

    Okay first of all, I listened to the audiobook of this and it was hilarious. Like, just imagine a really calm and encouraging book talking about personality disorders and other psychological phenomena and giving lots of examples and case studies, but READ BY A GAME SHOW HOST. That is what this audiobook is like. So seriously, listen to it, because there are parts that are unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny. When he does women's voices it's the BEST. Or when he says things like "Bob had a secre Okay first of all, I listened to the audiobook of this and it was hilarious. Like, just imagine a really calm and encouraging book talking about personality disorders and other psychological phenomena and giving lots of examples and case studies, but READ BY A GAME SHOW HOST. That is what this audiobook is like. So seriously, listen to it, because there are parts that are unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny. When he does women's voices it's the BEST. Or when he says things like "Bob had a secret gambling addiction" way, way too enthusiastically. But content-wise it's great, too. It's really sad that there even needs to BE a book about this. But there does. Naive idiots like me need it to at least SPOT the red flags so we can smartly decide how to interact with narcissists / sociopaths / victim-blamers and all the rest, instead of just being willy-nilly about it to our own doom. I hope that most of you wouldn't need to read this, and would be like "Uh, duh. Obvious. Why are you telling me this?" if you do read it. But for the rest of us, you can benefit from hearing things named and called out so that you can overcome them, be kind to yourself, be forgiving, and get through life with less damage to yourself and your family.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Evil is defined in the Bible as anything that is harmful, or not beneficial, to your spiritual growth. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend apply this principle to relationships, with the challenge to evaluate yourself and your relationships with other people. God made people to be dependent on each other for love, encouragement, and support. A healthy relationship always involves honesty, acceptance, wise counsel, and confrontation. All of these are necessary for growth. The quality of your re Evil is defined in the Bible as anything that is harmful, or not beneficial, to your spiritual growth. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend apply this principle to relationships, with the challenge to evaluate yourself and your relationships with other people. God made people to be dependent on each other for love, encouragement, and support. A healthy relationship always involves honesty, acceptance, wise counsel, and confrontation. All of these are necessary for growth. The quality of your relationship with people is an indicator of your spiritual growth. If the friendships in your life are not giving you the support and honesty you need, they are not helping you: they are not safe. Unsafe people don't see their problems, so they don't change. If you are too afraid to tell the truth to others, you will be taken advantage of, manipulated, and ultimately hurt. If someone is unwilling to face up to their part in things, you can't have reconciliation. Just as God has forgiven and restored us, we should desire restoration in our own relationships. Every healthy relationship is founded in mutual honesty and love. These relationships will be satisfying. They build you up and spur you on to great things!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Garza

    This book was eye-opening to me. I never understood my need for isolation, why I chose friends who weren't good for me, etc. After reading this book, I understand why God created community and how important it is to have safe people in my life who are God-given, loving and accepting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has struggled with the need to be self-sufficient and isolated. This book was eye-opening to me. I never understood my need for isolation, why I chose friends who weren't good for me, etc. After reading this book, I understand why God created community and how important it is to have safe people in my life who are God-given, loving and accepting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has struggled with the need to be self-sufficient and isolated.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heather R. Smith

    The authors do a good job of identifying the behaviors of "unsafe" people, however I do not think they effectively cover how unsafe people can become "safe." I conclude, after reading the list of unsafe behaviors, that none of us are safe but rather all exhibit some forms of unsafe behavior. The authors attribute unsafe behaviors to the presence of sin, and since Scripture teaches all have sinned I think it's a fair conclusion then that everyone of us have unsafe parts of us to be addressed. I j The authors do a good job of identifying the behaviors of "unsafe" people, however I do not think they effectively cover how unsafe people can become "safe." I conclude, after reading the list of unsafe behaviors, that none of us are safe but rather all exhibit some forms of unsafe behavior. The authors attribute unsafe behaviors to the presence of sin, and since Scripture teaches all have sinned I think it's a fair conclusion then that everyone of us have unsafe parts of us to be addressed. I just wish authors would've dedicated more space to helping readers improve their own unsafe tendencies.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Violinknitter

