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Friends as Family—Family as Friends

Friends as Family — Family as Friends

Talk to enough people and they'll tell you that their friends have become and, in some cases, replaced their family.  There are reasons for this development:

1.  Geography.
 Families used to live a relatively short distance from each other. That is no longer the case. Your parents, siblings or grown children are as likely to live across the country from you as within your same state. While there are many ways in which you can communicate with each other, you cannot physically spend much time together.

2.  Emotional Distance. Just because you're related, doesn't mean that you have much in common other than perhaps being raised in the same home. Your lives have taken separate paths and they couldn't be more different. Frankly, you don't have all that much to talk about. You may also have had a falling out that has never been resolved, so you have found it easier to emotionally walk away.

3.  Support System. When you are going through a medical crisis, for example, you need all sorts of help. Logistically, it's much easier for a friend who is a neighbor to run your errands, bring you meals and help you with child care. Your friends know you as an adult and have shared the highs and lows with you, as you have with them. There is an intimacy that makes you more comfortable leaning on them than on members of your family with whom you may have only a cordial relationship.

It's wonderful to have friends you consider family. It's also wonderful to have family you consider friends.

You may not be able to bridge the many miles that separate you, but you can bridge the emotional divide. You may not be able to physically give a hug to your mother, father, sister, brother or child, but you can send an emotional one.

Many family members who live far apart are now skyping with each other. Grandparents and grandchildren are able to visually interact with each other and can share smiles. Parents can check in with their children away at college and actually see for themselves that their son or daughter is fine.

Another great way to stay in touch and make relationships stronger is through the sending of cards.  Today, there are many ways to send online greeting cards (called ecards) that reflect who you are and what you want to say to anyone. In fact, you can actually select cards in advance and schedule them to be sent on a date in the future.  

One of the best new sites for ecards that look great and have something to say is unvelope.com. Sites like unvelope.com are membership-based and easy to use for even computer novices. Those who join for a nominal annual fee can send as many ecards as they like to as many people as they like for the term of their membership.

However you choose to bring people in your life closer to you, you will enhance your life and theirs.