Best friends can come in all types and can be found at times and places when you least expect it. Sometimes you find a relationship so unique and close that you couldn't imagine it being with anyone else. Family members can even show what real friendship should feel like. For those of us who don't have or live with siblings, a cousin can easily become your life-long friend and create an unbreakable bond.

Cousins are the people who can laugh at your crazy family members with you and not feel ashamed about it. it may seem obvious that a cousin can fit the bill for being a best friend, given that you are family and have shared so much time together. You have countless memories from a young age (that you still laugh at a decade later) and have been making more since your paths crossed. You know how to make each other ugly laugh, each other's secrets, embarrassing stories, but overall share a strong sense of loyalty. They are a wise source of advice when sometimes you feel like you don't have or want another person to look to.

Your shared childhoods provide for countless stories, from being put in time-out together to reminiscing holiday memories with the family, captured in the plethora of photos you share together since day one. There is a sense of humor that only they can bring out in you, and you know how to get each other going, with everything just seeming funnier with them in the mix. They get you through awkward family events and provide comedic relief. You laugh at old cringeworthy photos, as you've seen each other at your best and worst in more ways than one; who else could you be THAT comfortable with?


Katie is the sister I always wanted Photo by Carly Baysinger

Even the distance doesn't impede your connection, and you still get excited at the thought of taking road trips to see each other and catch up or seeing them at the next family gathering (they make sitting at the kids' table a more bearable experience). You do everything in your abilities to love them and support them for who they are and encourage them to unapologetically love themselves for the amazing people they are.

So next time you're laughing until your sides hurt with your cousins, be thankful for the blessing and sweet one-of-a-kind friendship they have given you!