Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Coastal Carolina chapter.

Family is a weird concept. I think society plays a role in how we define family. Typically it means people that are related to you by blood, but sometimes you don’t feel like the people that are related to you by blood deserve to be called family. Over the years, your best friend begins to feel like family. We all also have that one person in our lives that, when we were younger, we thought was a blood relative since they were at every major holiday or family affair, but, found out when we were older that they were a close friend. So how are we able to define what a family is? How do we make the distinction? Where does adoption fall into this? Or fostering?

When it comes to my personal definition of family, I like to say that family is the people you are able to be completely raw and vulnerable around. They will be there for you from the moment they meet you until the grave. I always think of the article I read from the Daily Mail about the Vietnam Veteran who watched his friends back one last time at his friend’s funeral. This is family. Not a friend. This is complete love and brotherhood. 

I have always been curious about what the true definition of family is in the dictionaries because the definition of family is always changing and evolving. The definition of family that I like best based on the eight given in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is as follows: “A group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation”. If you boil this down to the root, it means that people who spend time together are family. Your family is your first set of friends and first teachers. This can mean that your first friends are to be considered as family. 

Fostering and adopting. I am not a foster child and was not adopted. From what I have been told, most children that fall into this category do not immediately feel at home. It makes sense. Unless you were raised from a very young age by the family who is considered to be your legal guardians, chances are you didn’t immediately call them ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. When you finally felt comfortable enough to do it, they may have cried or made a big deal out of it. But that’s what family does they show their vulnerability with eachother. 

The only true way to define family is based on your interpretation of what family is. I have friends that I consider family and I would do anything for them. I hold my closest friends to different standards because I care about them like I do my sister, they became my siblings. We may not have talked in months or years but they have always been there for me and I know that they always will be there for me. And I will always be there for them. That’s what family is. People that are going to always support you and love you for who you are. They don’t expect anything in return when you do something nice for them, they just appreciate your conversation and presence.

Michelle Boyette

Coastal Carolina '22

Michelle is a student studying public health, psychology, and creative writing. She is hoping that through her writing she will spark joy and change in a world that is desperately in need of both.