In chapter two she talks about keeping our circles open. Over the years of doing youth ministry, clicks were a common problem. Several times I had discussions with parents about their children (usually girls) feeling left out. Here is what I learned from talking to my teens and through observation. Most of the groups were not purposely leaving anyone out. They were just so focused on what was going on with their friends, or in their circle, they didn't notice anyone was on the outside. I have seen this happen in my adult life as well.
When Eliana was about a year old I joined a mom's group. This group saved my sanity during my early years as a mom. I encourage every new mom to find a group! They didn't have a circle. Everyone was new to the area and looking for friendships. This group was also really fluid, people were always moving in and out of town. This group was great with encouraging new moms to join the group. It was an easy transition and one I am so thankful for. Fast forward a few years and I joined a local support group for homeschooling. I had learned from our play group that I needed people in my life. Breaking into the homeschooling world was a little more difficult. Most of the parents in the group had been homeschooling for years, which was very intimidating for the mom of one kindergartener. Trying to break into a circle is difficult if you are not out-going.
What did I learn from this experience? I could have easily walked away from the homeschooling group. I could have decided it wasn't worth it and given up. But I chose to persevere, to step out of my comfort zone and talk to people. It wasn't easy and it took time. I can now say some of my best friends have come out of that group. I often wonder what blessings I would have missed out on if I had left out of fear. I am now very aware of the circle that has formed and try really hard to make sure others are welcomed into the group. If you're not sure how to talk to a group of women, let's be honest, it's extremely intimidating to walk up to a group of women that all appear to be friends. Jill gives some great step by step instructions of how to approach a new situation. She also gives great reminders for those of us that have strong friendships to keep our circle open for new friends.
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