Forming a Family: Friends as Family

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Do you have friends who are so close, they are like family? What does it mean to have friends like this? Why do people feel close to their friends? Liz Waid and Colin Lowther talk about how good friends can feel like family.

Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid. And I’m Colin Lowther. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live. 

Click here to follow along with this program on YouTube.

Voice 2

Do you recognize this song from a television program? The program ended in 2004. But it is still one of most the popular programs around the world. It is the 26th most popular English language program on earth. In India and Pakistan, it is still the third most popular English language show. It is the television program “Friends”.

Voice 1

This show is about the lives of six people: Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe. They are all friends who live in New York. They are always together. They drink coffee, eat meals, watch television, and do other things. Each character has a job. Each character has a family. But the important relationships in this show are the friendships. This is why the show is called “Friends”. 

Voice 2

Life can be like this program. When a person moves away from their family, their friends can become the most important relationships they have. Or this can happen because of a bad relationship with parent. Or maybe a person’s family has died. These situations can make people look for new relationships. Today’s Spotlight is on when friends become family. 

Voice 1

A program like Friends has all the things that people want in relationships. People want to feel  close to the people they love. They want to be able to talk about anything. They want to know  people for many years, sometimes even a lifetime. People want things to be easy. They want to be able to call a friend without planning and talk or eat a meal together. 

Voice 2

Deborah Tannen is a teacher at Georgetown University. In 2016 she was writing a book about friendship. She talked to many people. She was surprised at how many people said that their best friends were like family.

Voice 1

They shared stories and experiences with each other. They shared meals. One man said that  he did not really enjoy spending time with his friend, but that he had to, because the man was like family! Tannen understood that many of these people felt “close” to a person in some way a way that felt comfortable. Tannen thought about her own friend, Karl. She recognized how he had many of the things she wanted in a friend. She wrote: 

Voice 3

“If I am angry or sad about something, I call him. I trust his judgement, though I might not always follow his advice. And most of all, there is comfort. I feel completely comfortable in his  home. When I am around him, I can be completely myself. I do not have to worry.” 

Voice 2

Friends that make us feel at home are wonderful. But everyone knows that friendships are not  always easy. Even on a program like Friends, people fight with each other. Tannen writes,

Voice 4

“Just as with families, friends who are like family can bring happiness but also pain. The comfort of a close relationship can sometimes change and make you feel trapped. The closer the connection, the greater the power to hurt. Your friend may disappoint you or make you sad.”

Voice 1

The people who understand us are people who have experienced what we have experienced. This is why sometimes friends become like family. Imagine two people serving together in a war. Thomas Brennan served in the United States military. He fought in wars both in Iraq and Afghanistan. He told the New York Times that,

 Voice 5

“I feel pride in my country. I have seen things that made me sometimes regret my service. But I felt a calling to serve. In my case, it was because of the attacks of 9/11. I have learned that I will always belong to a brotherhood until I die. The military are my family.”

Voice 2

The strong feelings for the people you fight with exist in militaries all around the world. In fact, it can be difficult for people who have served in war to make new friends. They are joined to other soldiers by very difficult situations. When they return home, they do not have the same people around them. Their family does not understand what they experienced. They can feel lonely. People who serve in the military sometimes need help connecting to NEW people when they finish their military service.

Voice 1

It is not just war that connects people. Sneha Ashtikar moved from Mumbai, India to Paris, France. She only knew one person and was very lonely. In India, she talked to her mother every day. She missed this. It took time, but eventually her friends filled this need for her. Ashtikar told the website HelloGiggles,

Voice 6

“My friends are my family in Paris. Not only have they helped me through rough times, they have also shaped my personality in so many ways. My parents and friends back home are definitely supportive, but physical presence changes everything.”

Voice 2

Ashtikar’s friends helped her find a place to live. They help her with other problems. They celebrate holidays together. And when she misses India, they help cheer her up. She says,

Voice 7

“If you are with the right people, your friends can lift you up and give you courage to survive any problem. It may relate to living in a different country or just being a human. They will be proud of you when you earn an achievement. They will teach you to love yourself. They will get mad at you when you are wrong. They will prevent you from making bad choices. Your friends will fill the hole and be your family.”

Voice 1

But can your friends replace your family? It is difficult to know. Sometimes important relationships form between family members. Sometimes they happen between friends. We all need people in our lives who accept us for who we are. We all need people who will help us to grow and change. For many people, this is a family of friends.

Voice 2

What do you think? Do you have a friend who is so close that you think of them as family? Do you have a person in your family that you would call your best friend? Tell us about them. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at You can also comment on Facebook at

Voice 1

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at This program is called, ‘Forming A Family: Friends as Family.’ Look for our listening app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program.  Goodbye.


