This is another book I am reviewing through Thomas Nelson Publishers. I chose The People Factor: How Building Great Relationships and Ending Bad Ones Unlocks Your God-Given Purpose by Van Moody because my family is going through some MAJOR transitions and the information seemed like it would be enlightening and helpful for our present situation.
My husband and I have had some extremely unpleasant revelations about some of our “friends” recently. Not to get into too much detail or air too much dirty laundry, but some dishonest streaks, lack of morals, and blatant hypocrisies have been surfacing in some people we had considered great friends. Somehow the distance from California to Florida gave us the perspective to see these qualities clearer, and when push came to shove, our “friends” turned out to be not so friendly.
As a new mom, I have become aware to a whole new degree how God uses relationships to heap blessings on us in life. Whether it’s moms reaching out to donate breast milk, or offer support and advice on forums, or even just offering a shoulder to cry on at a local coffee shop… I’m realizing on a much deeper level how vital healthy and mutually beneficial relationships are in life.
I’m also realizing how essential it is to end toxic, hurtful, or negative relationships. Not just for my sake, but for that of my family as well.
Why this book appealed to me is because of our upcoming move. I have made some great friends here in Pensacola, and will be extremely saddened to leave these lovely ladies when I move. But once we get settled in our new home, I thought having a handy dandy relationship guide with helpful insights into character qualities would be helpful once we start making new connections – or rekindling old ones!
About This Book
Book description from Amazon.com:
The relationships in your life will make the difference between happiness and misery.
The right relationship will launch you to the heights of achievement; the wrong one will tether you to mediocrity. Your relationships will be your sources of greatest joy and your venues of greatest pain. Van Moody says, “When people show you who they are, pay attention.”
We need to undertake the important task of evaluating our relationships intelligently. We need to recognize the people with whom God has called us to walk in mutually beneficial relationships and to identify those who will derail our destinies or hinder His purposes for our lives. It is high time we cultivate our Relational IQs, understanding not only how to build great relationships but also how to avoid or skillfully exit bad ones.
Van Moody saw this need every day of his pastoral life, but he could not find a concise, practical resource for people who need to become more relationally savvy. He needed a beyond-the-basics study guide for Relational IQ. The People Factor is his solution.
God works in our lives through our relationships. Yet, all too often, we get our relationship advice from the most toxic sources we can find. The People Factor is based on the most effective, trustworthy relationship book of all time: the Bible.
If you hunger for a richer, more fulfilling life, your Relational IQ is the place to start. If you put The People Factor principles to work, you will become stronger, happier, and healthier in all your relationships. You will be a better spouse, a better friend, a better boss, a better parent, and a better person.
My Thoughts on This Book
In the opening chapters, when Moody goes over the “warning signs” and character qualities to be weary of in others, I immediately began to identify traits that had always bothered and nagged at me in the people I considered my friends, who later turned out to be sources of pain and disappointment to me and my family. Qualities like lack of morals, people pleasers who modify their beliefs and values according to whoever they are trying to impress at the moment, and people with dishonest streaks were all qualities I identified in the individuals who have recently wounded me and my husband in the arena of friendship.
Throughout my friendships, I’ve always taken a “nobody is perfect so accept them anyway” approach to these issues, but Moody does an amazing job highlighting the dangers of becoming close and vulnerable with these unstable personality types. Yes, we are called as Christians to love these people, but that does not mean that we have to (or should) open our hearts and lives to them or join them in relationships or close friendships.
Moody reveals with extreme clarity that a friend that helps you grow in your life and in your faith, is a friend who has a personal commitment to what is right, no matter what the cost, with an unwavering dedication to truth and honesty in every area of life, and a refusal to compromise.
With all of the thought I’ve been putting into what goes in, on, or around my family recently, I never thought to apply the same rigorous scrutiny to my relationships. I have no problems asking, “Is this food healthy for me?” or “Is this the healthiest toothpaste?”, yet I never considered asking these questions of the people I call my friends.
This book really highlights the value of asking questions such as:
What is the purpose of this person’s life?
Who is this person trying to please?
What motivates and drives this person?
What standards and values does this person hold?
Does this person always tell the truth?
Does this person set high standards for themselves?
Holding the false friends in my life and in my recent past up to these questions, and honestly examining the answers, has revealed that the heartaches, betrayals and disappointments should not have been surprising – in fact, they seem almost inevitable in hindsight! While Christians are called to love everybody, we are NOT called to accept everybody into our inner circle. I wish I had learned this lesson looong ago, and I fully plan to employ the advice and methods in this book to all future (and current) relationships from here on out.
Reading this book I have gathered the courage and the vision to end some harmful friendships in my life, and to put some healthy boundaries on some friendships that should not extend beyond casual acquaintances. While the idea of intentionally keeping people at arm’s length seemed mean to me before, I have gained new vision on how it is actually protecting myself and opening my life up to newer and healthier friendships that I would not otherwise have the opportunity or the energy to pursue.
While this book answered a lot of my questions, and opened my eyes to a lot of interesting aspects to relationships, I found that a lot of Moody’s advice is really only applicable to professional relationships, not personal ones. And almost all his personal examples are based in a pastoral / ministry and employer / employee frame. So whole chunks of pages would be completely unrelated or inapplicable to generic friendships, which is what I was reading the book for.
While the information in this book is extremely helpful and enlightening, it is a lot less about fixing existing relationships and more about getting into relationships with the right people to begin with. The only information about ending bad relationships is in a single chapter at the very end of the book. As someone who is currently severing some less than healthy friendships, I was a little disappointed there.
Also, a number of his Biblical passages I found to be just a liiiiitle bit of a stretch. While some were spot on, some just seemed like he needed to inject a passage, couldn’t find an appropriate one, and would insert something that vaguely fit the theme he was going for.
But aside from these minor flaws, the book is helpful, thorough and easy to read. I would certainly recommend it.
[Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this review. I am an independent product reviewer. I only review products I am truly interested in. I don’t accept payment for reviews. The products I take the time to jabber on about are either items I have personally purchased, or the product has been provided for review after me incessantly nagging for a sample. All of my reviews are unbiased regardless of how the item was obtained.]
Do you examine your friendships the same way you examine your health choices? Why or why not? Share below!