    I would give this book 2 or 3 stars, except that a lot of the advice it contained could be absolutely devastating for people in abusive relationships (especially those with religious & emotional abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting). If you're just having "normal" troubles, there's some decent basic relational advice about finding "safe" people. But the advice for how to know when you need to get out of a destructive relationship? Unclear (and therefore dangerous) in the extreme! I expected much, I would give this book 2 or 3 stars, except that a lot of the advice it contained could be absolutely devastating for people in abusive relationships (especially those with religious & emotional abuse, manipulation, and gaslighting). If you're just having "normal" troubles, there's some decent basic relational advice about finding "safe" people. But the advice for how to know when you need to get out of a destructive relationship? Unclear (and therefore dangerous) in the extreme! I expected much, MUCH better from Cloud & Townsend. Very disappointed. (If only the second-to-last chapter had been the last chapter. It was good, and I was so hopeful the book was going to end on a high note, and then the last chapter started. Le sigh.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Bobin

    We all want people that we feel safe with. As a pastor I want people to feel safe when they talk with me and at times share intimate details of their lives with me. I picked this book up because I was serving a church where there seemed to be a mistrust of pastors from the time I arrived. I was a little taken back by that since everywhere else I had served people tended to trust me from the time I arrived and that trust would even deepen as we developed relationships and learned to be vulnerable We all want people that we feel safe with. As a pastor I want people to feel safe when they talk with me and at times share intimate details of their lives with me. I picked this book up because I was serving a church where there seemed to be a mistrust of pastors from the time I arrived. I was a little taken back by that since everywhere else I had served people tended to trust me from the time I arrived and that trust would even deepen as we developed relationships and learned to be vulnerable with one another. I was looking to understand why people felt unsafe and to help them know that I was a safe person in their life. What I discovered that there had been at least 3 pastors that had inappropriate relationships while serving this church and one of them ran off with two different women within a few weeks of one another. I also found that they suspected that at least one pastor had used funds inappropriately as well. They had reason not to trust and I wanted to rebuild that trust so I bought a book on safe people to make sure I was one of them. Before I began to read the book two men in my life that thought I could trust and be vulnerable with betrayed that trust and used it to create further harm for me and my family. I had trusted them because of the position that held and one that I had know for more than a decade I thought of as a friend. I obviously needed to learn about who to trust and how to develop better boundaries in my life. Who better to turn to than Cloud and Townsend, the experts on boundaries. They did not disappoint. What I have discovered it that I need to listen more carefully about what other people are telling me about someone and their experience with them. Looking back I can see a pattern in many of the relationships that have caused me pain that I could of avoided if I had been paying more attention to the traits these people exhibited not just with me but many others. Safe People will help you better evaluate your relationships and how to see when someone can't be expected to be a safe person for you to share with. I also learned a number of things about myself that may have made other people feel unsafe with me and I think I will be a better spouse, parent, pastor and friend because of what I have learned. Everything I read I tend to look for myself in it so that I can grow and become a better person. I tend to believe that the majority of relationships are worth the investment to try and make them better and the final chapter challenges us to do exactly that. It takes a few pages to help us understand when to continue investing in a relationship and when we should walk away and be willing to give it up. The truth is that both come with costs. I recommend this book to anyone that wants better relationships but to those especially that have been hurt by people they thought they could trust. It will help to develop the courage to try again if you are willing to take the risk and experience the rewards.