Hattie Elliot on How Family Relationships Change With Age

In Chapter 7 of 19 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, female entrepreneur Hattie Grace Elliot answers "How Are Your Family Relationships Changing as You Get Older?"  Elliot shares how as you get older, you have a choice on how much you want your family involved in your life.  She notes family relationships are rarely normal and Elliot talks about not only accepting different types of family but also viewing close friendships as family.  Hattie Grace Elliot is the founder and CEO of The Grace List, a social networking company that creates destination events and experiences to forge lasting personal and professional connections across its young professional members. Elliot graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she studied economics, philosophy, and politics.


Erik Michielsen: How are your family relationships changing as you get older?

Hattie Elliot: Well, I’ve always been really close with my family. When you’re younger, you know, you’re stuck at home and you kind of are born into whatever situation you’re born into, you don’t have much of a choice. But as you get older, you can really choose to a capacity, you really want your family involved in your life, and I really, really value my family. And I also feel like your friends, especially as you get older in a place like New York, also become kind of your surrogate family as well. I’m fortunate that I come—my mom’s from a big wonderful Midwestern family. My dad’s from a super dysfunctional small New York family. So it’s kind of a comedy there is the two. 

But I’m very close to my family, to both sides and to my parents. And I continue to stay close, but what I also really love is, through the years, my close friends, whether I’ve known them from kindergarten or even the last two years, have really also become my family. And part of, you know, my family here in the city, but also part of my extended family. Because I really think family is what you make of it. We don’t—I feel very fortunate for the family I was born in to but not everyone has that, but what you do have as an adult is the ability to create and craft a life for yourself and the family for yourself that makes you happy, that gives you pleasure, that’s your own. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be biological. It’s what you make of it. And so I think that’s been really wonderful how my friends—my close friends have, you know, become part of that, have become part of my family.