What Does, “Like Family” Mean?

familyWhen talking about Family Presence, it is not uncommon for people to mention that the individuals whom they would want to be present with them in a hospital are not legally family members but are instead individuals who are “like family.” However, what does this terminology really mean?

While interviewing individuals for her latest book on friendship, Deborah Tannen frequently encountered the phrase, “like family.” As Tannen explains, “My friends are the sisters I was meant to have,” a woman told me. Another said that her friends are more precious than her sisters because they remember things from her past that her sisters don’t and can’t, since they weren’t there. And a man commented that he didn’t enjoy a particular friend’s company all that much, but it was beside the point: “He’s family.”

Through comments such as these and the descriptions and explanations people provided, Tannen garners an understanding of friendships, relationships and the concepts of family and “like family.”

Click here to read Tannen’s article.

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