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    The subtitle of Safe People is exactly what this book is about: finding good people for all types of relationships. Part One explains what a "unsafe" person is by identifying personal and interpersonal traits. These individuals are typically categorized as abandoners, critics, or irresponsibles. Unsafe people do the following: believe they "have it all together" instead of admitting weaknesses; go on the defensive instead of accepting feedback; act self-righteously instead of humbly; apologize i The subtitle of Safe People is exactly what this book is about: finding good people for all types of relationships. Part One explains what a "unsafe" person is by identifying personal and interpersonal traits. These individuals are typically categorized as abandoners, critics, or irresponsibles. Unsafe people do the following: believe they "have it all together" instead of admitting weaknesses; go on the defensive instead of accepting feedback; act self-righteously instead of humbly; apologize instead of changing their behavior; avoid working on problems instead of dealing with them; demand trust instead of earning it; believe in their own perfection instead of admitting faults; blame others instead of taking responsibility; lie instead of telling the truth; are stagnant instead of growing (related to self-awareness); avoid closeness instead of connecting; are only concerned with "I" instead of "we"; resist freedom instead of encouraging it; flatter instead of confronting others; condemn instead of forgiving others; stay in a parent/child role instead of relating as equals; become unstable over time instead of remaining consistent; are a negative influence on others; and gossip instead of keeping secrets. (So yeah...watch out for those people...) All is not lost though--Part One also explains how people lose their "safety", which leads to self-awareness and change. Part Two describes if and how one may actually attract unsafe people or fall into unsafe relationships. Just when it appears that hope is merely a distant echo, Part Three clarifies what a "safe" person is, how to be one, how to find one, and when to move on. Despite the religious overtones, this book was very informative, interesting, and provocative.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    I recognize that I am jaded and uninterested in establishing romantic relationships at this point in my life. I don’t know where to begin to start new friendships. I realize I am damaged and noncommittal, and this upsets me. I don’t want to be an “unsafe” person, but it is hard because it is a struggle to let me myself be vulnerable to someone who may turn out to be “unsafe” themselves. These are all the reasons this book appealed to me. When I first began reading, I did not realize it would be p I recognize that I am jaded and uninterested in establishing romantic relationships at this point in my life. I don’t know where to begin to start new friendships. I realize I am damaged and noncommittal, and this upsets me. I don’t want to be an “unsafe” person, but it is hard because it is a struggle to let me myself be vulnerable to someone who may turn out to be “unsafe” themselves. These are all the reasons this book appealed to me. When I first began reading, I did not realize it would be peppered with biblical references. Although I am agnostic, through half of the book I didn’t mind and I loved it. I found myself nodding my head “Yes! Yes! Exactly!” The book gave me some interesting insight into how I have treated others, and how I have allowed myself to be treated. Unfortunately, the last one-third of the book, where real solutions and actions were explored, leaned so heavily on living as Christ intended, that I found it basically useless. I realize that all of the examples detailed in the book, and the personal struggles described are unrelatable to me because I do not participate in group therapy or similar sessions. I do not have a network to discuss any of these feelings with. I was hoping to be enlightened by this book, but it anything I feel more dire about how “unsafe” I am. Also, I learned I am probably screwing up my kids (*said in jest.) But, this book helped me to recognize what I need to work on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This was an interesting book. I tend to end up in "unsafe" relationships with assholes, so I had to ask myself, "Self, you idiot, what is it that causes you to be drawn to those people?" The book answers this question and so many more. It's a very practical guide for how to find good people and how to be a good person as opposed to being/finding a total jerk. I would highly recommend. This was an interesting book. I tend to end up in "unsafe" relationships with assholes, so I had to ask myself, "Self, you idiot, what is it that causes you to be drawn to those people?" The book answers this question and so many more. It's a very practical guide for how to find good people and how to be a good person as opposed to being/finding a total jerk. I would highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Richmond

