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Family, Friends, and Personal Communities: Changing Models-in-the-Mind


Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex (;


Models-in-the-minds about the proper and right way to be a true friend or to “do” family behavior may not necessarily fit lived experience, especially in cases where relationships become fused and distinctions between family and friend become blurred. We suggest the idea of a personal community—the microsocial world of significant others for any given individual—as a practical schema for capturing the set of relationships in which people are actually embedded.