I’m in San Francisco for a long weekend visiting college friends. It’s been a refreshing few days—sunshine, long walks outside in mid-60 degree weather, No Strings Attached (much better than I anticipated. Turns out I love Ashton and Natalie!), and delicious dinners.
Last night, we ate at my friend’s parents’ house. I hadn’t seen them in about six years but things picked up as if no time had passed. Such a cliché, I know, but the truth.
On the drive home, my friend and I were talking about dinner in the context of this blog. “Do you think knowing a BFF’s family makes the friendship stronger?” she asked.
The short answer: Yes.
When it comes to my oldest friends, the people I met back in my school days, I’ve spent time with all of their parents and siblings. Slumber parties, weekend visits, graduation celebrations—they all involved family bonding. Knowing where (and who) a person comes from helps you understand who she is. It helps you complete the picture of her life, to put a face and personality (a real one, not the one she makes up in the my-mom-is-driving-me-crazy tales she tells after an exhausting phone call) to some of the most important players in her story.
When it comes to friends I’ve made since I moved to Chicago, I’ve only met the families of two people. It was a real treat. I had those moments of “Oh, that’s why you’re like that!”
I know the same is true of when people meet my mom. This apple didn’t fall far from the proverbial tree.
As it is with dating, “meeting the parents” is a friendship milestone. People say it’s because they don’t want to bring anyone home to Mama who isn’t going to stick around, but it’s more than that. Introducing someone to your family is revealing a raw part of yourself. You can’t put on an act in front of family, they’ll always call you out. The real you will peek through. Sometimes we’re not ready for the new people in our lives to get a glimpse of our true selves.
So I say yes, knowing someone’s family does make the friendship stronger. It’s not that you can’t be great friends without memorizing the family tree. You can. I know this because I have some of said friendships. But in every instance the relationship would only grow deeper if I met her parents and vice versa.
What do you think? Do you have to know a friend’s family to truly know her? Or does that need fade as you grow older?