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Good article (with a lame-ass title) out of USA Today: Budding Friendships Fill Out the Family Tree.

I love my family very, very much, as previous posts will attest. But this is a good time to raise a glass to the ‘friend’. A friend is someone you have met, sought out to spend further time with, and learned much about. It’s quite possible you know more about your friends than most family members. And in turn, these are the people who know you the best, and who are still there after the scary stuff. These people are with you almost every day, many times on days when family cannot be there. In my case, many of my best friends are co-workers, a fact which I know is both an anomaly and makes me incredibly lucky. This is a symptom of another benefit of friends: you typically have much more in common with friends than with family. That means more agreement, and more “getting along”, less stress and fewer heart attacks. All good things.
I don’t write this to belittle the family. Heck, it’s 3 days before Christmas- family is very important. I for one can’t wait to get home and see the whole clan. But if you find yourself without family, I’m betting (unless you are a real ass hole) you have friends who have stepped in to invite you home with them.
For my part, I send out a very sincere “thank you” to all my friends who have helped me through a somewhat trying year. You know you are. I don’t say it enough, but I love you.