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Family Oriented: The Meaning & What It Means to Be This Person

So, someone tells you they are family oriented, meaning what exactly? They love their family? Let’s settle this once and for all.

family oriented meaning

The general family oriented meaning can be confusing. If your parents aren’t together, you don’t have weekly dinners or talk on the phone every day, are you not family oriented? Do you need to share the same interests, go to annual reunions, or take matching-outfit photos on holidays?

Is all of this the antithesis of what the general public believes family oriented means?

The actual definition is about being adaptable to family, but we’ll use “family oriented” to discuss people close to their families for this feature. From a distance, this may seem black and white. But if you look closer, you’ll see that there’s usually a gray area and maybe even a bit of color.

[Read: How to get along with your partner’s family and create a lifelong bond with them]

Family oriented, meaning what?

Generally, family oriented means a person who places their family’s interests above or equal to their own interests. They value family and see themselves as a part of a unit rather than an individual. And their decisions in life are based on this idea.

But then again, what does family oriented even mean? Honestly, it is different for everyone. Some people use that term when they really mean they are religious or family-friendly. Maybe they mean they don’t curse or dress provocatively.

Others mean that they are close with their family members or put a lot of stake in what their family thinks of them. All of this sounds like a positive descriptor, right? Well, that isn’t always the case.

The meaning of family oriented is a whole lot of things to a lot of different people. And sometimes it isn’t the best thing for you. [Read: A checklist for moving out of your parents’ house]

Can being family oriented be bad?

Usually, if someone says they are family oriented, it sounds like a good thing. Aww, they are close with their family. But, that is not always the case.

Being family-oriented can mean this person prioritizes their family, but it could also mean they make their family THE priority. This could mean they will break up with you if their family disapproves. It could mean they have no limits or boundaries with their family.

Family oriented can be a positive spin on codependence. Sure, you want someone in your life who understands the value and importance of family, but should that come first? Yes and no. It really depends on a lot of factors. [Read: How to spot the signs of codependency in someone early in a relationship]

Family oriented people and the possibilities of who they really are

There are baseless assumptions that could turn the tide for people who don’t share the same ideals or background. But family-oriented can mean a lot of things. These are all possibilities that you may not consider when you first hear those two words.

1. Family oriented does not have a cut and dry definition

Most people assume that people who are close to their families are the only family oriented ones. The definition of family oriented is being aimed at, adapted to, suitable for families, or family-friendly. It does not mean that one has to have a deep and meaningful relationship with their family. It means that these people are open to the idea of family, with no definite context.

Be sure when someone tells you this, they describe what that means. It could mean they don’t like short skirts or rated-R movies rather than that they have a close relationship with their family!

2. Family oriented people are still subject to the same problems as those who are not

Although research suggests that children who did not grow up with a complete family are at a higher risk for developing negative attitudes and behavior, family-oriented people can end up having the same predisposition.

When raised in a close-knit family, it does not negate that their upbringing may be less than satisfactory. Add to that the unpredictable circumstances in their social activities and other environmental factors, and you have a whole slew of other factors that can determine someone’s personality.

Although it is nice to have family close by and there for you, it doesn’t mean you have amazing values or are exempt from problems just because you have them around. [Read: Dating expectations: Type A vs. Type B personalities]

3. The advantages of someone who family oriented are based on how their family is

When family oriented means being close with your family, that can be great. Maybe your future kids will have a grandparent around and tons of cousins.

But, just because someone is close with their family does not mean that they are automatically the best candidate for dating. There’s a possibility that they grew up with a family with instilled values and attitudes that don’t align with yours. If that’s the case, then there may be more significant deal-breakers on the horizon.

Plus, it could mean their family will be popping in all the time. You’ve heard all the issues with in-laws. There are movies about this. Be sure that family oriented means what you need it to, before getting too involved. [Read: How to deal with toxic family members]

4. Their relationship traits are based on how their environment has shaped them as well

Not all family oriented people are gentlemen and demure ladies. You have to consider the fact that their parents didn’t raise them that way. If their family turned out to be a bit liberal or filled with aggressive individuals, you really can’t expect a sweet and complacent partner. Family values are important, but could mean different things.

Are they blind to their family’s faults? Do they hold them accountable? Do they have a limit for what they will take from their family?

