If you recognize these 10 signs, you probably grew up in a close-knit family

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu

How do you feel about that quote above? Did you raise an eyebrow and say, “Ugh, no. How I wish I could choose my family!”

Or did you nod and thank your lucky stars that you were born into the family you have? 

If it’s the latter, then it’s probably safe to say that you grew up in a close-knit family. 

I grew up in one, and although sometimes they do drive me crazy (and vice-versa), I would never exchange them for anything. 

As we all know, our childhood shapes our entire worldview, like it or not. And that’s going to show up in the way we feel, think, and behave as adults. 

Here are ten signs that you grew up in a close-knit family: 

1) You have a strong sense of self-esteem

Let’s begin with the sense of self. Our upbringing plays a huge role in the development of our self-esteem

With a close-knit family, that development is going to be positive because there’s lots of love, support, and healthy discipline to go around. 

The environment is decidedly nurturing, so each member feels valued and cherished. 

If that’s how your family was, then chances are you grew up feeling safe and stable. You had the support you needed to believe in yourself and to know your worth.  

2) You know how to communicate effectively

A family is made up of people who may share the same last name, but definitely have different personalities and communication styles. 

For instance, my sister and I are polar opposites. She’s a complete extrovert, while I’m 100% an introvert. And that’s just the first of a long list of differences. 

My parents are themselves polar opposites. Add to that my grandparents, our closest relatives (my aunts, uncles and their families), and you have a dinner table that’s full of contradictions and all sorts of personalities!

And yet, family gatherings are fun instead of potential minefields. Because we all manage to make ourselves heard, and we all manage to listen to each other respectfully

Which brings me to my next point…

3) You respect individuality

Perhaps the reason why you know how to communicate effectively and respectfully is because you were taught to respect individuality. 

What do I mean by this? 

Simply that your parents raised you to: first, be your own person, and second, to see people as their own person, too. 

To not hold them to an idea of “what they should be” but to just love them for who they are. 

So, your sibling might make different life choices that you wouldn’t make yourself, but that’s who they are, and you respect them just the same. 

4) You take care of your relationships

Another sign that you come from a close-knit family is that you’re a nurturing person yourself. Maybe not the cook-comfort food-for-you kind your mom or grandma was, but you take care of your relationships in your own way. 

This is something that comes naturally for me (and for anyone who came from a close-knit family). I suppose it’s because I was cared for very well, and I tend to extend that care as well to my own family and circle of friends. 

In close-knit families, this is one of the very first lessons you’ll learn – relationships are what matter most in life. Not money, not career. 

It’s love. Time. How you treat others. The impact you make in the world. 

5) You have strong family traditions

pic1838 1 If you recognize these 10 signs, you probably grew up in a close-knit family

Do you have your own ongoing family traditions or rituals? That’s another sign that you came from a close-knit family. Traditions serve to bind families together and help them build a solid foundation.

Growing up, putting up the Christmas tree was always a huge deal for us. And we always held Secret Santa on Christmas Eve. (Obviously, we love Christmas!) 

In the summers, we’d spend weekends at the beach, biting into juicy watermelons and getting burnt till our skin peeled. 

Even today, now that we have our own families, we’re still carrying on these traditions. My grandparents are gone, and so are a few cousins, but the rest of us who are still here still get together for these annual events. 

Plus, we’ve created new traditions in our respective families, too. 

For instance, ever since our kids were small, we’ve spent New Year’s Eve talking about the blessings of the past year with a round of hot chocolate. 

Our hope is that they’ll continue this tradition when they have their own families someday. Or make their own!

6) You have an ongoing group chat

And it’s a noisy one that’s mostly full of good vibes! I have one with my family and it never fails to lift my spirits when I’m down. 

Each day, there’s sure to be at least one spiritual/inspiring message (from my mom), or a funny meme (from the rest of the family). 

It’s a place where we share both the big and small stuff, and where we get updated on one another’s goings-on, even if we live in different parts of the globe. 

If you have a similar group chat, then yeah, you’ve got a great relationship with your family!  

7) Everyone has an opinion about your life choices

That said, while your group chat is generally positive, you can expect your family members to have an opinion about practically everything in your life. 

Maybe they like or don’t like your new partner. Maybe they think that you’re better off looking for a new job. 

Maybe some of them think your new hair makes you look like Halle Berry (love you, Mom!), while others think it makes you look like Justin Bieber in the 90s (thanks a lot, sis)…

That’s not surprising; remember what I said about how families are made up of all sorts of personalities? 

But no matter how much they annoy you…

8) You tend to consider them when making decisions

You might be the independent type but if you come from a close-knit family, they still tend to factor into your decisions. 

I don’t mean to say that every decision you make needs to be in their favor, or that they pressure you into doing that. This consideration can show up in other ways, such as: 

  • You seek their advice or input
  • You consider how a decision might affect family time and dynamics
  • Your decisions are influenced by your cultural and family values

9) Coming home fills you with excitement

Some people leave home and never look back. But not you. You’re the complete opposite of that. 

In fact, I’m willing to bet that when you left home to be on your own, it was full of tears and hugs and never-ending goodbyes. 

So, coming home for the holidays or vacations or even just on a random weekend fills you with anticipation. 


Because you’ve got a lot of good times in your memory bank, and you can’t wait to make new memories. 

10) You always have a cheering squad

Finally, the best thing about coming from a close-knit family is that you’ve got your own personal squad. 

They’re the folks who yelled your name and clapped so hard for you at all your graduations. They’re the ones who proudly tell people how good you are at your job or how you’re such a good mom or dad. 

And most importantly, they’re the ones you lean on when tough times come. Because no matter how well-adjusted you are, you’ll still get your share of problems. 

But it just feels so much easier to bear because you’ve got your crazy, funny family just waiting to pile all their love on you. 

Final thoughts

If you see these signs in your life, consider yourself lucky. Not everyone has the good fortune to grow up in such a loving environment and to always have somebody rooting for them. 

And don’t forget to show your family some appreciation after you close this tab. They might wonder what’s gotten you all sappy, and maybe you’ll even get a little good-natured ribbing, but trust me, they’re gonna love it! 

Roselle Umlas

Roselle Umlas

I am a freelance writer with a lifelong interest in helping people become more reflective and self-aware so that they can communicate better and enjoy meaningful relationships.

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