    This would be great for a small group with a professional facilitator. Yes, we should avoid toxic people. But what if it's someone you're related to? What if it's someone who's been great for decades, then suddenly betrays you? What if it's someone in your care, like a child or person with a disability? After all, Jesus hung out with some unsafe people, including one who betrayed him. This would be great for a small group with a professional facilitator. Yes, we should avoid toxic people. But what if it's someone you're related to? What if it's someone who's been great for decades, then suddenly betrays you? What if it's someone in your care, like a child or person with a disability? After all, Jesus hung out with some unsafe people, including one who betrayed him.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Easily retitled "Safe vs. Unsafe People", while reading this book, I had the eery feeling that someone had videotaped my relationship and took notes...because the book identified the subtle unhealthy attributes of my (now Ex) spouse in great detail one bullet point to the next, and I came to view her (often unexplainable) behavior in a completely new way. Reading this was a "light bulb moment" in our separation, and one hopes a guiding light for the next relationship. The book identifies the qual Easily retitled "Safe vs. Unsafe People", while reading this book, I had the eery feeling that someone had videotaped my relationship and took notes...because the book identified the subtle unhealthy attributes of my (now Ex) spouse in great detail one bullet point to the next, and I came to view her (often unexplainable) behavior in a completely new way. Reading this was a "light bulb moment" in our separation, and one hopes a guiding light for the next relationship. The book identifies the qualities of unsafe people even better than those safe to have relationships with - whose qualities seem rather common sense. While the book comes somewhat from a Christian/Biblical perspective, a non-believer can read around the bible quotes and get a mountain of knowledge from this tiny book. While some people who are problematic to have relationships with are obvious; 1) "I'm never responsible for anything and am always the victim of life/others" and 2) "The world revolves around me...hey listen up", other Unsafe people are hard to spot! This book also details another category 3) I'm perfect, cannot accept any proof I'm not, and the world had better change itself to be perfect for me - or else - because that's what I deserve! (unfortunately such people are close to perfect on paper/reality, utterly responsible and hardworking, but these beliefs make them impossible to live with). Rather than generally categorizing, it specifically analyzes the actions and thoughts of those safe and unsafe people so you can identify them generally by their actions rather than labels. Examples "Safe people are ever changing, unsafe people are stagnant and unwilling to try/learn new things" "Safe people are spiritual, unsafe people are overly religious" "Safe people treat others as near equals, unsafe people treat others as children who need their instruction", "unsafe people seek forgiveness, safe people then REPENT", etc.

