I’m talking about the conflict so many of us encounter when dealing with our biological families and the ones we’ve chosen to include in our lives (best friends, intimate partners, & associates even!). Some people find themselves much closer and trusting of the friends in their lives versus their biological families, and there are others that feel the opposite. Of course, there’s always the exception; I know someone reading this is saying, “I’m equal with both!” I personally haven’t met many people who didn’t feel like they swayed more to one side of the spectrum or the other, but I know you’re out there!I personally find myself truly feeling that the nurturing that comes with friendship and chosen partners have been much more beneficial to me than my biological connections. I love my mom and dad, and I think my siblings are awesome, but I also don’t have the connection, understanding, acceptance, and love that I have with my intimate partner and my closest friends.
According to new research in the journal “Personal Relationships” the friends we keep in our lives will have a much larger impact on our lives as we age than blood-knit ones that raised us. William Chopik found that both family and friend relationships were associated with better health and happiness overall. But as people aged, the link to health and happiness remained only for people who reported strong friendships. Chopik narrowed it down to the fact that we get to choose our friends, where we can’t choose our family. As we come closer to the last portions of our lives it’s easy to understand why that is. We desire connection with people whom we feel understand our true values and beliefs, and as we get older we learn that superficial relationships have very little to offer our well-being and happiness.
I have a biological family, a tribal family of VERY close friends, a Plexus family, and so many other relationships… but when it all comes down to it, your family is who you choose. The older you get, you will maintain the bonds you have with those who contribute to your well-being more than anyone else. You get to choose those relationships, whether they come from blood or not. Choose your family wisely, and pay attention to the ones who are loving YOU like family too.