Growing up, I got spend summers and sometimes (if I was lucky) holidays with my cousin. I’d like to think we’d have ended up best friends despite our fortunate circumstances, but I mean, c’mon! We’re less than a year apart in age, we grew up two hours away from each other, we had a lot of similar interests, and our family was really close. From an early age I knew my cousin, Bianca (hey girl!), was more than just my cousin. She’s my best friend.

All of these facts were just reinforced when we ended up going to college together. Now, both in our junior years at SUNY Potsdam, there isn’t a week that goes by without one or two coffee dates, maybe a night out, and at least talk of ordering Chinese takeout. Next year we’ll be living together and there is no doubt in my mind we will thrive as housemates.

Here are some signs your cousin may be your best friend (as if you don’t already know!):

1. Family reunions borderline suck if your cousin can’t make it.

One year my cousin couldn’t make it and I’m pretty sure I moped the whole time. I was pathetically miserable.

2. Even if people don’t know you’re related, a lot of people still ask if you’re siblings.

While my cousin and I don’t look anything alike, we share similar mannerism and our energies are so in sync. It’s obvious to anyone with eyes we’re really tight and we often get asked if we’re sisters!

3. If you have a lifetime’s worth of inside jokes, you know you have something more than a family-bond.

Sometimes our inside jokes don’t need to be spoken aloud, I can just look at my cousin, conveying a message silently, and we both burst out laughing like huge dorks.

4. There’s a good chance you and your cousin have been through a lot of changes and obstacles together.

These kinds of things can really bound people together. Sometimes, when I’m missing my grandpa, all I need is some quality cousin time to reminisce good memories and I feel better. Bianca and I have been through so much it’s easy to tell when she needs some extra love and when she needs space.

5. You can’t wait until you both grow up and do adult things together.

Just the other night Bianca and I talked about what it’s going to be like when we’re parents. We talk about new traditions we want to start together all the time too, like routine coffee dates at our fav coffee shop, Jernabi.

6. Your parents know when your cousin comes to visit, it may be “family time” but really it’s “cousin time."

Don’t get me wrong, I love my extended family. But growing up, the best part about family visits was seeing Bianca. The same goes for needing cousin time versus needing friend time. I have other really good friends, but sometimes the only person I want to see is my cousin.

7. Fights never last long because you know your bonds are too tight to be mad for more than a couple days.

Bianca and I have only had two or three real fights (and maybe that’s too many, I can’t remember) and the only reason why one of them lasted more than a couple days wasn’t because one or both of us were still upset or angry. We’re both just super stubborn and we know it, but forgiveness is swift between us because we know and understand each other better than just about anyone.

8. You make enough memories to last a dozen lifetimes.

B, you know what memories I’m thinking about right now… I’ll never look at a jar of peanut butter the same way ever again. The best part about making all these memories is getting to rehash them on the daily for easy laughs. It really is the best and I know that I couldn’t have made these memories with just anyone.

The best part about being best friends with my cousin is knowing that she’ll be in my life no matter what. We have the family ties, but even if we weren’t related I’d like to think we’d still have become friends. There were so many other points I could have put in here but the list has to end somewhere. If your cousin happens to be your best friend, you’ve lucked out just as I have. Here’s to family and here’s to friendship: may we never walk a road alone.