Each morning I participate in a daily devotional with a friend of mine who has become more like family as he and I have been friends for the past 27 years. He is very much my brother. And I have been blessed to count many other friends who over a lifetime have also become more like brothers to me as well. This past week the devotional that we participated in examined this phenomenon, where friends become like family, and family members turn out to also become our best friends.
Our friends who have become part of our family have stayed with us through the good times and the bad times, they have mourned our losses and celebrated our victories. They have stood by our side when others walked away, and with expectation or question, we always have their back too. There is a bond forged by going through years, sometimes decades of doing life together.
I consider myself fortunate to have both men and women who have been friends for many years, people who I love and respect and who I would do anything for when needed or asked. Friends who I consider sisters, and friends I consider brothers. In some cases, we talk, meet, or call regularly, if not daily. And in other cases, weeks or months could go by, but when we reconnect, it is like we have never missed a beat, we pick up right from where we left off. And when we do, it feels so good to get caught up.
My siblings and I are now at that age where we have endured much, laughed plenty, fought miserably, loved unconditionally, mourned our losses, and celebrated new life. I love when we do get together, and when we do, take that special picture of the four of us.
I am sharing this with you because having participated in the devotional I mentioned earlier and reaching out to others to see what they thought, I heard something that made me a little sad. Some people shared that they too enjoyed friendships that were certainly like family, and family who were best friends. However, some shared that the younger generations were not as loyal to friendship as the past generations. One comment I received was rather disturbing as they noted that their children saw their friendships as disposable, here today and gone tomorrow. And there was no worry, as they would just find other people to “hang out with.”
Hanging out with people could mean friendship, or it could just mean companionship. Whether that companion will be around in a few years is yet to be determined, let alone for many years or decades. When I did some more digging, asking other friends and neighbors what they were seeing, they echoed a similar feeling of “temporary friendships.” For me the question became, “Why?” So, I am going to do further research and have more discussions around this to better understand the difference between generations when it comes to long-lasting and loving friendships vs. temporary or disposable relationships.
My hope is that those of us who have been blessed with such relationships will share the many benefits of having friends who are like family and family who have become our best friends. There is so much I am learning from the younger generations each and every day as I am given plenty of opportunity to work with people across multiple generations. And now it could be our turn to teach and share the meaning of having such powerful relationships.
It doesn’t matter if it is even one friend who is like family or many friends, the point is you are there for each other, available and unconditionally.
How about you? Are you someone who has enjoyed having your friends become like brothers and sisters? Have your family members become like best friends? I would love to hear your story at email@example.com, and when we can build long-lasting and loving relationships with friends and family, it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is the grateful president of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.