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Publisher's Summary

Safe People will help you discover why good people can get tangled in bad relationships, how to avoid repeating your own mistakes, and how to pick safe, healthy people for the friends you make and the company you keep.

Too many of us have invested in relationships that have gone wrong. Maybe you've been judged, manipulated, or controlled. Or maybe you've trusted the wrong people in the past. It's easy to make the same mistakes of judgment over and over - or, worse, to give up on trying to have great, authentic relationships again. But it doesn't have to be that way.  

In Safe People, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend teach you that being with an unsafe person can be damaging to your confidence, your trust in others, and even your health. You'll learn that you have the power to surround yourself with accepting, honest, and safe people who draw you closer to being the person God intended you to be.

Drs. Cloud and Townsend, authors of the New York Times best seller Boundaries, are here to share the lessons they've learned in their years of practicing psychology and studying the patterns and practices that support clear, biblical boundaries. In Safe People, they offer guidance for making safe choices in all of your day-to-day relationships, from family and friends to colleagues and partners.

Safe People will give you the tools you need to recognize what makes people relationally safe, form positive relationships, and even become a safe person along the way. Drs. Cloud and Townsend share expert insights that will help you ask important questions:

  • How can I learn to pick better friends?
  • Why do I choose people who let me down?
  • How did I end up with this critical boss?
  • How do I attract irresponsible people?
  • Why did I invest money with that unscrupulous person?
  • What is it about me that draws the wrong types of people to me?
  • Why am I drawn to the wrong types of people?

It's time to revitalize your connections and finally start enjoying the healthy, balanced relationships that you deserve.

©1995 Henry Cloud and John Townsend (P)2009 Zondervan

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

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent analysis of Safe and Unsafe People

Nota Bene: this book is written by Christian therapists who look at things (at least in this book) from a Christian point of view. That said, if you are a Christian, you will find this analysis exceedingly useful. If you are not a Christian, I would imagine that you could still find the book useful, although, you might get annoyed by the constant references to God and what God wants for our lives. It depends on your tolerance for that kind of talk, I think.

That said, I (as a Christian) found this book to be SO helpful, I have listened to it at least ten times since I bought it about a month ago. I will listen to a chapter, then listen again and again, taking notes and trying to remember the endless amounts of good advice and analysis provided.

This book is split into parts, with lots of lists (something I loved).

The first part discusses in detail the characteristics of Unsafe People.
The second part analyzes why we befriend Unsafe People.
The third part discusses the characteristics of Safe People, how to become one, and how to befriend them.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has trouble making and keeping friendships with people who make them feel good and happy, and who help them to be the best people they can be. You need this book if most of your friends are dysfunctional people (aren't we all) who persist in their dysfunction, instead of who seek to grow and move out of their harmful ways. Or for those who have simply given up on trying to make new friends because they have been let down so many times, they just don't see the point anymore.

This book is for you.

As for the reader, he does a fantastic job of reading this book, even going to the point of using different voices for other men, women, or children. It's actually quite endearing. He does a great job of capturing the emotion behind the author's words, but without being maudlin. Great job, reader!

67 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Bad News First. Good News last.

The bad news:

1. Book is outdated. Wish I would have realized I was buying a dinosaur. Unfortunately I forgot to check the publishing date. The fact that the field of psychology has grown immensly since this book was written makes this book feel OLD SCHOOL by today's standards.

2. Authors lean toward victim blaming. I find their lack of compassion toward those that have been abused appalling. They literally list ABUSE as something that you need to simply GET PAST as if trauma has nothing to do with your inability to do so. This approach is shallow. At times during the book they say the best way to resolve conflicts is to facilitate change in others by changing yourself without discussing the danger of doing this with a cluster B personality disordered person. It's as if they would say a rape victim is at fault if they have lingering issues and if they would change themself then they can change the rapist. Sorry, but this ideology is ridiculous regardless of when it was written.

3. At times they compare your ability to resolve relationship conflicts with the ability of Jesus - as if they should be the same. I found myself getting angry as they needlessly pointed out that I am not God. (which I already knew as I am born again) They say to "do what Jesus did " without even discussing the difficultities or presenting HOW TO'S presented as real solutions. Telling me to be like God reminds me of the wwjd movement. How helpful is it when you are already trying and failing. If that is all you needed to know, then you would not be reading this book.

