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Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't Paperback – October 22, 1996

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Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren't + Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life + Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Not stated edition (October 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310210844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310210849
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Some people are good for us, some are not. Safe people are people who help drive emotional healing and character growth. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend show how we can find the people who will help us down the path to healing and void those who may damage our emotional health. Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You provides practical ground-breaking help which lays a firm foundation for personal growth. Safe People is important, practical reading for today's modern world. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Too many of us have invested ourselves into relationships that left us deeply wounded. We've been abandoned or taken advantage of, and left with little to show for what we've given. We've lost our sense of security and personal value in the process. And what's worse, we tend to either repeat the same mistakes of judgment over and over . . . Or else lock the doors of our hearts entirely and throw away the key. Why do we choose the wrong people to get involved with? Is it possible to change? And if so, where does one begin? 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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Customer Reviews

This portion of the book was very good and I found myself highlighting a lot of information.
I haven't finished this book at this time as I have had to take time to digest all that I have read so far.
N. Yarbrough
The book was helpful in helping me see that I am an unsafe person and I need to work on myself.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

349 of 356 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
"Safe People" deals with the problem of character discernment, or evaluating who is good for us and who isn't. According to the authors, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, "safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be." Cloud and Townsend "believe the Bible contains the keys to understanding how to tell safe people from unsafe ones. It also teaches how to become safe people for others. In this age of broken relationships, these scriptural principles are both timeless and timely."
The authors devote Chapters 1 through 4 to examining and discussing who unsafe people are and the identifying traits of unsafe people. Chapters 5 through 8 examine the origin of the problem: why one might choose unsafe people to be in relationship with and how to repair this problem. The rest of the book is devoted to learning more about what safe people are and why we need them. The authors offer practical help on successfully meeting and relating to safe people. Overall, the book is designed to help one look both outside and inside oneself. As the authors cite from Matthew 7:5, "First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Cloud and Townsend raise a valuable point in that people tend to look for people to be in relationship with who are "spiritual," "godly, "ambitious," "fund to be with," and so on, and yet, these are not the issues that cause relationships to break apart.
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604 of 647 people found the following review helpful By Sister Renee Pittelli on May 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
While I am a fan of Drs. Cloud & Townsend's writings, and frequently recommend their other books, especially "Boundaries", in my ministry for Adult Children of controlling or abusive birth-families (Luke 17:3 Ministries) , I was very disappointed in "Safe People". The first time I read it, I found the first half of the book to be of value, but the second half seemed confusing, weak, and difficult to understand. I have since read it twice more and it hasn't gotten any better. "Unsafe people" as defined by the authors are basically those who are selfish or narcissistic. But this is definitely not a book for those who are dealing with REALLY unsafe people- abusers (physical, emotional, verbal, etc.), liars, control freaks, manipulators, treacherous or destructive people, etc.

The book starts out great, listing for us the personal and interpersonal traits of unsafe people, such as being defensive instead of open to feedback, only apologizing instead of changing their behavior, demanding trust instead of earning it, resisting freedom instead of encouraging it, staying in parent/child roles instead of relating as equals, being a negative rather than a positive influence on us, and being unstable over time instead of being consistent.

The book then goes on to analyze what it is about us that attracts and is attracted to, unsafe people. It also describes the characteristics of safe people and tells us why we need safe people. So far so good. But then we start to lose it.

There is a chapter on "False Solutions" to our problem of becoming involved with unsafe people- they include "Doing the same", "Doing the opposite", "Doing Too Much", "Doing Nothing", "Doing for Others", "Doing Without", etc.
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful By SBR on November 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
While this is a Christian based book, complete with helpful scriptural references, it is also a relationship book that can be very, very helpful for any relationship. This is coming from someone who had never read a relationship/dating book before. I learned a lot about myself, and my relationships. I believe that most people who read this will have the lightbulbs going off when they read about certain relationship qualities, and will be able to pinpoint certain people in their lives who fit the particular mold. It teaches you how to look for better relationships (whether friends, family or otherwise) and be a better person yourself. I have picked up Boundaries, and a couple other books from these authors, and am looking forward to getting time to read them.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Leona...CA USA on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well... I sure didn't find the negative that others seemingly found in this book, and I definitely didn't find any arrogance at all on the part of the authors.

I believe this book was written for our everyday relationships from casual acquaintances to the closer more initimate friendships. I don't believe it was in any way intended to address a physically or mentally abusive marriage and/or the clearcut narrcisists in life, those being a miserable breed of their own and requiring some serious counseling for their severely abused victims.

This book helped me tremendously to take a stand and risk having friends abandoned me when I set my own boundaries based on scripture... where I end, and where you begin, this is who I am and this is how I feel, and what I need. A growing practicing Christian would understand, and benefit tremendously from this book... as not all "Christians" are necessarily safe people.

Again, I don't believe this book was written for overcoming hard-core emotional and/or physical abuse. It was written for those day-to-day friendship relationships that we all have around us and desire to be healthy, growing ones. Anything less can be draining to our spirit and not productive nor rewarding.
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