As I get into my 20's, I'm starting to realize more and more how much friends are family. I have had the same group of best friends for the past eight years, so they are basically my siblings. We were the lucky group to not stop being close after graduating high school and continued being buddies. You need solid friends to keep you moving through life, especially if your family situation isn't the best. I do have a really good family, a lot better than others, but lately, there have been hardships, making me depend on my friends more for that family feel and emotional support.

We all need someone we can come home to and rant about family members that aren't family. Because for one, they can't rat you out, and two they can offer you completely valid advice since they aren't seeing your family situation first hand. I live with three of my friends from high school and we are always so comfortable with telling each other our life and personal problems. It makes me feel safe and happy that I can confide in people who are so close to me like family but aren't actually my blood family.

If you grew up with a sibling or siblings, they were like a best friend to you. You could talk to them about how annoying your parents were, and feel like you had your own secret club. I'm an only child, so I never really had someone that I could immediately talk to about pressing family members (besides my dog, Turkish). I found in those situations that I would always end up calling my friends and talked to them about how I felt so that they could make me feel better. Friends are like an escape family.

When you are with your friends you are your happiest self. I swear every time I hang out with my friends whether we are playing video games or going out to get ice cream, I find myself completely enjoying and soaking in the moment. It makes me thankful for the close friends that I have and how I can always feel at peace when I am around them; unless they end up dueling me in Mario Party 8 and stealing all of my stars. I find myself always so excited to come home every day because it means that I get to see my friends and talk to them about how our day went, versus sometimes not being that excited to go home and be around parents.

Having friends that feel like family means that they can't tell you what to do and what not to do in a condescending way, and make you resent them for it. When my friends tell me what I'm doing is hurting them, or they don't like it, it doesn't make me angry in the way it would if my parents were telling me. I find it a lot easier to accept it and better myself from it, rather than just stirring my witches pot until I get so angry that I blow up. Friends can be closer than family on the sole fact that they are closer in age and can relate to our everyday struggles more; your family could just judge you for your problems and say you aren't trying hard enough or don't know what you're doing.

Getting to live with my friends and see them more than my family has been really interesting. I've noticed that it keeps me in a calmer mood and I am not as stressed. My friends keep me happy and on track in life, making me grateful for everything I get to experience with them. Family comes first, and that will always include my friends because they are just as much my family as any relative.