Thursday, November 25, 2010
Who are you closer to, friends or family?

As evidenced by September’s entire month of posts about friends, and no such month about family, I think it’s pretty obvious I am closer to friends.  I travel the most to visit friends, not family; when I visit a place, I think first of seeing friends, not family; most of all, I keep in best touch with friends, not family.

There are a few reasons for this in my life, and one of the biggest is I didn’t grow up very close to my extended family.  I know a lot of folk whose family is concentrated in one locale, or who have big family events, but we had neither as I was growing up.  My mom and dad are both not super close to their immediate family, and although that’s changed in more recent years (both have become closer to their brothers, and also to their nieces/nephews-in-law), my worldview has been pretty fixed on the point of family since I was younger.  I do enjoy hanging out with family, but I mentally equate them to “friends I am not super close with,” since I have no special “family” category in my brain for closeness (with the slight exception of “mom,” “dad,” and “sister”).

Another big big reason for this is that I chose my friends, and they chose me.  I appreciate the foundation my family gave me for my life, but over time I have realized things about myself I don’t particularly like or that I really want to change.  Those realizations are almost always in part because of interaction with my friends.  Most of my friends are understanding and communicative enough that we get along very well, and yet they see things differently enough from me that I get a lot of insight into the world and myself through them.  With family, I often feel like we think mostly alike, and where others might get comfort from that, I can sometimes find it frustrating.

All that said, I am off to visit with family (Aunt and Uncle) today for Thanksgiving, so closeness might be relative. :)