Family and Friends OR Friends vs. Family?
How Strong is your Family Bond?
Perhaps a better way to ask this question would be, "Do you have a family bond?" Sadly, there are far too many people who might be able to put the subject of family bond to rest before it begins. Perhaps they would respond with a question of their own, "What family bond?" Even more pathetic they may ask, "What family?"
It will come as no huge surprise to most that there are just as many families who are quite disconnected from one another in adulthood, as there are those families that are extremely tight with one another and bonded for life. This reality has more explanations, reasons and causes than there are stars in the sky on a clear summer night......but some of them are not quite as beautiful or shining as those stars. Whether we love, like, tolerate or hate each other, when you are family, these emotions take on whole new meanings than when in reference to individuals unrelated by DNA.
The All-American traditional, functional, happy and healthy Family unit exists in our imaginations. Let's get that straight right off the bat. This is not a cynical comment but merely a sensible and rational statement of fact. Families after all, consist of real, live, imperfect and fallible mortals. Hopefully we can agree perfection does not appear anywhere in a family album.
A very long list of other wonderful and priceless gifts however, do appear in our family portrait. Whatever our own personal view is of family...our family as a whole, as well as each member of our family, it is a view and an attitude that grew over time via nature and nurture.
If we were fortunate to receive the love and protection, guidance and direction from responsible and caring parents, we were also exposed to the lessons so vital to a good and decent life. We were allowed to feel safe, accepted and important. Our bonds to one another strengthened continuously and relationships with siblings flourished. This is as close to perfect as we can hope to have. This is in fact, ideal
Needless to say, this ideal family picture does not appear in all family albums. Sadly, all too often it is quite the contrary. This is just the way it is, all over the world.
Sibling Love and Rivalry
Our siblings are our very first friends....our playmates.....our idols for a while. Depending on the years that follow as we share our mutual space and thrive in the environment of our home life, our future connection will be determined.
For some of us, a sister or brother becomes our lifelong best friend. This was the case for my sister and I. Tragically, we lost her to cancer. Every single day since that devastating loss, I ache from missing her. I am sincerely pained when I meet women who have little or no connection to their own sister(s). I simply cannot understand how this happens....or how they can allow it to happen. To me, this is an egregious void in one's life.
Since we're all different and come from any number of various backgrounds, these are just facts of life we need to try to understand. Often, a separation of family members is justifiable, albeit, sad.
For these individuals who are distant from their birth family, they reach out to people around them as friends and attempt to form solid relationships with them to create the kind of bond that humans instinctively need. Friendships can and do grow to become an integral part of our life.
Good friends, fun friends, helpful friends BEST friends
If you've entered the third or fourth decade of life and have managed to maintain a childhood friendship, this can say a whole lot of good things about both of you. For starters, not only would it be clear that you genuinely like one another but it would be safe to say you are loyal and dedicated individuals. We often see these long term friendships, that remain through thick and thin for years, as being like family. For more than just a few people, their friends are their family. These friendships are to say the least very special and easily treasured.
"I love her like a sister," and "He's the brother I never had," are two of the numerous comments made in reference to a good friend. Of course, this is a great compliment when it comes from someone who is strongly family-motivated and holds the concept of family in high regard.
Many of us have this sort of friend, but there are many kinds. There's a place in our life for casual friends, co-worker friends, former class-mate friends, neighbor friends, cyber friends and friends of a friend! Our circle of those we refer to as friends is as elaborate or as simple as we choose. Are you cautious and selective or do you make friends in a heart beat? What's nice is that it doesn't really matter our method of collecting friends. We are drawn to one another for any number of reasons. Sometimes these relationships come and go like ships in the night and other times, we drop anchor and float around together for years and years.
Regardless, as a rule there is little argument presented that human beings seek the company of others as sure as we breathe. Having friends contributes enormously to our health, happiness, and peace of mind. Simply said, friends decorate lives, encourage and support each other and in general, make life more interesting. It is not an over-statement to say that we just don't know what we'd do without our friends.
Which is more important, Family or Friends?
This question may take you by surprise at first glance, or you may be ready to respond in an instant. Maybe there is no question to your opinion, in terms of how family and friends fall into rank. While the answer is a no-brainer for me, at the same time, I'm painfully aware that some of my very own good friends would choose friends to be more important; no doubt, no hesitation.
When relationships are close and have existed for a number of years, we get to know pretty much everything about one another, including the alleged deep, dark family secrets. Many more of us than not, have friends whose families have been shattered and seemingly irreparable for as long as we've known them. Despite how we may hurt for their situation, we need to understand that it is probably best for them.
Although I may be one of those with the knee jerk reaction to such a question and quick to insist, "family."..... I do remain open to numerous options and attitudes.
I believe we should take into consideration, individual situations, the length and type of friendships, as well as the twists and turns of one's family history. These two distinct groups of people in our life can easily be of equal importance to us, or perhaps vital in exclusive ways. Perhaps for some, there is no comparison, no contest....they firmly embrace one over the other. We can speculate on this forever. The picture of possibilities is clear.
There is surely no right or wrong answer here. There is your answer and those of millions of other individuals. We may need mere moments or lengthy periods of time to arrive at our own choice. But what becomes quite evident to us is that we can find ourselves coming to terms with harsh realities and sensitive issues. Hopefully, we do not omit the rational and organized thought process of common sense.
When all is said and done, can we not agree that family and friends make up profound and valuable pieces of our life? We are grateful and feel fortunate for all the ways they've mattered and how we have touched the hearts of one another. Ultimately, we may come to the place where we ask the question; "What would I ever do without family and friends?"
© 2012 Paula