Unless you grew up in the fictional world of a Steve Martin film, chances are your relationship with your family is more complicated than you'd like to admit.
The dynamics within the family unit can be hard to wrap your head around, and while we love them dearly (flaws and all), sometimes it's necessary to take a step back from all the drama.
Well, research from Michigan State University has revealed that close friends may actually bring us more health and happiness than family members.
Researchers conducted a study in which over 300,000 participants were asked how much they value their friendships. Results showed that those who put a higher value on relationships outside the family unit were happier and healthier overall. However, this only works if you actually get on with your mates.
Another study looked at almost 7,500 people ages over 50 and examined the correlation between their friendships and the state of their health and found that those with stressful friendships were at a higher risk of developing diseases like cancer and diabetes.
The author of the study, William Chopik told The Guardian: "With friends you are more likely to do activities – they provide an outlet. You can say things to friends and they are less judgmental. There is a distance there that provides a level of honesty."
The study also concluded that people with strong social bonds of any kind, increased their chances of living longer by an incredible 50 percent.
So, next time your friends tell you they're too busy to hang out, remind them that they're actually gaining precious hours by simply enjoying your company.