Friends Are The Family You Get To Choose For Yourself

Friends Are The Family You Get To Choose For Yourself

We're not related, but we're family.

Now, I'm sure everyone has those friends in their life who are like family. Some added brothers, sisters, even chosen parents. But have you ever had a friend become like a cousin? No?

Well, let me explain it to you.

First off, I am the type of person who is extremely close with my cousins. Growing up without siblings, they were the closest thing I had to that.

Family, overall, is very important to me, but there is just some special bond with my cousins that is different from every other friendship I've ever made.

So, when my best friend told me that our mutual friend and I acted like cousins, I had to ponder it for a bit.

My cousins mean the world to me, and I would take a bullet for them. They're my built-in best friends. This friend of mine had such a familiar feeling about him — like he was a cousin.

And I didn't notice until someone pointed it out to me.

And since I've come to notice that, I'm thankful. It hasn't made our friendship weird or pushed apart. If anything, it's drawn us closer together.

And not only have we grown closer, gaining a better friend in one another, I've gained another cousin! And I think we already covered how important cousins are to me.

This friend is truly my newfound cousin.

I would take a bullet for him or defend him to a crowd just like I would for my own blood cousins. I have no shame sending him ugly Ssnapchats or rambling about a stupid story just like I would to my own family. There's a familiarity, a comfortable feeling, in this chosen cousinship.

We might not be related by blood, but he's definitely my family.

Every time I think about the fact that we're like "cousins," I laugh. I had never heard of such a thing until I experienced it.

It's funny to think how he's like a cousin to me rather than a brother or even just my best friend.

But no word describes his role in my life better than "cousin." I have a hard time letting people in and believing they'll stay in my life. And the thing about cousins is that most of the time they're kind of forced to deal with you.

The complicated thing about this cousinship is that he doesn't have that "force." His parents aren't related to mine, we don't have similar family members.

He owes me absolutely nothing, even when I'm a complete jerk (because trust me, I know I can be a jerk to my cousins sometimes).

But for some weird reason, I trust him and I've let him into my "family." And I hope and pray that he stays my cousin for a long while, no matter how intolerable I become.

Friends are family that you choose. I am thankful to have chosen him as my cousin.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Stout

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I Drifted But Now I'm Reaching Out

I'm not going to isolate myself anymore.

I’ve noticed that since I started college, I dropped a lot of habits. Some were habits that I really needed to get rid of, such as picking at my nails and snacking way too much. Other habits, though, I really shouldn’t have dropped. Maybe I just got too busy or lazy, or maybe it was just something for the high school me. Yeah, I’ve changed a lot in college but I’m going to try and get back into the good habits I had.

College gave me a lot of time. Suddenly I had all this free time and I realized that it was entirely up to me what I wanted to do with it. The freedom is really great, I won’t deny that, but what I noticed was that I found myself alone a lot.

Maybe it was my intention that some days I just wanted some alone time, but more often than not I found myself realizing that I hadn’t seen or talked to friends in a while. I realized I wasn’t hanging out with people anymore. I was alone.

Now, I know the importance of myself reaching out. Before I always worried that there was a reason I wasn’t seeing or talking to people as often, I mean, there was school so maybe everyone was just busy.

But I feared that I was missing out on so much was because I was unwanted in those moments. After gaining confidence, I've decided won’t isolate myself anymore. I’m an outgoing person, but I won’t be selectively outgoing anymore.

In high school, I could barely go two classrooms down without seeing someone and stopping to talk to them, and I want college to be the same way. It’s really impossible to know everyone at your college but reaching out isn’t that hard for me to do, I’ve just been lazy. I haven’t put in as much effort as I should be putting in and I know that if I want to keep some of the amazing friendships that I currently have, I need to not be distant.

It’s easy to drift away when emotions and events start piling up. Sometimes, the only thing I want to do is just lay in bed and not think about my to-do lists and schedules and problems that I have.

Once I start doing that though, I get sucked in and it becomes so hard to get the energy to get up and move. I don’t want that to be the case anymore. I don’t want to hide away with the “what ifs” and speculation as to why I didn’t go or get invited. From now on, I’m just going to go, and then see what happens.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To My Best Friends, Thank You

I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.

I have gone through many friends in the past few years, some that lasted a while some that only lasted a few months, but you know exactly when you found your perfect person, soulmate, best friend, the one that will never get away. It’s the friends that stick with you through the toughest times and stay.

The ones you call at 3:00 a.m. because you got into a fight with your boyfriend and can’t sleep and they stay on the phone until your ready to sleep. The ones that you can count on to pick you up because you need a ride no matter where you are.

Dear Best Friends,

I just wanted to thank you for being you and for letting me be me. Thank you for letting me feel so much like myself when I’m with you. Thank you for sharing in my happiest moments, and for listening to my saddest stories and giving compassion and empathy from wherever you are. Thank you for being the only person I ever want to confide in. Thank you for being the most beautiful person, inside and out.

Thank you for making the world a better place, just by being in it. Thank you for defining selfless, always putting others before yourself, you are going to change the world just as much as you have changed mine. Thank you for all the memories we made at Disney this year on our senior trip. Thank you for practically being my second Mom.

Thank you for setting the bar so high and making it impossible to find another friend as good as you. Thank you for making these past years we have been friends feel like forever and for giving me enough memories to last a lifetime, but not ending there.

Thank you for making me hurt when I miss you, but for taking the hurt away when I see you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for the absolute privilege of being able to call you my best friend, thank you for being my person. Thank you for giving me these reasons, and a million more, to be thankful for.

I sometimes find myself looking back on my life and realizing how huge of a part you have played in keeping me steady when the rest of my world has been falling apart. How you have known what to say and do in the moments when I have felt all control slipping through my fingers.

Even if it’s just dropping everything and taking me for coffee, shopping and listening to me try to untangle the mess I call my life. Thank you for those days when the rest of the world is against me, for making me feel less alone. For believing every silly dream which enters my head and being excited for me about things which no one else understands. Thank you for always validating my emotions, for taking my side, for telling me when I’m wrong, for being honest.

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