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Stevenson

    To preface, I've LOVED two books by Cloud/Townsend. Also, I listened to the audiobook, so perhaps that colored my experience. I think this book should've been called "Unsafe People," because it concentrated a lot on the negatives. It also seemed to be from the perspective of a victim mentality - people are unsafe, and there's nothing you can do about it unless they change. There was a little about what you can do if you're in an unsafe relationship, but very little in comparison to simply getting To preface, I've LOVED two books by Cloud/Townsend. Also, I listened to the audiobook, so perhaps that colored my experience. I think this book should've been called "Unsafe People," because it concentrated a lot on the negatives. It also seemed to be from the perspective of a victim mentality - people are unsafe, and there's nothing you can do about it unless they change. There was a little about what you can do if you're in an unsafe relationship, but very little in comparison to simply getting out. That said, I don't disagree with its points. It did accurately describe a lot of unsafe behavior and motivation, and it is fairly quotable in tiny little chunks.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    I knew this was a good read when my initial reaction to it was anger. I was angry at a book! Clearly, it made an impact and like eating an elephant, I had to absorb it piece by piece. Many of the pages are covered in ink and have writing in the margins. This book should be considered an active read. Really get into it and take notes, recognize the emotions that spring up from its pages and work through them. I would and have recommended it to others.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    There is a lot of good, thought-provoking content in this book, which is about discerning character and also becoming a person of better, "safer" character yourself. Some quotes: "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" (12). "If you're attracted to critical people, you may find relief in their clarity of thought and purity of vision. But you'll also find yourself guilt-ridden, compliant, and unabl There is a lot of good, thought-provoking content in this book, which is about discerning character and also becoming a person of better, "safer" character yourself. Some quotes: "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" (12). "If you're attracted to critical people, you may find relief in their clarity of thought and purity of vision. But you'll also find yourself guilt-ridden, compliant, and unable to make mistakes without tremendous anxiety" (23). "For every irresponsible [person], there is an enabler, someone who protects them" (24). "Beware of people who only tell you your good points, justifying it by a desire to be 'positive.' They aren't loving you enough to tell you when your attitude or behavior is driving your life over a cliff, even though you desperately need to know it" (49). "...time is indeed the best judge of character. Who we are and what we do are very, very related" (54). "If you have a pattern of bad relationships, it may not be the other person's fault but actually be a sign of your own spiritual immaturity" (108). "The perfectionist tries to live in the land of ideals.... He is in bondage to a demand that says, 'If you do it right, you'll be loved.' ...the antidote to perfectionism isn't being good -- it's being loved" (132-4). "What many Christians do not understand is that relating to each other is a spiritual activity.... We need to include in our evaluation of our spiritual lives the question, 'How am I doing with other people? How are my relationships going?'" (148). "...one of the major pieces to healing any emotional disorder is grief" (152). "It is only as we relate intimately to others in the body of Christ that we find out how unloving we can actually be.... If we never have close relationships, we can be under the delusion that we really are loving. It is only in the testing ground of real love, not concepts, that we get stretched and tested" (158). "The chief theme of the entire Bible is reconciliation of unsafe relationships" (189).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    I had been wanting to read this book already for a long time. I really appreciated another book by the same author Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Help Your Children Gain Control of Their Lives, and from the title this book seemed to me most useful. I have some experience in trusting the wrong persons, and now wanted to learn how to find safe people. So now I was finally listening to the audiobook version of this. But I gave it up with this book. It made me feel as if no I had been wanting to read this book already for a long time. I really appreciated another book by the same author Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Help Your Children Gain Control of Their Lives, and from the title this book seemed to me most useful. I have some experience in trusting the wrong persons, and now wanted to learn how to find safe people. So now I was finally listening to the audiobook version of this. But I gave it up with this book. It made me feel as if no one is really to be trusted. Lots of people with in my eyes 'normal' difficulties are portrayed as being unsafe. Like for example people with autism would fit their description really well, because of their lack of empathy. It is also the tone of the narrator that really puts me off. He sounds so demeaning! It really sounds as if he is making fun of people that have difficulties with being trustworthy. And I don't think that it is funny at all, so I will no longer listen to this.

