Is there a word to describe someone who loves his friends more than his family?

For example, my brother is a sort of person who seems to be only interested in his friends (not me nor the rest of the family). I'm looking for any words and/or idioms to describe my brother.

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    Extrafamilial could work, as in interest or focus outside the family. – Bill Lefurgy May 27 '12 at 12:58

OP's brother is exhibiting extrafamilial orientation - normal behaviour for young adults of both sexes as they approach the age at which they will leave the parental "nest".

  • O.P.'s age is not on profile; how do we know he and his brother are "young adults"? Moreover, that phrase seems more of a technical term in behavioral sciences than something I'd say at the Thanksgiving table (per your link: However, the husband is not as tied to the home by the child as is his wife, and his socialization history and occupational concerns encourage an extrafamilial orientation) which is fine, if that's what the OP wants, but: "Why isn't Bob here? He's missed Thanksgiving two years in a row!" "Oh, you know Bob and his extrafamilial orientation!" seems overly technical to me. – J.R. May 27 '12 at 23:10
  • @J.R.: We don't have a single commonplace word for "not [no longer] family-oriented" - depending on how Bob's mommy feels about the situation, it's either "Oh Bob's out with them fine folks up on the hill", or "He out wit dem lowlifes agin". – FumbleFingers May 27 '12 at 23:34
  • I like both of those suggestions more than extrafamilial orientation :^) – J.R. May 28 '12 at 2:00

When people refer to someone as being social (at least in the U.S.), they rarely mean that the person is spending time with his or her family. "Oh, he's so social." means that he is in the habit of spending time away from home (and family) and with friends. I think if it's noticeable enough to be commented on, it's probably not a compliment.

(I would say, however, this seems to be normal behavior for teenagers. [I have two.])


I think it might be hard to find a word that relates exclusively to the family, outside of rather technical terms. With that in mind, I'd maybe try applying more general purpose words, and put them into context with the rest of the sentence. For example, you could use words like insular or detached.

Insular is an adjective that means: remote, detached, or aloof; isolated or separated.
Wiktionary defines insular as: Having an inward-looking, standoffish, or withdrawn manner.

Detached is defined as: not feeling involved with someone or something in a close or emotional way.

Again, these are not words that completely convey what you want, not as a single word. When insular is used to describe a person, it usually refers to someone who is a loner in general, not just toward family members. Detached can mean someone is withdrawn, and might imply a vacant sullenness. However, one might still use these words to apply to a family member who would prefer to stay with friends, and avoid the rest of the clan:

My brother is very insular toward his family.
My brother stays rather detached from the family.

  • -1 insular is a "non-specific" attribute - isolated from everything, not from close family in particular. – FumbleFingers May 27 '12 at 22:50
  • @FumbleFingers: ...Hence my clarification that the word could only be used with a qualifying phrase – with emphasis in italics, even! – J.R. May 27 '12 at 22:52
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    I think in this context, once you accept you have to explicitly name things, detached or withdrawn would be more common. Even insulated or isolated are plausible - at least you can actually adopt such stances, not having been like that before. But an island is an island - it's in its nature to be so, not just some new behaviour it exhibits. – FumbleFingers May 27 '12 at 23:16
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    I like detached - that's an improvement on my answer for sure. Would you mind if I modified my answer to include detached? – J.R. May 27 '12 at 23:21
  • You don't need my approval. I just don't think it's normal to speak of someone being insular from something - but if you change it to detached from his family, I'll cancel my downvote. – FumbleFingers May 28 '12 at 2:52

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