4. They lack ability to identify with people that would actually need what this book promises - a new found ability to have people in your life that care about you and that dont desire to hurt you. They promise they have the answers to helping you find SAFE PEOPLE when in fact they have no "real world" experience doing it at all. This became evident as they described their worst relational experience as having a college girlfrend cheating on them. While that is hurtful, it certainly would not erase all other important people from their life. Their personal lack of need for finding SAFE PEOPLE in the first place makes this book nothing more than a research project. For those of us that ARE or have been isolated, their attempt to relate through this "experiment" feels like a big slap in the face. Kind of like... "wow, that's the worst thing relationally you ever experienced?". It's like having someone who stubbed their toe telling a veteran that lost both his legs to "just get up and walk", afterall, they didn't let their stubbed toe stop them. Additionally, you should have never gone to war in the first place. Oh and dont forget Jesus told the patalytic to get up and walk..." Is this banter helpful or hurtful to the soldier? I say hurtful and a waste of time.

5. At times they make Jesus sound like a narcissist. Not sure if it was the writing or how it was read or both, but many times it contained mocking tones that bothered me. Also, the continuous lip smacking by the reader was irritating.

6. They discuss good news and bad news, but don't tell you what they are handing you until after. By then you are so confused that their point is easily lost. Re-reading the book several times will help clarify.


NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS:

1. The authors are Christians. Their desire to be helpful seems clear. At times they hit on issues in a clear manner and the idea of Christian psychologists with a PHD attempting to help others is potentally heart warming.

2. Their list of 20 things to look for in safe people is helpful. You will be encouraged that SAFE PEOPLE do exist and be given above average tips on how to find them. However, they themselves are wishy washy in their point that implementing the ideas of this book may or may not help. kind of like a disclaimer that leaves you feeling indifferent about their own confidence

3. Even better are the tips of what "not to do" when looking for SAFE PEOPLE. This seemed like good advice and could save you some time - perhaps years.

4. You will find that chatacters in the book are often humbled and can be fooled by non-safe people - even people with great status. This is helpful for not feeling so alone as a mistake maker. (just not the authors, as they seem to be ABOVE you and I)

5. The reader voice quality is above average. He makes it feel like a story. While I was ok with it, at times the fact that this subject was directed to be read in this manner dumbed down the overall clinical approach self help theme of the actual book.


SUMMARY

If I sound cynical in THE GOOD news portion of my review, it is only to reflect how they express good news with blame shift. I hope you get the point.

If you want to be blamed for being alone and not having SAFE PEOPLE in your life more than you are taught how to find them, then you will love this book. If you can stomache their blame, the tips they present for finding and needing SAFE PEOPLE it could definitely still be worth the read. Just be sure you are solid in your entire recovery approach first. My concern is that anyone with a DEEP NEED to get connected will find themselves reeling in pain if they read this book. I know I felt great pain as I was essentially shamed for not doing enough and for having a need to begin with. If they were compassionate in their writing I would tell you, they simply are not. As a Christian, it greatly dissaponts me to see such lack of compassion in the writing when the book itself was likely born from God's desire to see his people connected.

34 people found this helpful

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A big help to my life

I have listened to this book over and over again as it has really helped me to move forward from my most recent breakup. I was devasted by the breakup and it made me to be able to question my character decernment. I needed help and this book is like haveing a counsler in your back pocket, when you need it. I will use these principles to seek out a new relationship. Normally, I would have retreated from relationships but now I am not afraid to move forward and be open to finding the love i deserve. I will seek out safe people and become a safe person as well

18 people found this helpful

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Be Forewarned!

Although much of the information is valid, it is all delivered through scripture and religious dogma. For those of us whose main goal in life is to be ???good Christians??? this book is a little hard to get through. Bottom line: Highly ???spiritual??? Christians are good. All others, including those claiming to be ???religious??? Christians are bad.

18 people found this helpful

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excellent for learning about yourself and others

Where does Safe People rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I have listened to many audiobooks for learning about myself and others, this is by far up there with my top 3

17 people found this helpful

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Great insight with helpful action steps.

Where does Safe People rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the most helpful self-help audiobooks I've listened to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Safe People?

“When we ask we are owning our needs. Asking for love, comfort or understanding is a transaction between two people. You are saying: I have a need. It's not your problem. It's not your responsibility. You don't have to respond, but I'd like something from you. This frees the other person to connect with you freely and without obligation. When we own that our needs are our responsibility we allow others to love us because we have something to offer. Asking is a far cry from demanding. When we demand love, we destroy it.”

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator's over-dramatization and use of different voices (most of which sounded like they were drunk or derranged) for every little case example was odd for a self-help book. It was a little distracting and very perplexing but did not ruin the book.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No- too much to absorb in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

This is from a Christian perspective but still has valuable insight to offer a non-Christian.

11 people found this helpful

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Very biblical

Would you try another book from Henry Cloud and John Townsend and/or Dick Fredricks?

No.

