Family is an important part of life in Hawaii. From aunties and uncles, grandmas and grandpas, cousins and beyond, family is what grounds us and helps us grow. But what if the family that you were born into isn’t around anymore or not there for you? Many turn to a chosen family, a close-knit group of friends to depend on for love and support and to share life’s important moments.
Kauai psychologist Laura Anderson says finding a chosen family can be challenging. She offers these tips:
Find an activity where you can meet people. This could be a canoe club or other sports team, halau hula, or knitting group. You can enjoy the activity and get a sense of belonging with people who share a common interest and purpose.
Spend time with co-workers outside work. Go for walks or meet up for coffee outside the professional demands and stresses of work.
Dale (left) and David (right) London enjoying the company of their chosen family.
Pick your favorite spots. Whether you frequent the same beach, dog park, or coffee shop, look for familiar people you can start a conversation with.
Have realistic expectations. It can take years to develop a close, comfortable relationship with someone. Have patience and invest in the time and effort.
“Social support and chosen families with people who share common interests in healthy ways is very important to your overall well-being,” says Dr. Anderson.
Photos: Rae Huo