5. Family oriented people are more likely to be independent

Most assume that family oriented people rely a lot on their families. But a study on the independence on 20-somethings begs to differ. According to the results, family-oriented children were actually more independent, even if they continued to keep close contact with their parents.

But, this can also go the other way. People who are family oriented can depend too much on their families too. They could rely on their parents for finances, advice, and comfort in an intense or unhealthy way. [Read: How to be independent even if you’re in a relationship]

And what about non-family oriented people? How are they different?

Not everyone is family oriented. There are tons of reasons for this, but none of them are bad. Sure, you might consider yourself family oriented, but what does that mean? Does it mean your family means a lot to you? Or does it mean you are codependent?

People who aren’t family oriented aren’t broken or unfixable. They are just like everyone else, trying to survive and be happy.

1. Divorced parents lead to low trust in their children

This makes it difficult for non-family oriented children to have healthy romantic relationships when they start dating. They fear rejection, which manifests in negative attitudes like reluctance to commit, misinterpreting their partners’ motives, and resorting to brash assumptions.

Everyone has issues from their childhood or past that leak into their future, but this could be a problem if it isn’t something they have thought about and worked through. You shouldn’t just write off someone with divorced parents, but it is something to consider. [Read: How to get over trust issues in your relationship]

2. Hesitancy towards marriage to have a different approach as their parents did

Most people who aren’t close to their families will avoid the same situation in their future relationships. This is mostly attributed to the rejection they felt from their parents. To them, being family oriented could be meaning something negative.

They will try their best to avoid getting into the same circumstances themselves, but people often end up avoiding relationships altogether without even realizing why.

This could mean they don’t want to follow the traditional relationship format. It could also mean they don’t want children. It is great that they don’t want to make the same mistakes as their parents, but it could hold them back from taking risks and bettering themselves.[Read: 12 subtle signs of a loveless, unhappy marriage]

3. Both family oriented and non-family oriented people can have either healthy or dysfunctional families

A person brought up in a family oriented environment does not promise a healthy and thriving future relationship. The same goes for children who grew up with a distant relationship with their family. Basically, no matter what type of family you grew up in, you’re never assured of a perfect picture for your future relationship.

There is no guidebook for family life. Growing up this way doesn’t mean you’ll end up this way. There are just so many factors involved in who you become and why.

4. They seek intimacy outside of their families

Non-family oriented people may have lacked intimacy within their familial relationships, which means they are more likely to look for it elsewhere subconsciously. This is where a new relationship can prove to be very helpful.

Most of the time, they’re actually looking for a relationship that can make them feel more than what they did from their own families. Watch out for someone who is trying to manifest a relationship just to fill a hole.

But, often, they want to make up for what is lacking by putting in a great effort to make a romantic relationship work. [Read: The 15 rules to be a good partner in a relationship and why they matter]

5. They are more likely to seek help or develop coping strategies to remold themselves into better people

Because of the general belief that non-family oriented people are more prone to behavioral problems and conflicting emotions, they are more likely to identify the cause of their negative behaviors and resolve them with the help of trained professionals.

Social workers, teachers, and guidance counselors are also alerted to issues within family units in their areas. This gives them the power to advise families and ask for assistance in providing a better environment for children through counseling and social assimilation. Because those with a more difficult upbringing often look to improve their future instead of following their parents’ steps, they may have a stronger urge to be proactive. Mental health and family counseling might be a priority rather than a choice.

So, what’s the best choice?

It is all up to you. It depends on what you can handle. Don’t make your judgment based on a person’s family background or even if they say they are family oriented. Find out what that means to them and to you. [Read: 19 ways to deal if you hate your family]

Make your decision based on who they are now. Even if they come from a good family, you always need to look deeper. They might hide their pain, and you could be ignoring it because you simply assumed they were brought up in a safe and loving environment.

For non-family-oriented people, you can always ask them how they felt while growing up. If they refuse to share anything, then your problem lies in your communication, not their upbringing. Who knows? Maybe your partner got the help they needed to cope with their family issues.

The meaning of family oriented is uncertain, so don’t let those two words skew you away from something potentially amazing.

[Read: Do you embody the most important 15 good qualities of a good person?]

Family oriented or not, we all have a right to fall in love with whomever we choose. You can’t stereotype a person or judge them just because they did or didn’t grow up in a loving family home. What matters is how they are as a person now.

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