FAMILY OF ORIGIN – The “Your People” Framework

Our Family of Origin is an important part of your personal Your People Framework because your Family of Origin sets the foundation for so many other parts of social wellness – where you live, the formal communities you are a part of, the people you are allowed to be around, the values and beliefs that shape how you interact with others. 

When I initially was trying to define the various types of friends, I was struggling because very few models for types of friends include family, formal communities, and past relationships. Yet, those all greatly impact our overall social wellness, the friendships we seek out, and how we invest our resources (time, money, and attention). 

PODCAST EPISODE! Take control of your social wellness. Listen here.

The Your People Framework

“Your People” is my catch-all phrase for the people you surround yourself with—your own personal community.

Family of origin. Family of Choice. Acquaintances. Childhood friends. College friends. Old friends. New friends. Co-workers. Gym buddies. Book club friends. Friends from the internet. Industry friends. Parents you’ve befriended at the park. Friends of friends. 

Yes, they are all part of your community. 

All of these people are connected to you, even if their connection is the simplest of threads. They may not know each other, but many likely at least know of each other through stories you’ve told or memories you’ve mentioned shared. You are the center of an interconnected web of humans.

A diagram of the framework with the types of people in our lives. including family of origin, formal community, acquaintance, familiar friend, defined friend, present friendd, historic friend and past friendships.

This diagram shows your holistic picture of your community and friendships and provides new terminology for your friendships. Nothing is set in stone. You can move people at any time.


Screenshot of the "10 Tips for Better Friendshps" Guide and screenshots of three of the pages inside the book


Reinvigorate your friendships and learn how to create stronger ones by incorporating my Top 10 Tips into your life. BONUS! An exclusive look at my upcoming book. Want to bring more purpose and value to the relationships that matter to you? Download the guide now. 

Our Relationships are Constantly Changing

Your people are built up of various relationships, all-encompassing and incredibly niche, that cumulatively create our support system. 

PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to my story… and why I believe so firmly that building yourself a support system is the ultimate self care. Listen here.

Furthermore, those relationships are constantly changing. Our community is uniquely ours, and it is unique to our current stage of life. People are multidimensional, and therefore one person might even fill multiple places on this framework, roles in our life, and all of that could be different one year from now. 

We are just riding the waves that are our relationships.


Your Family of Origin consists of the people in the household you grew up in—your parents, your siblings, and possibly some extended family. You might also put any extended family in this category, even if they didn’t live in the same household that you grew up in – grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles. 

(Your partner and your kids are part of your Family of Choice, since you did choose them.)

Your Family of Origin are all people you share that story-based root of “we are family” with, which could include both blood-related and legally-related relatives.

Family of Origin has strong story roots. “We are family” comes with hundreds, possibly even thousands, of expectations.

Some of the societal messages we hear about “we are family” include: 

  • “Family will always love us.”
  • “You have to hug your family members.” 
  • “Family will always be there for you.”
  • “You should spend the holidays with your family.” 
  • “Family acts in your best interest.” 

and each person + family will decide which expectations they choose to hold.

For many people, the expectations of “we are family” align with family members’ actions. For others, family members’ actions don’t align with their expectations of “we are family.” 

If your Family of Origin is amazing, that’s wonderful! I ask that you remember that Family of Origin wouldn’t make some people’s Family of Choice list. For example, my Family of Origin situation wasn’t great. You can hear more about my story here. Be open to the fact that everyone’s experience is different; for some, their Family of Choice is all the family they have.

How Family of Origin Roots Develop

PODCAST EPISODE! Listen to the Three Types of Roots here.

Shared Experience Roots

Most, but not all, Family of Origin members have extensive shared experiences roots. Family of Origin members have traditions, holidays, text groups, email chains, shared photo streams, and more. You also have had time to determine shared interests with your Family of Origin members.

Emotional Intimacy Roots 

You likely grew up living in the same household, and there are tons of emotional intimacy roots. Your Family of Origin has seen you go through all sorts of growth phases, childhood learning moments, successes, milestones, and more. 

Story Roots 

Your Family of Origin likely contains robust story roots, whether or not you choose them, or they are here because you were told you should have them.

As we continue to learn more about the Your People Framework you will see how your Family of Origin has impacted your relationships throughout your life. 

Want deeper friendships?

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Read More:

Want to read more about roots? Head here. 

Head to this post that talks about the Types of Friends Overview. 

Check back for the rest of the Your People Framework!  

Hi! I'm Alex.

I am just a person who has spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to understand some of the relationships that I hold most dear. I invite you to join in on the conversation below in the comments section below.

Ask questions, leave comments, share critiques or give advice. All are welcome.

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Hi. I'm Alex.

I'm just a gal who cares deeply about community + friendship. Why? Well, I didn't have a healthy support system growing up.

So I built one... out of friends. I believe a healthy support system is the ultimate self-care.

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