  16. 4 out of 5

    محمد

    The title is quite humble relative to the wealth and depth of wisdom about not just relationships, but about how we should be, each of us, a mature person as God intended us to be. Reading this book, you will inevitably discover that you yourself has traits of unsafe person, and almost everyone you knew, has traits of unsafe people. Moreover, the book pushes us to take the courage to open up for others and express our needs in relationships. As this courage is essential to be part of community and The title is quite humble relative to the wealth and depth of wisdom about not just relationships, but about how we should be, each of us, a mature person as God intended us to be. Reading this book, you will inevitably discover that you yourself has traits of unsafe person, and almost everyone you knew, has traits of unsafe people. Moreover, the book pushes us to take the courage to open up for others and express our needs in relationships. As this courage is essential to be part of community and friends.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Denise Sarkor

    On my journey to experience peace and safety once more, and to have my heart reawakened by the various forms of love, this was by far the most important 200 pages I read. Everyone should read this book as well as Boundaries by the same authors. Is it safe to be around you?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Excellent book on understanding people. People can be very cruel and heartless. This book explains and shares its views on why they can be like that. It opened my eyes to how people are. Thank you, Mr. Cloud for writing this. It has helped me tremendously.

  19. 4 out of 5

    LMS

    Some books burrow their way into your mind and even though at the time you weren’t ready to hear the information it shapes and informs your thinking. This is one of those books.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    I confess that the title, "Safe People," led me to believe it was going to be about how to get rid of all the unsafe people in your life. And I think the authors titled it that way intentionally; even the tag line of the book gives you that impression. As I read the book, though, and the descriptions of unsafe people at the beginning, I realized that a few of those traits even describe me. 😳 I think that's the authors' point: the line between "safe" and "unsafe" people isn't so black and white. B I confess that the title, "Safe People," led me to believe it was going to be about how to get rid of all the unsafe people in your life. And I think the authors titled it that way intentionally; even the tag line of the book gives you that impression. As I read the book, though, and the descriptions of unsafe people at the beginning, I realized that a few of those traits even describe me. 😳 I think that's the authors' point: the line between "safe" and "unsafe" people isn't so black and white. Because we're all sinners, any of us might be "unsafe" or fall into "unsafe" behavior patterns from time to time. You can fall into them without even realizing it. After describing the characteristics of unsafe people in part 1, the authors go on to examine the reasons we may be drawn to unsafe people in part 2. I found this section very revealing as well, for I saw a number of the tendencies they described in that section in myself. The last chapter of part 2 asks why we isolate ourselves, which is one of the tendencies that makes us more vulnerable to unsafe relationships. That chapter hit me right between the eyes. I do tend to isolate myself. They said some people isolate because they've lost the ability to feel their hunger for relationships. Ouch. That describes me more than I wanted to admit. The final section of the book, part 3, describes the characteristics of safe people, and why we need them in our lives. They bring home the point that if we tend to isolate ourselves this really isn't what we need; it's a self-protection mechanism (my words) but it keeps us from getting what we really need, which is relationships with safe people. The book then goes on to look at how we can find safe people, and how we can become safe people ourselves. In the last chapter of the book the authors ask the question: So what about the unsafe relationships in your life? Do you need to get them completely out of your life, or should you instead try to repair and rebuild those relationships? I started the book just wanting to get the unsafe people out of my life, but the authors make a strong case that this is never the ideal. They talk about how God is so much about relationships and how God goes out of His way to pursue relationships with broken, hurtful people, and the authors admonish us to follow God's example. The authors recommend ways to try to repair unsafe relationships. The main thing they advocate is: instead of simply abandoning the unsafe person, we should take a stand for our needs and values in the relationship. They say that often the person who's being mistreated in a relationship can bring change to the way the other person treats them by standing up for themselves. So the authors recommend that ending a relationship is a last resort and should only be chosen as the solution when every effort has been made to stand up for oneself and hold the other person accountable, and still there is no change. They also recommend trying this for some amount of time rather than giving up at the first sign that it's not working. They talk about how longsuffering God is toward us and say that we should be longsuffering toward one another as well. In conclusion, "Safe People" is not an easy read. If you read it prayerfully with an open mind and heart, it will prod you to look more at yourself than at the people in your life who are causing you problems. It has definitely given me a lot of food for thought and prayer.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    4.5 stars. Excellent book with practical and biblical advice on not only finding “safe people”, but becoming one. Good reminder that Christ-like friendships should include grace, honesty, and humility. As someone who fears confrontation, I was reminded that for a relationship to grow and trust to evolve, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. God created us to have relationships, but they will not always be easy. “Repentant people will recognize a wrong and really want to change because they do 4.5 stars. Excellent book with practical and biblical advice on not only finding “safe people”, but becoming one. Good reminder that Christ-like friendships should include grace, honesty, and humility. As someone who fears confrontation, I was reminded that for a relationship to grow and trust to evolve, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. God created us to have relationships, but they will not always be easy. “Repentant people will recognize a wrong and really want to change because they do not want to be that kind of person. They are motivated by love to not hurt anyone like that again. These are trustworthy people because they are on the road to holiness and change, and their behavior matters to them.” “Every relationship has problems, because every person has problems, and the place that our problems appear most glaringly is in our close relationships. The key is whether or not we can hear from others where we are wrong, and accept their feedback without getting defensive. Time and again, the Bible says that someone who listens to feedback from others is wise, but someone who does not is a fool.” “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.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    Overall great book. The only drawback I found was some weak theology, including a few instances of the author trying too hard to bend doctrine to fit his analogies. But I benefited so much from this book otherwise - spiritually, emotionally, and (hopefully soon) relationally. It's one I'd be more than willing to recommend to others who have traversed through rocky relationships. Overall great book. The only drawback I found was some weak theology, including a few instances of the author trying too hard to bend doctrine to fit his analogies. But I benefited so much from this book otherwise - spiritually, emotionally, and (hopefully soon) relationally. It's one I'd be more than willing to recommend to others who have traversed through rocky relationships.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    This book is a game changer. If you feel like all you do is attract toxic people or you have a particularly toxic relationship OR if you have been hurt by toxicity in the church... you need to read this. Things to note: **This book is based on the Christianity — so if you are looking for something that is not faith based, skip this one **It gets repetitive at some points and feels a bit confusing. Don’t let this distract from the overall message.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Helpful information about identifying unsafe people, examining my own weaknesses, and the importance of healthy relationships, all with Biblical grounding. Occasionally the advice was too vague or the Biblical foundation seemed weak, but overall worth a read and had some relevant takeaways.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Reeco Butcher

