Friends Before Family

Tomorrow is my best friend’s birthday. Since I don’t have much money, I bought her a pack of milk chocolate Milano cookies as gift. Not the most special gift, but it is the thought that counts, isn’t it? Plus, she loves anything that’s chocolate. She also invited me to her birthday party tomorrow, which is being held at a local park. It’s a small gathering of friends and possibly her family. I haven’t seen her since the after-graduation party back in June, so I’m definitely going.

To my surprise, my sister got jealous of my gift for Jen. It was a very inexpensive gift, yet you’d think I bought a puppy for Jen’s birthday. Turns out my sister was angry because I didn’t buy her a gift for her birthday last month. Never mind the fact that I’ve bought and made gifts before and they’ve gone unappreciated. My sister expressed that she was angry that I was putting my friends before my family.

Well, that’s not how I thought of it. In my mind, I had simply bought a pack of cookies to be a gift. I wasn’t thinking of putting Jen ahead of anyone. I was thinking only of Jen and what she may like as a gift.

Still, I must admit my sister isn’t wrong. It may be subconscious, but I do think to think of my friends before I think of my family. However, there is a reason for that. The former actually treats me like family while the latter treats me like dirt. Not all the time, I’ll admit, but enough that I find them nearly insufferable. How can I not put the people who have been there for me, helped me, and treated me with kindness since I met them ahead of the people who have driven me to emotional breakdowns, made me feel worthless since childhood, and generally frustrate me? Sure, I’ve known my friends for a much shorter time and they’ve changed over the years, but that doesn’t change those facts.

My friends are not the ones who push religion on me. They are not the ones who put me down. They are not the ones who make fun of my dreams and goals. They are not the ones who treat me unequally to the others. And they are not the ones who use me as a scapegoat.

There is a saying that blood is thicker than water. Besides that being literally true, I found a better saying: Love is thicker than blood. If you’re my family, then that simply means you’re related to me by blood. However, if you’re my friend, that means we like and care about each other, and enjoy each other’s company. We may be related by blood, but it’s irrelevant. I’d rather be connected to someone by a strong bond than merely by blood and DNA.

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