Do you have good friends that feel like family. What does it mean to have friends like this? Why do people feel close to their friends?

Join the discussion

  • I have three good friends in a group that feel like family who can bring happiness and safety. We contact via Zalo app every day. We always listen and share everything in real life. If someone in group has a trouble, we ready help to overcome . Sometimes, we spend one or two day for traveling without kids and family, it’s really funny time .

  • I have a wonderful friend she’s my bast friend and my family , when i have a rough day she stand by me and protect me from any evil in the world , she make me better person i love her , no one loved me as i am but her , with her i can be myself
    Love u maison

  • I have a good friends but it isn’t like my family.My friends are make my happy and good person.l love their and l wish them happiness and goodness.

  • They live we can’t call her a live if there not here some time i think what im do if their not here if we never meet before but Im having problem continue with him and i scared we not gone be like the old days

  • Yes, i have. It does mean that you can says to him any thing you need especially secrete thing and you feel comfortable with him.

  • I have two good friends, whon I consider as my brothers. They are always there when I need them. They put up with my craziness and state of mind. I have known them since I was little and we have made this friendship last for years.
    I know I count on them for whatever. They are the best and that is why I consider them family.

  • 1. If I have some friends who make me feel at home since they are since my childhood.
    2.For me it means a pride to have friends like them and a beautiful friendship and respect.
    3.because you have more trust in friends and feel more secure.

  • In this audio is the talk of two young people who welcome splotinght which is said to be a method of TV transmission in English, which is easier to understand.
    Talk about the song from a TV show which ended in 2004 but is still popular, this is the 26th most popular English show.
    Said program is about the lives of six people who, despite having a job, a family, are very good friends, and it is here where it makes us understand how important friends are in one’s life, so much so that they can become to become a fundamental part of our family, who listen to us, understand us, support us and are always there for us.
    So much so that in an investigation a teacher realized that most of the interviewees stated that their best friend is like their family, this is how we came to the conclusion that friendship is a fundamental pillar in daily life.

  • Pues si tengo pocos amigos ,mis amigos para mi significan fuerza ya que de parte de ellos he aprendido muchas cosas como por ejemplo me han eseñado a valorar y respetar lo que es una amistad a pesar de las locuras que se haga,las personas se sienten sercanas a sus amigos cuando los amigos son de verdad y los consideran como prioridad ,como parte de la familia ya que siempre estan hay para uno en las buenas y en las malas.

  • I think it is very important to always have a friend to trust. In my case, my best friend is my husband and confidant in whom I can trust since he listens to me and supports me in my ideas, goals and projects that I propose. He is the best friend I have. I can have I know he will never stop supporting me.
    Since I have other friends and friends but I don’t trust them enough to tell them about my life.

  • I have good and cute friends but I do not feel their like my family. I like the concept of friendship to be for the comfortable and to change the routine just.
    Maybe people love this feel because they want sense in safe.

  • Friends are important because they help us in crisis situations, even with money, it is easier to ask a friend for help than a close relative.I have two friends who are like family, although I don’t see them much when I talk to them again, we have the same confidence.time and each experience close to my friends has consolidated my relationship with them and I love them very much

  • Hi, I have two close friends but I don’t consider them like my family, of course, they’re more than standard friends, we shared sad and happy events.

  • My best friend is God. It is important to have a good friend in whom to trust and tell joys, achievements, profession, love, sadness. It is part of the human being to have excellent friends to enjoy and share beautiful moments of life. A friend who gives advice.

  • It is important to know how to differentiate and choose the type of people we want to surround us; that actually contribute to our life and do not subtract. Hence lies the importance of knowing what fellowship, brotherhood and friendship is.
    In this audio is Talk about the song from a TV show which ended in 2004 but is still popular,
    Said program is about the lives of six people who, despite having a job, a family, are very good friends, and it is here where it makes us understand how important friends are in one’s life, so much so that they can become to become a fundamental part of our family.

  • I do have very good friends since childhood they are like my family
    Having good friends means having a second family
    People feel close to their friends because they feel the need to have someone with whom to share unique moments and to make others feel that they are not alone that they have someone when they need help

  • I have some people that I can call friends, but also wonderful people who are part of my family, the term friend is a word that is not given to anyone, only to people who really show that they will be by your side in any circumstance. giving you support, advice and company, a good friend is vital support to move through life

  • yes I have , it means so many to me to have a friend like him , I don’t see him as a friend , I feel like he is from me family and I don’t want to the relationship to end ever .. even in paradise

  • l have one friend she is my best friends and help me when l have a bad day she stand by me, i wish to her happiness

  • Yes i have 2 friends i feel they are like my family! , even sometimes i feel they closer to me than family
    we feel Close to our friends maybe because we can tell them about anything, our secret and problems

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