I wander through forums, use to be a regular forum poster even a moderator, but one thing that still bothers me is the Dark Age notion that other people's, especially family's, opinions should dictate how a person behaves all the time. Now granted there are some social opinions that matter, like murder being wrong or violence without cause being wrong, but anything that does not directly effect other people is simply no one else's concern, period. How one dresses, for instance, is not your brother's business. So I started thinking more on the subject and this is what I came up with.
First, family is just a genetic link, you don't get to choose them anyway so really their opinion of you is less important than your own. That's all it is anyway, opinion. Who you date, how you dress, where you live, what you eat, what is right and wrong is all opinion. So your family should love you unconditionally, period, if they think less of a boy who wants to wear dresses they need to learn what love is. I have been through a lot in my life, and only half my family was there, the other half just judged. My response to the half that decided to judge me was I disowned them. Yep, half my family does not exist in my mind, I don't worry about them, I barely even think about them except in the odd case I encounter some other judgemental moron on the street.
It's actually pretty easy to disown family, really. People do it all the time for stupid reasons, why not do it for the right reasons now? All you do is STOP ACKNOWLEDGING THEM. Trust me, you can be happy with who you are, people don't have to live in misery anymore just because their family doesn't "approve" of their choices. Now here's the catch, everything, and I do mean everything, you do or any choice you make will offend someone. So worrying about what other people think is just stupid. Eat meat, half the world will think you are an animal abuser. Don't eat meat, the other half will think you're insane. Be gay, half the world will think you're a pervert. Be straight, the other half will think you're a breeder.
Now look at me, I'm a nonsexual, I hate sex. I don't think marriage should even exist, it's just legalized prostitution when you look at it really, you get paid to have a sexual servant. People will find that offensive, but I dimply don't care. Half my family thought I was insane because of it, funny huh, but it's true. Since I disowned them though, I'm happy. Even when I was living in a homeless shelter with nothing to my name, I was still happy, because I was happy with my own choices. Now I'm really happy with my life, or at least when clinical depression doesn't find some way to make me feel bad, but that's a different matter and I'm learning to combat it by reminding myself, I'm happier now than I have ever been.
Now friends, these are a different matter. People seem to fear being alone, so they try to please as many other people as they can just so they have friends. However, due to this false need friendship has lost all meaning, add in Failbook and such things and friendship has become nothing but a number. Those who have such an account, look at all the people who want to "friend" you on there, how many do you really know, in real life not just through messages? Can you be absolutely certain they are what they even say they are? I have one real friend, a few online friends, that's it. I like it that way. Even though I can't be certain of the online ones, we do have fun chatting and killing time when there is nothing to do in real life. My one real life friend, wouldn't care how I changed. We are friends because we get along.
The primary ingredient to a true friendship, just getting along. We disagree on a lot of things, our opinions do not match even half the time, but we enjoy each other's company and get along even when we disagree. The second most important ingredient to a true friend is being able to enjoy their real company (not online) in a situation where you can't get away from them for long periods of time. Why is this important? Because a friend is who you can turn to when you need a hug. Touchy feelly sounding but that's the real reason you need at least one friend. They don't have to stroke your ego and make you feel like you're perfect, they just need to be there when you are feeling bad.
Which leads to another important part of a friendship, honesty. A real friend tells you when your clothes are ugly, they don't always say you look great, even when you do. They are not suppose to think you are perfect, a real friend doesn't care if you are perfect in their eyes or not. So here's the thing, you will offend your family, that's unavoidable, and it's okay if you offend your friends. Really loving family will just accept you, and true friends will be there as long as you are. So stop worrying about offending people, live, you will find your lives far better for it. Think of all the time you waste thinking about if you would offend someone, that's a lot of wasted time. Think of all the missed opportunities you have had by avoiding things that would offend someone, it is often more than the opportunities taken with great success. The founding fathers of the US did not worry about offending anyone, if they had, the Brittish would still rule here. ;)