Florence Ng
May 13, 2016 8:19 am
Getty / HeroImages

I have friends who are insanely close to their cousins. They take trips with them, show up to their birthday gatherings, and have routine brunches. I, on the other hand, haven’t seen some of my cousins in over 10 years.

It’s not because we hate each other, had an argument, or just don’t get along. We just simply weren’t meant to be close, and that’s okay.

I come from a mixed family. My dad is Chinese and my mom is Spanish and Native American. At family gatherings, reunions, and parties growing up, I never fit in with my cousins. I was always the different one, both in appearance and in personality. To my Asian cousins, I was the mixed girl who wasn’t necessarily book-smart but loved writing and artsy-fartsy stuff. To my Hispanic cousins, I was the little Asian girl with a bowl-cut who never talked (I was painfully shy).

As I got older, I tried to form connections with my cousins a number of times. I wrote them letters via snail mail. When that didn’t work, I found them on Facebook and messaged them, only to be met with some very less-than-enthusiastic replies. Our exchanges were polite, but nothing ever really became of them. Our conversations were the generic ones that started out with “Oh, hey, how are you,” and once you both divulged that you were alive and well, there wasn’t much else left to say.

My inability to connect with my cousins always frustrated me. After all, many of my friends went wine tasting with their cousins, had girls’ nights, and even my boyfriend’s cousins planned their holidays around all of them meeting up. I don’t remember actually ever hanging out with my cousins, engaging in more than a five minute polite exchange with them, or sharing anything personal with them about myself.

It took me a while, but as I enter my third decade of life, I’ve realized that just because someone is your blood, it doesn’t mean you have to be close to them. I spent many years assuming that because we were related, we should have bonded long ago. I blamed myself for being so different, awkward, and “un-fun” – I assumed that was why we didn’t form any #squadgoal bonds. The truth is, if we weren’t blood relatives, we probably wouldn’t have been friends in the first place. Friendly, sure, but not someone you’d call to come over and hang out, or be eager to spend the day with. As the universe would have it, our likes, interests, hobbies, and personalities were just not in line to be CBFFs (cousin best friends forever), and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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