Why Therapists Want You To Find Real-Life Friends

My little sister and I happen to have a massive age gap, which was 14 years. She practically entered the world when I was already in middle school. In truth, my parents had been trying for another child for many years, but they only got blessed with one when my mother was closer to 40 than 30. For that, Abby was considered a miracle baby in more ways than one.

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If we talk about a typical home setting, the big sister or brother tends to get jealous over the vast amount of attention that their new sibling got from everyone. I mean, Abby even got to celebrate each month leading up to her first birthday, which was as lavish as a quinceañera. However, unlike other kids, I was genuinely happy for Abby’s arrival in our lives.

Why might you ask? Abby was the sweetest baby on the planet. She did not cry much about anything; she loved cuddles for as long as I could remember. As long Abby was clean and full, she would giggle at whatever you do.

Growing Up

When I was still in middle or high school, I tried my best to bond with Abby as much as I could. She mostly cared for Dora the Explorer and Peppa Pig during her toddling years, but I knew that our time to live under the same roof was numbered. Once I turned 18 years old, I would leave the house and go off to college. My dream university was on the other side of the country, so I could not see Abby as often as possible.

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I would say that I was successful in bonding with Abby. Whenever I would come home for the holidays, we would always be attached to the hip. She was like my shadow, always wanting to do whatever I was doing. It was hilarious, but it was also eye-opening, considering I realized that I was a role model in her eyes, and I had to act that way.

Did I mind having that extra responsibility? Not at all. For one, I never had a rebellious phase; I had always been aware of what’s right from wrong. I did not intend to drink or party my way through college either because I wanted to become a psychologist and therapist to help my friends with mental health disorders. I knew that it would never happen if I acted as most college students did. So, being Abby’s role model was not too daunting of a task.

Keeping In Touch With Abby

My little sister and I remained close despite our physical distance. After getting my Ph.D. degree, I decided to do an internship in Finland, which was an incredible experience. That’s also where I met Johnny, and when we returned to the US to get married, Abby was the first person I wanted my husband-to-be to meet.

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Despite how hectic my life had been as a married and career woman, I tried to talk to Abby as much as possible. She was 12 years old at the time – closer to hitting puberty than ever. It was the most critical aspect in anyone’s life, and I wanted her to be open with me.

During one of our nightly video chats, Abby was upset due to a fight in her circle of friends. She was huffing and saying that she did not need friends anyway. However, like her big sister and a licensed therapist, I had to remind her why she should find real-life friends.

True Friends Anchor You To Life

Remaining in touch with reality is often challenging for individuals who have no idea about real friendships. The reason is that they do not have guaranteed anchors to this lifetime. If you find friends who are willing to be your anchor, color yourself lucky.

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True Friends Do Not Let You Get Away With Everything

Your true friends will never let you get away with awful decisions. It’s not because they are envious of you – it’s because they want the best for you. You cannot find that level of caring from people who aim to be a bad influence in your life.

True Friends Are Your Chosen Siblings 

Although my sister and I are very close, I reminded her that having more people that she could consider as brothers and sisters was a lovely thing. Real friends do not always come by, but they will become family in no time when you find them. That’s especially important if you are all about to go to college, and you cannot rely on anyone else but your chosen siblings.

Final Thoughts

I understood that my sister might not have much idea about what I was talking about at that point. Abby was young – she did not know the value of friends back then. However, after a few years, she told me, “Do you remember the day you encouraged me to find real-life friends? I know what that’s like now, and I cannot thank you enough for telling me about its significance.”

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