Has Safe People turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

How could the performance have been better?

n/a

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Safe People?

The description of book should have at least noted that this book is based on the bible.

Any additional comments?

I can't believe the description of the book omitted the fact that this book is heavily based on the bible.

11 people found this helpful

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Depressing

This book had me so depressed, halfway through I had to go listen to Wayne Dyer's books for inspiration and to pull me out of my funk! In addition, the narrator came across as condescending and patronizing.

10 people found this helpful

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Full Disclosure: This is a Very Christian Book

I got this book on the recommendation of a friend without really reading the description. I did not know quite how Christian this book was before I bought it. I think many of the insights in the book are valuable, but the authors seem to assume you are enthusiastically Christian to begin with. As a non-christian, I found the constant Bible references, moral certainties, and ad librem assertions to distract from the self-help value of the book. Caveat Emptor.

10 people found this helpful

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Homophobic

I knew this book was based and Christianity, but I didn’t realize that it was going to be homophobic. I had to stop listening after the book claimed that homosexuality was a social ill.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ingrid Faro
  • 11-30-14

Good very Good

What made the experience of listening to Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't the most enjoyable?

If you can ignore the very annoying God God God talk, there is Great wisdom there.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lilith Jones London
  • 07-10-16

Christian Propaganda

What disappointed you about Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't?

If you enjoyed bible study class in pre-school then this book is for you. If you think the sum of human knowledge is expressed in psalms, stuff the good lord and his PR people said you'll enjoy this almost as much as the Bible, maybe more because it's basically a recap. If however, like me, you've been fooled into thinking this book contains any psychological, clinical, or therapeutic advice at all, then not so much. Or at all. It might make you angry because despite claiming to be good Christians, these guys won't give you your money back and unless you own a time machine, you won't get that back either.

What could Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not referencing Jesus, the bible or what their god has planned for me in every single paragraph would be a great start. Emblazoning the cover with a disclaimer like WARNING THIS IS RELIGIOUS PROPAGANDA MASQUERADING AS A SELF-HELP PSYCHOLOGY BOOK would be a close second.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It's hard to detract from absolute drivel.

What character would you cut from Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't?

The authors, the publishers and anyone who conspired to make this happen. Can I get my money back please?

Any additional comments?

Just don't expect to learn anything about psychology from this book. I get that it's not an academic tome but why is it sold as non-fiction?
Even to the layperson, there is just no practical application to any of this, beyond leave it to Jesus, he has a plan for you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • katma
  • 06-17-21

Perhaps some useful tools but very preoccupied with God

I’m afraid I couldn’t get past the constant references to god, so where the two therapists, who presumably do have some scientific background(?!), may have useful tools and concepts to offer, I couldn’t reach them through the layers of religious treacle.

What a shame!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Carmen Carrol
  • 06-19-20

Helpful Book

I enjoyed this book, it really highlights the difference between safe and unsafe people, in a variety of settings no matter how subtle. I will refer to this book on creating the ability towards find attracting more safe people.

I recommend this book if you've struggled with relationships.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lyndsay
  • 02-16-20

great

helped me so much in all aspects of life. I really love this book and will listen over and over.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mum of 4
  • 08-20-19

A very helpful book

I found this Audiobook very interesting and helpful and easy to follow. I'm glad I chose it.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-28-18

narrator

I like the book very much, but not the narrator. made it unenjoyable to listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-24-22

Good book

Really good book I enjoyed listening to the author's stories and research the relax I highly recommend.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-26-21

The narrator wasn’t right for me

Unfortunately I’m returning the book. Above everything I found the narrator too animated for the subject matter which really affected how I was able te receive the content.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-27-21

one of the best books I've ever read. A must read

This book is like getting counselling, in book form. I only wish i had read this years ago, as a child or teen. i could have avoided so many unsafe relationships, or known how to deal with them.... and how to find good friends. If time travel was possible, I'd go back to read this! and I'll be reading it again, soon

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-21

Gives one a positive feeling & direction

Clear narration with natural pace.
Provides methods of inner work and tackling complex life issues from our Higher Self-God-or Whatever name you care to call the part of your Mind which gives the part of our Brains called the Ego... instructions.
Challenge and obstacles are the way thru which we grow, and "the Way" is inward, and inner peace.

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  • Stuart
  • 12-04-17

Very useful

I first heard about this book through another by the same authors - Boundaries in Marriage.

I have found this book to be very practical and helpful in helping me deal with relational issue,ms, by looking at myself first.

The authors clarify that ending a relationship is not a form of boundary setting, and they provide ways to help to determine if a relationship can be salvaged. More often than not, there are ways to come back from the edge and to set healthy boundaries.