In America, we have no real sense of what the word “friend” means in our everyday vernacular. I noticed that we have this interesting cultural piece where “friend” represents everyone from the person who has seen and supported me when I was in shambles to my partner’s co-worker’s friend with whom I share no commonality or connection.
I’m an over-analyzer with a particular interest in human behavior and a sprinkle of social anxiety (fitting traits for a therapist), so indulge me for a moment.
What is it that makes someone a friend?
Is proximity enough to create a friend? Am I friends with the person I see and chat with when I go to my regular coffee shop? The kind of relationship that will never break the surface of idle chit chat about the cold weather and planned tasks as I unzip my laptop case?
Do we define friendship based on our levels of the vulnerable sharing of our deep, dark secrets? Am I friends with the person I shared a car with, the one who mourned their best-friendship with their dying mother?
What if our spiritual or religious faiths say that everyone is a friend? How do they – if they – define the friends that are the ones who sit next to them when they’ve fallen and hold their hand while they get up?
My existential rambling brings me back to the middle school playground when classmates would get into arguments about how “X was Y’s best friend.” Or how it was impossible to have more than one best friend because best meant best.
There are also circumstances that shatter our definition of what family is. What becomes of the line between friends and family?
In the LGBTQIA+ community, we often talk about chosen family. Chosen family are the people we choose to have in our lives, the ones who fulfill the most important roles in our lives – roles often abandoned by the biological family members who were supposed to fulfill them. This is a family that is not biologically or legally determined. It transcends these boundaries.
In Latinx families who have a Catholic ceremony, we have padrinos and madrinas, or godfathers and godmothers. They are often people who are so special to our parents or to us, that we entrust our lives or the lives of our children into their care. I’ve had friends note similar religious observations of family in Black communities and in Korean immigrant communities.
I’ve seen the impact that systemic fractures and trauma have on and within a biological family. What of the person whose family has injured, traumatized, or invalidated them? When the relational bond is devoid of love or care, when it saps more from the person than revitalizes them? Do we still call them family?
The messy, emotional, and experiential nature of human interaction makes it just so, so hard to label them neatly. Labeling them is my initial desire because then I can give my brain a shortcut by automating my reactions. Like an efficient Excel document with fancy formulas. It’s what most brains would like to do.
Some of my relationships – friendships and family and anything perpendicular – feel this easy and predictable. That’s okay. Some definitely do not, and that’s okay if I’m okay with it (usually I am not and that’s okay, too). I’ve had to practice very intentionally that these are all relationships to me and I can label them however I want.
What matters more, however, is how these relationships interact with me.
My internal questioning changes with this sentiment of curiosity. How does this relationship bring me joy? What values do I bring into this dynamic? Are these the parts of myself I want to flourish? What can I do either externally or internally to help these relationships feel satisfying for me? The tension of labeling softens for me as I make space for the ambiguity that comes with complexity.
I think you have observed some very interesting points , appreciate it for the post. Dorice Fonsie Parsifal
Thanks in support of sharing such a good idea, post is pleasant, thats why i have read it completely Kassandra Allister Podvin
Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back. Ruth Findley Catton
Aw, this was a truly wonderful blog post. In idea I want to put in writing such as this furthermore? taking time and also actual effort to make a great short article? however what can I claim? I procrastinate alot and by no means seem to get something done. Sosanna Myles Modla
Thank you ever so for you blog. Thanks Again. Fantastic. Shela Bradley Lewendal
Howdy, I do believe your website might be having internet browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic blog!| Delcina Giacopo Coad
Hello 🙂 I bookmarked this site. Thanks heaps for this!… if anyone else has anything, it would be much appreciated. Great website Super Google Guide Google Guide Enjoy!
Thank you for another great article. just wanted to throw you a big thanks â€“ you and Iâ€™ll bookmark it and come back later Add Free link
I just came to your blog yesterday and I have been checking it out often. You have a ton of good information on the site and I love the design of the website also. Keep up the great work!
I simply want to say I am beginner to weblog and actually savored youâ€™re website. Very likely Iâ€™m want to bookmark your website . You definitely come with good posts. Thanks a lot for revealing your blog site.
I think the admin of this site is truly working hard for his web site, because here every data is quality based data. Rosalie Alfie Caryn
I really like your content style plus the way you express your opinions. Nicely done! Blondelle Tito Derman
Superb website you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? Iâ€™d really love to be a part of online community where I can get feed-back from other experienced people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!
It is a very good useful article I like to read such articles Penelope Maxie Giffer
I value the blog. Really looking forward to read more. Great. Vannie Wayne Childs
Fantastic Info! But I???Â¨Âº?Â¨Â¨m having some trouble trying to load your blog. I have read it many times just before and never gotten a thing like this, but now when I attempt to load some thing it just takes a bit whilst (5-10 minutes ) after which just stops. I hope i don???Â¨Âº?Â¨Â¨t have spyware or a thing. Does anyone know what the difficulty might be?
Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing.
The clarity in your post is just spectacular and i
could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab
your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.
Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.