Dealing with this pandemic is a trick in and of itself. Doing it without some sort of support system? I’d find that really tough. I’m grateful to have a loving family with whom I can connect, both during the pandemic and beyond. But I’m finding that it may be just as important, maybe even more so, to have a solid, genuine network of good friends to lean on. I definitely have an amazing “friends” family, and here’s why you should, too.

Same Difference

I’ve discussed how important my mom and dad tribes are to me. They’re so key to who I am as a mom, woman and human. And, they’re such powerful groups because they’re extremely different than my nuclear family. Why? They’re personally shaped and molded by various life experiences that brought us together. The support we provide each other in various stages of life makes our connections to each other so rich.

The interesting thing about the people in my “friends” family network is that we are all so different! I think Los Angeles has an interesting way of bringing unique cultures and personalities together, and I love that about this city. I think I’m actually the only one in many of my “friends” family groups who is actually from LA! Deep down, I think those differences make us a closer community. Varying cultural perspectives and social upbringing allow us to see, support, learn from and grow with each other in ways that differ from the more homogeneous support ideologies we get from our traditional families. I know that’s helped me shift my perspective on certain aspects of my life and problem-solving options during challenging times.

My Travel Family

The idea of my “friends” family has resonated so strongly with me recently because of canceled travel plans due to the pandemic. It’s not so much that I won’t get to visit Ibiza (my FAVORITE place on Earth). Rather, I’m more disappointed that I won’t get to see a very special group of friends that I only get to gather together and travel with once a year, if I’m lucky.

This group of friends literally looks like an ad for global diversity. It’s such a mesh of beautiful people from various cultures. On my regular trips to Ibiza I typically get to see my friends from Spain. We’re joined by friends across the globe from many different backgrounds. We’re all so different and from completely different walks of life. Yet, we are all tethered to each other by love, care and concern for one another. That’s what makes this group special, and that’s why this family will be sorely missed this year.

Cultivating a really great “friends” family is extremely valuable to us all. Each of us needs real people around to nourish us mentally and emotionally. Likewise, we all have gifts we should be pouring into others. It’s especially important during times of isolation, such as this year’s quarantine. In times of joy, sorrow, laughter and tears, family is key to navigating life’s circumstances. However, know your traditional family isn’t your only support system. Strive to develop nurturing, symbiotic relationships, and build the “friends” family you need and want to grow with for years to come.

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