Monday, October 17, 2005

Family Friends

I used to wonder. . .
If they weren’t my brothers,
would we ever have been friends?

Would they choose me?
Would I choose them?
What are your thoughts on that?
—me strauss Letting me be


Jennifer said...

I have always been a firm believer in the phrase "you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family". I love my family very much and am pretty close to them. But when I look back over our history, if we weren't family I don't think I would have stuck around.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Jennifer,
I know what you mean. I think that feeling of thinking I wouldn't have stuck around is what started the question for me. These days I'm sitting at one and one where my brothers are concerned.

The people that I consider family weren't raised in my house. But I could invite my brothers in.

Who knows? People change. Feelings change.


melly said...

We know family on a whole different level than we know our friends, so that's why it's exasperating sometimes.

If we only went out with our family, and talked to them the same way we do with friends, then we might see them differently. However, we don't. Not only that, we let ourselves behave much differently aound family. Remember the phrase - we hurt the ones closest to us the most?

My point? My point is that it's hard to tell because the relationships are so different.

(btw, I so want to read your chemistry post but I have such limited computer time these days that I have to limit myself to shorter posts.)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Melly,
No worries, I know what you mean about lack of computer time.

Thank you for using your time to bring such insights to this question. You're right we do treat our families so much differently than our friends and we expect them to deal with a side of ourselves that we would never ask others to deal with.


zilla said...

I can honestly say that I would choose my brother and my sister and my mother and even my step-father. My own father, I might not have chosen unless the things I knew by living with him were always unknown to me.

However, I made peace with him before he died, and my siblings did not.

So, whether we would choose or not choose, I would suggest that the one choice we can make given that we had no choice, is the choice to forgive, which can be difficult.

But worth it.

ME Strauss said...

Hi 'Zilla,
What a wise outlook you have and what a wonderful relationship you must have with your family that you would also choose them for your friends.

I think that the forgiveness you choose may be bigger than friendship. I honor you for that.


easywriter said...

I liked Melly's viewpoint. Mine exactly. I do think that my Sister and I would be little more than acquaintences. (sp?) She and I are polar opposites and the circle of friends we keep are also entirely different.

My Parents chose me. So I guess I choose them back. :o)

Ned said...

Years ago, one of my sisters decided to try a little experiment and took handwriting samples from each member of the family to a graphologist for an analysis.

The result?

All he said was:

"I hope these people don't all live in the same house".

ME Strauss said...

Hi Easy,
Yeah, that's how I feel about part of my family. In fact at one point my cousin and I decided we would divorce our whole family and start a new one.

It's an interesting thought. I'd like to see a video of my parents when they were eight and then I'd decide whether they and I could have been friends if we were not related.


ME Strauss said...

I always look forward to your response to these questions. You have a way of cutting right to the core and with such humanity.

Families would be so much easier if there were no people involved. :)


fineartist said...

Interesting, and thought provoking question. My first instant response was, Hell NO, for most of my seven siblings.

I love everyone of them, Honestly, some more than others, but would I choose them to be my friends?

Then I thought, wait, some of my siblings are my friends now. I love ‘em like crazy and they are my friends, and if they were not my sibs, I would choose them, yes.

Then there are two brothers who, I have to love from a distance, because I can’t watch them destroy themselves. But wait, I have friends who I have to love from a distance too. So, yes.

Then there is the sister drowning in codependence, lives with a drunken looser, who wont let me into her house unless I call her first. Oh heck, I would choose her too. Yes.

As z said, we accept people as they are, we forgive, and we love.

Would I want to live without knowing them? The answer is an unequivocal NO. Would I choose them as my friend? Probably.

Melly is right of course, we really KNOW our family, in good and poor light.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lori.
You always bring such deep thought to my questions. I learn just by listening to your answers. Thank you for sharing the ways of your thinking.

I agree with you, Z, and Melly. We love them, forgive them, good and bad, and I think it's nice to think we might also choose them as friends.


Tanda said...

Wow! What a thought-provoking question!

Fineartist and I are in the same boat. I have 7 siblings also.

For this reason, I can't necessarily avoid them. Somebody is always calling, emailing, mailing, or inviting themselves over to my house.

But I love it. We fought all the time growing up. But we also played. We shared secrets, built forts, defended each other, and guided each childhood to adulthood.

It does help that none of them live in the same state as I, though.


ME Strauss said...


Mark said...

Interesting idea. It's hard to say since we seldom see or talk to each other at all anymore. Maybe that's your answer.

Then again, when we do get together we all share the same sense of humor and have a great time together so, I don't know.

But if I had to decide I would say no I don't believe that we would be friends.

ME Strauss said...

Hello Mark,
Welcome back,
You know of what you speak. I can't help, but think that sometimes we don't see friends for a long time either.

A shared sense of humor is something. So is a shared sense of history. But I agree it's not enough to say that without it having happened as it did that a friendship would be.


Jennifer said...

I always say it's a good thing we can't chose our family :) Cause none of us (I think) would ever end up chosing who we ended up with.

That said I'm quite happy with who I 'ended' up with (Even though they drive me crazy at times!)

The Architect Jennifer :)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Jennifer,
You're right about that. I tell my friend who gets frustrated with her parents to remember that they had so much to do with making her the person I care about so much.

My friend, Peg says that if she had people around her who were just like her she'd be bored to death. I tell her not to worry. There is not chance there's another like her. But I think her point is valid. We need the challenges that the sublte differences our family presents to us.


garnet david said...

My family is wonderful. I've been lucky. (I have a sister) Would I choose my family? Knowing them, probably.

But I'm learning the real lesson of family. They teach you to love and cherish through thick and thin. Friends who become that way become family.

I'm also learning to openly appreciate family instead of taking them for granted. That lesson has come late.

ME Strauss said...

You are the definition of a lifelong learner. You set such a fine example of one who looks for the lesson and the truth in everything. I admire you that.

Lance said...

You do not choose immediate family, especially if you are younger. But there is choice later in life, about time youspend together and the health and balance in those lives.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lance,
No one has mentioned that and it's a good point for sure. How close we keep to our family says a lot.

Part of my family I value from afar.


Janus said...

hmm good point..since I always thought my brother and sister were from other planets I don't think we would get along.

Though I have been trying to rekindle that bond

ME Strauss said...

You're the oldest--right, Janus?

Once we get to an age where we're all adults and the playing field seems to level out, I guess the chance of starting over as friends represents itself if we want it.

I admire you for thinking it's worth working on.