We recently discussed the importance of a best friend and that they provide all the support and love of family but are the brother, sister or cousin you can actually choose. The same is the concept for larger groups of friends within YP circles, groups so tight that they make up a family in themselves, supporting each other in projects, marking special occasions together and moving on through various stages of life. We all have friends of our parents who we affectionately refer to as "aunt" or "uncle" and have had around our entire lives despite not being officially related. Our mother's tight-knit group of childhood girl friends still take annual girls trips together and their husbands have all become so close that they arrange their own boys nights. The "kids" have all become friends themselves.
Slowly but surely we see such YP families of friends forming throughout cities across the country. It typically starts with either a long established group of girlfriends (the same group you've had since university or even high school) or group of guy friends and grows as they begin to couple off with their significant others becoming friends with the significant others of their friends. As time goes on a family dynamic forms as bonds grow strong.
It is a given that the members will be staples at one another's charity events, housewarming parties, engagement parties, weddings and even during tough times like the funeral of someone's blood relative.
What are the key ingredients to strong and healthy YP groups of friends?
Facilitate interaction between members of the group's significant others
Even with YP circles as small as they are, there is the chance that the SOs of your friends may not know each other. Well, this needs to change, especially if you plan on walking down the aisle anytime soon. This could start as group dinners and move to golf games and even group trips.
Know the difference between real friends and acquaintances
Don't confuse party circuit "friends" with the real, long established deal, especially if you are the single one among your group of friends. These are the friendships that are going to stand the test of time as opposed to a few barely memorable conversations in the wee hours of the morning at an assortment of the city's hot spots.
Make an effort to mark special occasions together
Have your own YP family holiday dinner or potluck. Yes, holiday time is busy for all, but this can even be early on in the season or perhaps as a Sunday January brunch to kick off the new year.
Don't take your "family" for granted
Not everyone is blessed to be surrounded by a group of friends, so hold on to it if you've found it. Like all relationships, the group relationship requires work and effort. Take time to actually call your friends, send group emails suggesting fun group activities and be there for one another in through tough times.