How You Slowly Drift Apart From Your Cousins Over Time
The first friend that a person usually has (other than a sibling) is a cousin. When you’re small (let’s say kindergarten) it’s quite difficult to have a social life in the sense that you’re almost entirely dependent on adults to have one.
There is no denying that it is incredibly easy to make friends with others as a youngster. You’ll play catch or tag with anyone so long as they’re willing to play, and one can forge a friendship over telling another person that they like their shirt. But those interactions are confined mostly to school at a young age. You’re not free to do stuff after school - you go home and eat dinner with your mom and dad and tell them about what you learned during the day.
Sure, “play dates” can be arranged by the parental units, but those come few and far between in the early stages of child’s life. There’s a lot of planning involved in a play date, whereas with cousins you just kind of get dumped with them at family gatherings and are expected to be nice to one another. I think cousin friendships are doubly important if you’re an only child as things can get very lonely around the house. We all have cousins - some are oddballs that you would rather not engage with and some are legitimately enjoyable people to be around.
The comradery between two cousins can be as strong or stronger than that of a friend you aren’t related to, but the relationship is forged out of proximity more than anything else.
Say you’re at an extended family function - Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, or a grandparents birthday. If you’re a child in that situation you’re not just going to sit around and stare at the wall all day, you’re going to want to horse around with whoever is there.
I don’t know about you, but I spent a week during my summers as a child vacationing at rental cottages in Northern Michigan with many members of my extended family. Some of my closest friends during my youth were cousins. I’d dick around with three or four of them the entire time and we forged fairly strong friendships burning frogs with lighters, beating the shit out of the youngest person there, and playing yard games that almost always turned into heated screaming matches.
But those friendships fall by the wayside right around middle or high school. You start spending less and less time with your cousins because priorities change, and then before you know it you’re off at college and the only time you ever see those people you once called your good friends is at Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, a wedding, or a funeral.
It’s always easy to get along with those cousins whatever the circumstance may be, but it is different. It changes. You start questioning things - would I be friends with this person had they not been related to me? Am I considered successful in the eyes of my cousin and his/her parents? Would it be weird if I asked them to step outside, find a frog or insect, and burn it to death with a BIC lighter for old times sake?
I rarely see any of my cousins anymore as most are married and having kids, too busy with their own lives to attend the extended family get togethers for Christmas or Thanksgiving. And it’s not even sad to me it’s just a dynamic that I find interesting. Then again people lose touch with one another all of the time so it makes sense that cousins are not an exception to the rule.