the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

Blood or bros?

Is blood really thicker than water? It’s time to unpack the traditional view that family is more important than friends.

As I sat down with my family for dinner, my mother mentioned our weekly family trip to the beach had been moved to Saturday. I paused; I could have sworn I told her that my friend’s sweet sixteen birthday party, which I had been excited for for months, was that same Saturday. When I tried to vocalize my previous commitment, I received the same lecture I had been given since elementary school.

The friend talk. 

I’ve grown up being told “family is most important”or that “blood is thicker than water.” My parents have tried to assist me through navigating relationships, but don’t realize the importance of  my relationships outside of family. 

In a TIME Magazine article, John Chopik, assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University, analyzed a survey of nearly 7,500 older people in the U.S. In this study, thousands agreed on two things:  the crucial importance of quality friendships beyond family and when friends were a source of support, people were happier. 

I’ve always wondered why families can’t acknowledge that in some ways, friends are of equal importance

I had been so excited for my friend’s birthday dinner, but now, I had to cancel due to the stigma that family is above all. 

Family and friends deserve similar value; one shouldn’t be constantly viewed as greater than the other. 

I have known some of my friends since birth; they might as well be my family. 

Friends offer a personal relationship where you’re able to express experiences and subjects that might not be suitable to discuss with family members. Some topics are difficult to discuss with family and that’s where a friend can be your moral support. 

Obviously, family is crucial to having a trusting source of stability that friends can’t always give; however, that does not discredit the importance of friendships. 

It is true that friendships can break and getting hurt is inevitable, but the same can happen with family. Family is able to betray you the same way friendships can but they can also build you up like friendships. Parents who reflect on the bad sides of what friendships have to offer will only deter children from expecting anything good out of a friendship. Having to pick between the two is hurtful and doesn’t prepare you for the future when balancing different relationships is necessary. 

A decision should not be made on whether one is bad, or that only one can be an important part of someone’s life. Instead, there should be a balance between the two. 

Support systems are crucial for a well rounded life. Having a large variety of people to rely on besides family can allow a person to have a larger amount of support. 

In addition to discussing the need for well rounded friendships, Chopik spoke about the human necessity for positive reactions and a variety of people in a support system. 

“The general point is that the more support, the more positive interactions, the better.” 

He added:

“The important thing is having people you can rely on, for the good times as well as the bad.”

The friendships that are tied through years of connection that have formed a chain of trust are most important. These relationships have undergone the same setbacks and bright times that family units have experienced. It’s important to stand up for things you believe in even when it comes to your family. I decided that night to instead of letting my mind wander while my parents discussed the value of family, to instead stand up for what I believed is the truth; both family and friends deserve respect and value, regardless if one is connected biologically while the other is not.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Milaan Smith
Milaan Smith, Staff Writer, Social Media
Milaan Smith is a senior on the Gauntlet where her position consists of being a creative  staff writer. In her free time she enjoys going to the beach, sleeping, and rewatching Superbad for the twentieth time. Her favorite artists are Drake, Lil Wayne, and Mac Miller.

Comments (0)

Comments are expected to be respectful and constructive. We do not permit the use of profanity, crude language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Commenters must provide their name; no anonymous comments will be accepted.
All the Gauntlet Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *