Friends are the family we choose. I personally believe that we have an even closer bond with those not related to us as we weren't just grouped with these people from birth, we actually chose them/were chosen by them for our qualities.
I have been blessed with the two greatest parents in the world, though honestly other than them plus my aunt, I just don't have a close relationship with the rest of my blood relatives due to stupid fights between the adults in my family that occurred almost a decade ago….honestly adults can be selfish during family conflicts and seldom do they think about how their behavior will affect the children involved….
Anyways, I am truly blessed to have the relationships I do with the blood relatives that make an effort to care about me and be a part of my life. However, I've had to seek out additional family elsewhere, and I've found it in the amazing, strong friendships I have made over the years.
I am an only child.
That alone makes things a bit harder as I never had siblings who grew up right alongside me and who I could lean on during tough family times. I had to get through things on my own. School was a bit rough at first as I was painfully shy and had few close bonds. It wasn't until middle school where I met my first true friend who I still consider my closest friend today.
She's filled the role of the sister I never had and we basically grew up together, going through the preteen/teen years and all that comes with them the way true blood sisters would. I am blessed to have her and know she will be a part of my life forever. To be honest, she was the only real friend I had up until college.
Upon entering college, I never could have imagined making so many close bonds with people who I knew I would be friends for life with. It took a little while, but eventually, I had a strong, core group of people I knew would be by my side forever; people who today I consider being my brothers/sisters. We care for each other, vent to each other, and are always there to support one another.
I feel protected, loved, and valued by them, and if that doesn't make someone family I don't know what does.
So you know what? I actually do have a large family, they may not all be blood-related, but to me, family is those who come into your life and make an effort to stay in it. I'm truly blessed to have finally found the right people who will offer infinite support and love. It's rare to find such relationships.
So you may say "blood is thicker than water," but I say "blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb," or in other words, blood doesn't always bond you, but rather your actions do. I don't agree with those who say "oh but family is family/family always comes first/family over everything." While I believe that family members who actually do act like family to you very well should be a priority, that doesn't apply to the cruel relatives who in no way behave like family and are simply those who share your DNA.
Bonds are bonds.
Whether they come from people related to you or people who relate to you, all that matters is that you are loved and valued. Friends can be family, too. Never let the label "family" or "friend" shield you from how you are treated by such people or mask mistreatment. Because at the end of the day, strong, healthy relationships are what will truly add to the quality of your life.