It has often been said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.
How true! This recently got me thinking:
At what stage in a relationship do friends start to feel less like friends...and more like family?
I mean, it's a really fascinating transition when you think about it...
In this article, we'll explore the answer, by discussing 8 extremely endearing traits of friends who are like family.
In doing so, we'll hopefully discover some important lessons that can help us all become better friends!
First of all, let's address a commonly asked question:
Can friends even be considered family?
In my opinion, the answer is: Absolutely!
Think about it: In certain cultures (such as mine - I'm Nigerian) young people are taught to address family friends as "auntie" and "uncle" even though they aren't actually related.
This is often done as a sign of respect, and sometimes as an expression of the close relationship between the families.
So it naturally follows that if you can refer to your parents friends' (who, in some cases, might be complete strangers to you) as family members, then the same can apply to other people.
I'm sure we all have those friends who seem to be more reliable than even some of our family members.
It reminds me of ancient proverb:
"A true friend shows love at all times, and is a brother who is born for times of distress." (Proverbs 17:17)
If you have a friend like that, then they can certainly be considered family!
With that said, let's dig deeper and consider some specific traits that you can look out for:
What's the difference between fake friends and friends who feel like family?
Well, fake friends are solely interested in "what's in it for them."
On the other hand, friends who are like family have no interest in gaining something from you.
As mentioned in the proverb quoted above, they'll go out of their way to help you at all times.
If anything, they simply receive the joy and satisfaction that comes from helping a loved one out.
Such friends are worth their weight in gold.
Friends who are like family don't tickle your ears by only telling you things you want to hear.
Rather, like your mom or dad, they'll tell you what you need to hear at any moment in time, because they genuinely care about you.
Let's face it, it's not easy to give people advice and counsel.
In fact, it can be quite awkward at times.
However, true friends will push that aside and say what needs to be said, because they know it's better you hear it from them than from someone else.
You might dislike their direct approach at first, but eventually you'll love them for it.
Sometimes friends who feel like family will live far away from you.
But if they live nearby, there's a good chance that they're automatically invited to every social engagement you organize.
(That is, if they aren't helping you organize the event.)
You see, such friends don't usually need a formal invite, because they don't usually view themselves as guests.
When you throw a party, they'll be the first ones to arrive (to help you set up) and last ones to leave (to help you clear up).
Life is just a whole lot easier when they're around, so thank goodness they're always around!
True friendship isn't about doing exciting things 24/7.
When you feel comfortable with someone, there'll be a lot of quiet moments where you're each just doing your own thing.
For example, sitting in silence in the same room while you're both on your phone or laptop.
It takes a while to get to this stage, because when we make new friends we usually try our hardest to make them think we're interesting.
However, when a friend becomes like family, you don't need to put on a show.
They've known you long enough; they know who you are.
You can just sit back, relax, and be yourself - unapologetically.
Friends who are like family are talent agents.
You know, those people who find jobs for actors, musicians, authors, and other entertainment professionals.
Because they're always scouting for opportunities for you...
Sometimes these individuals will come in the form of "aunties" who are always matchmaking...
But other times, they'll come in the form of friends who recommend you for great job opportunities.
Unlike crabs in the bucket who try to keep you down, friends who are like family are happy when you succeed.
In fact, they're even happy when you're more successful than them.
This is because they're too busy celebrating your achievements to feel intimidated by them.
From their perspective, a win for one is a win for all.
Along the same lines, when you have really close friends, what's theirs becomes yours and what yours becomes theirs.
In other words, their family members become like your family members and their friends become your friends.
This is one of the best perks of developing intimate friendships, especially if you're shy and reserved.
You step out of your comfort zone once and reap the benefits over and over again!
Family members often step on each other's toes...
...And so do friends who feel like family.
However, by the time a friendship gets to that mature stage, you've both likely learned how to manage disagreements in a responsible way.
After all, friendships don't last long when both parties are unwilling to compromise.
In contrast, friends who are in it for the long haul don't let petty issues break their strong bond.
Moreover, as the friendship develops over time, each party develops a clearer understanding of what the other person likes and dislikes - and acts accordingly!
If there's one thing friends who are like family won't tolerate, it's malicious slander.
True friends will be the first to defend you when someone speaks against you behind your back.
They won't even wait to entertain the person's false stories and excuses, they'll stop them right in their tracks.
Think about it: Most of us feel hurt when someone speaks negatively about us.
But when someone attacks one of our family members, it offends us on a whole different level...
That's just the kind of energy that close friends bring to the table.
On a daily basis, they're sweet as pie.
But when your reputation is at stake - they're truly a force to be reckoned with.
Thanks for reading this post. Did you identify any of the above traits in your close friends?
If so, then congratulations!
Writing this post really reminded me of the power of friendship and how valuable it is to have friends who have your back.
However, for you and I, it's also a good reminder to think about the kind of friend we are to others.
We love friends who are like family, but we can also be friends who are like family!
I think it all starts with pure intentions.
As long as you go into a friendship with a genuine, selfless attitude, then you'll naturally be a great friend.
Actually, you'll be even better.
You'll be like family.
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