Is Blood Thicker Than Water? Quotes About Family Bonds

A constant part of the nature vs. nurture debate, family is one of the most important elements of an individual’s life. The issue lies, however, in what constitutes a family. Is it blood or something stronger that bonds people together into the cohesive and self-reliant social nuclei which are families?

Today, we are going to use quotes about family strength to look into the topic. What makes a group of people a family? Was Rick Riordan right when he said that “you can’t give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it,” or does Jay McInerney have a point when he says that “The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families?”

Blood Ties

“Michael Bluth: What have we always said is the most important thing?
George Michael Bluth: Breakfast
Michael Bluth: Family
George Michael Bluth: Oh, right. Family. I thought you meant of the things you eat.

Common sense would dictate that the people responsible for your existence should be your closest and most trusted family members. Family is family, and that’s it. But is that always so?

Unfortunately, people will still be people, so the importance of family differs from instance to instance. Some families can be as tight as skinny jeans, while others you couldn’t bring together with an army of ranchers and a cattle prod. But what makes that difference?

Thicker Than Water

Awkward sibling hug

Biological family is extremely important to most animals and humans. For one, they are vital to one’s survival for the first few months or years of their life. They are also the main determinants of an individual’s personality. According to behaviorism, we learn our most basic instincts and reactions by studying the behavior of ourselves and others in each particular situation.

And until humans develop enough to think abstractly and to learn from others’ experience, it’s up to their family to keep them safe and learning. This creates a near-unbreakable, lifelong bond, as people who live together for so long inevitably get attached to one another. At least, this happens in most non-dysfunctional families.

Moreover, the bonds formed in a functional family usually last a lifetime. Few are those who can look away when a family member is in need. And if they do, they are either generally unpleasant individuals, or have a very good reason for it.


All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Sadly, just like there are toxic people, there are also toxic families. There are those individuals who, out of one form of weakness or another, abuse their loved ones. This can be verbal abuse, physical abuse, or emotional abuse. And each form can be as bad as the others.

People who stem from these toxic families usually want nothing more to do with their relatives once they escape their personal hell. Others, less fortunate, tend to think of themselves as responsible for their lot, and are stuck in a cycle of abuse and blame.

In these cases, the best thing to do about such negative influences is to excise them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the poison these people spew can take over one’s life entirely. Feelings of guilt, inadequacy, anguish, and even hatred can be a frequent part of the life of someone coming from an abusive family. So, while blood is thicker than water, keep in mind that so is manure.

Experience Bonding

The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families.” ― Jay McInerney

It’s true – the years we spend at home, our formative years, are crucial in the development of our values. But we also get a huge chunk of our personality by our own interpretation of experiences. And in the past few decades, television has also become a major determining personality factor.

The Glue of Life

Being social creatures and all that, humans tend to hang out with individuals with similar interests. The sociology of it is too complicated to get into today but we tend to associate ourselves with those from which we can gain benefits. And a social relation is doomed to fail if both parts aren’t satisfied with the shared resources.

It’s not even a conscious affair. This is how we have evolved. In order to survive, we generally hang out with two types of people. Generally, they are either those who are similar enough to us to understand us effortlessly or those who complement our lackings. This is why real groups of friends are so diverse.

Moreover, the more you go through life with someone, the more attached you will get to them. As Jim Butcher put it, “when everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.”

Make a Choice

I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.” ― Walt Whitman

Once in awhile, you might be faced with an impossible choice. Choosing between two friends, two relatives, or your family and a lover is incredibly unfair. However, due to the closed-mindedness of others, some of us might find themselves in that situation. My usual answer is to pick the person not giving you an ultimatum.

After all, you are important as well. If someone issues you an ultimatum which they know will put you in a very uncomfortable position, then they might not have your best interest at heart. Moreover, there’s nothing to guarantee that they won’t do so again.

It’s very difficult to choose between the family you were given and the one you got close to over the years. What matters is to go with your heart. Subconsciously, we all know which relationships are good for us and which aren’t. And while things aren’t always black and white, there’s nothing a little introspection can’t solve.

Ultimately, whether they’re blood or not, those who care about are your family. Genetics have nothing on the bonds of love and care. Simply wanting someone’s well being can make you more part of their family than giving birth to them. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on quotes about family strength. For more similar ones, come back at any time.

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