    This is great for identifying safe people, becoming a safe person and understanding our need for healthy relationships. I recommend. So good.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Beverly Diehl

    These are the authors that wrote one of THE defining books on boundaries and setting limits in relationships. They also both hold PhDs, AND are strongly entrenched in the American Christian life philosophies. If you, also, are strongly entrenched in the American Christian lifestyle, this would be an excellent read for you. If you are are NOT, especially if you still carry trauma from being involved in this lifestyle previously (*raises hand*) you may have to tiptoe through the God-talk in order t These are the authors that wrote one of THE defining books on boundaries and setting limits in relationships. They also both hold PhDs, AND are strongly entrenched in the American Christian life philosophies. If you, also, are strongly entrenched in the American Christian lifestyle, this would be an excellent read for you. If you are are NOT, especially if you still carry trauma from being involved in this lifestyle previously (*raises hand*) you may have to tiptoe through the God-talk in order to avoid triggering issues. Even with that caveat, this books has many, many excellent nuggets and insights in it. Here are some bits that resonated with me: "Unsafe people only apologize instead of changing their behavior." Or the concept of "merger wishes" relationships: "When someone else possesses a trait that we don't have, we are inclined to blur our identity with with theirs in order to help us feel better about ourselves and to gain access to that trait." Or the tendency, when our boundaries are weak, to go for all or nothing: "...boundaryless people tend to isolate as their only limit. Often, people with weak boundaries will give in repeatedly to some irresponsible or demanding person. Then, out of the blue, they'll pack up and leave the relationship with no warning." We DON'T have to be with unsafe people; nor can nor should we, trust our church or social club to screen people for us. That was my biggest take-away from this book, recognizing my own tendency/wish to think that in XYZ group, everyone is "safe" for me. Just ain't so. Because of MY life experiences, traits, and personality, Person A may be unsafe for me, but absolutely safe for YOU, and vice versa. As adults, we each need to figure out how to sort out and separate those who are safe and unsafe for us, PERSONALLY. We can't count on others to do it for us, anymore than we can count on others to exercise for us. Some of the traits of safe people, according to this book, include: "Someone who gives me an opportunity to grow; someone I can be myself around; Someone who allows me to be on the outside what I am on the indie; someone whose life touches mine and leaves me better for it," and much more. I do highly recommend this book, and am only deducting a star because of the triggering issues it may present to some readers.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't by Henry Cloud and John Townsend deals with the problem of character discernment. Cloud and Townsend write, "Safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be. Though not perfect, they are ‘good enough’ in their own character that the net effect of their presence in our lives is positive. They are accepting, honest, and present, and they help us bear good fruit in our l Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't by Henry Cloud and John Townsend deals with the problem of character discernment. Cloud and Townsend write, "Safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be. Though not perfect, they are ‘good enough’ in their own character that the net effect of their presence in our lives is positive. They are accepting, honest, and present, and they help us bear good fruit in our lives (pg. 11)." The goal of Safe People is two fold. First, it will help us find and recognize safe and unsafe people. Second, it will also help us recognize areas in our lives where we are unsafe and help us become a safe person. The book is divided up into three sections. In the introduction it says: "In Part 1, 'Unsafe People,' you'll learn who unsafe people are and the twenty identifying traits of unsafe people (chapters 1-4). In Part 2, 'Do I Attract Unsafe People?' you'll get a picture of the origin of the problem: why you currently choose the wrong people, and how to repair this problem (chapters 5-8). In Part 3, 'Safe People,' you will learn more about what safe people are and why you need them. You will also receive practical help on successfully meeting and relating to safe people. We designed this book to help you look both outside and inside yourself. (pg. 12)" If you are open to honestly examining yourself, your relationships and your actions, Safe People will definitely give you a greater understanding of your role in interpersonal relationships. It is a Christian faith-based book. I thought it was very convicting to examine the relationships I have and the role I take in them. Along with Cloud and Townsend's book Boundaries, it has the potential to be a powerful tool, especially for a Christian's recovery from various problems. A friend recommended this book to me and I appreciate that. While I really liked Safe People, in many ways I thought Boundaries was more beneficial for me personally, but Safe People is still very highly recommended and I'm glad I read it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Philliber

