A Friend is a Friend is Family a Friend..

9 12 2010

Ok, so sit down and get ready to read.


What is a friend?  How do you define friends?  Are there really different kinds and levels?  Or is it really just black and white?

Personally, I think it’s a little of everything.  I do think there are definite lines but at the same time, for me anyway, there are multiple types and levels of friends.  Then bring family into the mix, things get even more complicated.Picture 114 Who is closer family, friends?  Is blood thicker than water?  You can pick your friends, but not your family… or can you?

I feel confidant that everyone has these thoughts from time to time, but maybe I’m wrong, perhaps it’s just me ;).    Either way I have friends, I have family but the lines get all blurred.  I have friends that are great, I love them, but they aren’t REALLY friends.  Not in the ‘my people’ sense.  On the other hand I have ‘people’ who are obviously friends because you can’t become people with out being friends, yet I never see or talk to them.  But in a pinch….

P8081183So who is a friend?  Who isn’t? What makes someone your friend?  A great time over a drink and a chat, regular lunches and confiding, close reliance on each other, there in a crisis, regular conversations, occasional deep and serious conversations, keeping in touch, or just knowing that the other person is there for you?

Is a friend more than a friend?  What happens when someone has been so close for so long, or has a relationship with you that isn’t so much friendship as being your family?  We don’t have a word for this in English.   The best you can do is say someone is your brother or sister, which then causes questions and confusion.  IMG_1266Plus, what if it’s someone of the opposite sex that you have had a relationship with in the past?  It doesn’t happen often that exes can stay friends,P8131261 but sometimes they are family and breaking up doesn’t change that.  What the hell do you call them?

Besides does it belittle the relationship you have with your ‘real’ family, calling close friends family?  Does it insult the relationship you have with your super close important friends by calling your ‘blood family’ your ‘real family’.  Most of us have friends that are closer than some of our family members, so who is the ‘real’ family.

Picture 269Don’t get me wrong, my personal situation obviously muddles my perspective a little.  I am an only child, I grew up with a single mother, but had three parents, with two brothers, anywhere from 2-4 sisters, friends that walk the line, and a couple of other confusing things in the mix.  I know doesn’t make a lick of sense, right?  Wrong.

I grew up in northern Canada, with my mom.  She was a single parent and while we fought like demons we were very close.  I also grew up with my grandparents (we had two houses on the same property out in the countryside), but they died when I was a teenager. P8141273 So only child.  I always knew I had biological siblings but I would probably never meet them, a half brother in France and a half sister somewhere.  When I was 18, I met my dad and the little half brother I never knew about.

n637861286_2636539_7595When I was 20, my older sister found us.  She came with her own family, kids, husband, brother and sister.   Not the Family she grew up with [long ass story], but the one she ended up choosing to be with.  We were never really all that close (got along but both adults with our own lives).  So following the time line, I now have a sister and brother, lost touch with the brother because I wanted nothing to do with my dad.  Eventually, I gained a sister of a sister, who has now been upgraded to family status.  So two sisters, and no brothers.

n690356092_172379_1487Ah but wait, I have some friends that I’ve been close to since I was wee.  Several of whom have been my friends for 20+ years, one was always more of a sister than a friend even though we only catch up once every couple of years.  Another has been a friend for ages, we almost stopped being friends a few times, but in the end we’re ridiculously close now, we are definitely more like family but sister sounds weird somehow.  I have an ex who is very close, our ‘relationship’ is over but I held onto it for so long in order to not lose that closeness, we’ve worked past that but what is he now?  He is like family to me, friend seems to casual or a term, brother is so wrong… sigh so complicated.Wu Lai with mom 119

On top of all that I have an array of friends, one who has been my friend since grade two, one I started tutoring math in school, others are from university, overseas and all over from different times and places in the adventure of my life.

Some have been so close, and turned on me unexpectedly, others have lost touch, some I have abandoned or vice versa, some people loose touch for years and then just pick up right where we left off.

So what does it all mean?  Who is a friend, who is family?  Does it matter?  I have no idea, but it’s on my mind right now.



8 responses

1 10 2009

To me, a friend is someone you truly KNOW, and truly knows you too, and loves you unconditionally! Because isn’t it true that we have “friends”, or acquaintances, that we sorta know but not in a deep, meaningful way? They may know your favourite drink at the bar, but they don’t know about your childhood, your views, your dreams. Worse yet, they may even know them but don’t make the effort to understand them.

I don’t think it undermines our blood-family when we refer to our close friends as family. I have a couple of friends that are more “sister” to me than my own biological sister. I always thought of your mom as my mom too, and even though my relationship with my step-mom has improved dramatically over the years, I’ve not forgotten the love and compassion your mom showed me and still think of her as my “mom”. I don’t think there’s any hard and fast rules, it’s up to you and what’s in YOUR heart.

1 10 2009

🙂 See I knew it wasn’t just me

1 10 2009
peggy vince

Family are those people we love. It does not matter if a person is the same blood as you how you feel about the person that makes a family. there are people there are related to me by blood that they’re not my family there is no trust no liking. I do not feel any family feeling for them. So to me the people that are your family are the ones you keep in your heart. And Nadine I love it too and you are my daughter. I think it’s very limiting if you only allow blood relatives to be your family.

1 10 2009

I agree mom 🙂

1 10 2009

So as a post script.. I would like to add, on a whim, I looked up my little brother on Facebook. 🙂

1 10 2009
peggy vince

good for you

3 10 2009

Them? Yikkes.. I hope I’m not one of them!!! Anyways, all kidding aside.. I love you.

4 10 2009

I really try not to define. Just appreciate who people are to me today.

That email that went around that talked about how people are in your life for a Reason, a Season, or a Time really changed my perspective. It made me realize that there is no point in defining my friends, because I don’t actually know what long term role they play in my life. I had people that were my nearest and dearest, that I don’t communicate with anymore. Not for any other reason than just drifting apart as life carried us along.

Having said that, though, I do find myself defining my friends by whom I want to call when I need a hug, or an ear, or a shoulder.

Family… well, that’s a whole nother blog.

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