I am not a social creature in general. I could easily spend an insane amount of time alone and at home, reading a book and keeping minimal contact with everyone via email, Facebook, texting and Yahoo chat. There is a reason I have always taken so well to online friendships.... they don't require much work.
Electronic communication keeps you from vomiting stupid onto the laps of others for the most part. You can think and rethink, edit, delete and restructure before you hit send. For someone like me, who quite regularly says the wrong thing at the wrong time, it's perfect. The Internet gave awkward nerds like me something they never really had before, a social life. On top of all that, I'm lazy and have a low tolerance for people in general. I fail quite regularly at being a friend and I know this.
I don't have many deep friendships. (Shocking!) Yet, the friends I do have, I love with all my heart and they know this. Here in St. Louis I have a small, core group of friends. There are people that float on the peripherals, but for the most part there are six people here in this city that I love them and their families like my own blood.
Since being back they have supported me in so many different ways, from letting my interrupt valuable family time when I needed to just be around people, to making me laugh when laughing was the last thing I thought I could do. I've been the 5th wheel and at times the 7th wheel and I'm welcomed with opened arms each time. I have trapped them in a room with me while I've been totally shit faced drunk and crying. They've said the right words at the right times and have wanted nothing for me but happiness. They inquire about my children, they inquire about my job, they inquire about my love life, and if there is no love life to inquire about, they encourage me to at least go get laid. We may not spend every weekend together, but when we do spend time together, it's always fun, it's always like we've talked everyday since our last get together.
My family is important to me, sure. But, I think as humans, we were made to leave the comfort of our familial trappings to make our own way in this big, bad world. You make your friends, not to replace your family, but to supplement that feeling of family, without the heavy baggage that sometimes comes with family.