    I hate books like this one because I'm pretty certain the authors are talking about me! It was like that in the abnormal psychology class in college. Of course, Cloud and Townsend are not really talking about me, but about people in general. Yet, since Genesis 3 all of us have been playing manipulative and maladjusted relational games. We've grown up in families that have fine-tuned sinful patterns, and we are deeply ensconced in layered family systems that have handed off, generation after gene I hate books like this one because I'm pretty certain the authors are talking about me! It was like that in the abnormal psychology class in college. Of course, Cloud and Townsend are not really talking about me, but about people in general. Yet, since Genesis 3 all of us have been playing manipulative and maladjusted relational games. We've grown up in families that have fine-tuned sinful patterns, and we are deeply ensconced in layered family systems that have handed off, generation after generation, ways of using, and being used by, other people. That's why books like this one are so personal, because all of us have trends that lean toward the models displayed throughout. Nevertheless "Safe People" is about breaking free of those harmful relational habits, and learning to see why we are attracted to unsafe people. But the goal of the authors is to give the readers help in recognizing what makes someone a safe person, and how to take the steps to become a safe person. As the authors will write toward the end, the "idea of changing our own character first is really what this book is all about. In order to have safe people, we must first become safe people" (192). "Safe People" is an ideal book for the newly married and the seasoned. It is also a good self-assessment if your marriage is on the rocks or has ruptured. But the authors look beyond marriage into many of our other relationships. This easy-to-read manual would be an ideal resource for reading groups, adult classes, recovery groups, and individual people. I recommend the book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Kurtz

    Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You, discusses “safe” and “unsafe” relationships and helps the reader recognize characteristics from each type of relationship. Cloud and Townsend discuss how the reader can work on their “unsafe” characteristics to help better their relationships, recognize what makes people trustworthy, how to avoid unhealthy relationship and form positive ones, and learn the 20 traits of unsafe people. A good, thoughtful read. It helped me recognize som Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You, discusses “safe” and “unsafe” relationships and helps the reader recognize characteristics from each type of relationship. Cloud and Townsend discuss how the reader can work on their “unsafe” characteristics to help better their relationships, recognize what makes people trustworthy, how to avoid unhealthy relationship and form positive ones, and learn the 20 traits of unsafe people. A good, thoughtful read. It helped me recognize some of my “unsafe” tendencies and what I could do to adjust them. Just to be picky, there was one shortcoming throughout the book that kept bothering me. (Grammar nerd). The authors would use gender specific pronouns to describe certain scenarios that didn’t need a gender specific pronoun. For example, they’d use the pronoun “she” when describing a person in an abusive relationship or “he” when talking about someone with anger problems without introducing a fake scenario to describe the situation. I’d recommend it to those who have trouble keeping relationships or have hundreds of “friends” but don’t have many close ones. Also, recommended for those who are in current relationships with unsafe people and need some suggestions on what to do next. I think people who are drawn to unsafe people would learn a lot from this book, but I also think those who typically aren’t would learn a lot from it too.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    It took me forever to finish this, partially because each section gave me so much to think about. I'm a big fan of Cloud & Townsend, and just about everything they have put out strikes me as healthy--it's like a good satisfying meal for the heart and soul. Not sugar-coated and not harsh, just plain truth that refreshes. This one was no exception, and I loved some of the things it broke down about relationships and how to navigate and evaluate your own choices in them. Especially helpful to me wa It took me forever to finish this, partially because each section gave me so much to think about. I'm a big fan of Cloud & Townsend, and just about everything they have put out strikes me as healthy--it's like a good satisfying meal for the heart and soul. Not sugar-coated and not harsh, just plain truth that refreshes. This one was no exception, and I loved some of the things it broke down about relationships and how to navigate and evaluate your own choices in them. Especially helpful to me was a section that talked about times of "not needing enough", where they explore very thoroughly the state of being unable to feel your own need, and therefore resisting and neglecting any relational connections to fill it. I appreciate both their wisdom and experience that goes behind the surface causes of behavior, and their skill in being able to communicate helpful guidance. Read it!

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