It was in August of 2016, over 7 months ago, that I last wrote about finding a tribe. It feels like it was only a week ago or maybe a month but that is how time goes these days, fast and furious and recklessly moving forward.
I still strongly believe, maybe even more so now than seven months ago, the following key things about a tribe:
- It’s PEOPLE. Not just one person. I don’t think your tribe (well my tribe anyway) is complete with one person. I think multiple people bring multiple gifts and qualities that make the tribe a richer whole.
- Tribes are often formed over time. I think it’s quite rare to step into an already formed group of people who become your friends. I think that is especially rare as I get older. Tribes take time and effort to form. The process is organic and slow.
- Tribes change. People move. People move on. People die. People change. The people who make up your tribe will change. I think it is so very important to remember that (especially as we can get set in our ways) being open to new people entering our tribe is a beautiful gift we can give ourselves and the new people who may “join.”
- Membership should always be open. This piggybacks a bit on the previous point but I think it is important enough to merit its own mention. If you are part of a tribe, if you have a tribe, if you are a leader of a tribe, please don’t close the membership.
So do I have a tribe? Nope. Not completed yet anyway, but bigger than it was before. Am I still working on it? Absolutely! To reference #3 above, tribes change, and mine is still evolving.
In an effort to evolve my tribe here is a recap of the last half-year. Again, holy cow, how have seven months gone by???
- I have made an effort to talk to people and smile at people and say hello. Even people I do not know. Crazy, right? Yup. I’m that person that smiles and says “hi” if we happen to make eye contact when we are standing in line waiting for coffee. Are you the person who says “hi” back or are you the person who buries your face so deep in your smart phone I would think you were charging the phone with your nose? No judgement, I promise. I have been both those people, but I am trying to do less nose-charging and more “hellos”.
- I have especially tried to connect with people even when I feel nervous or awkward because I am not quite sure what to say or do, like if I am at a social event for my kid and there are a bunch of other parents there too. I assume they are feeling nervous or awkward, NOT that they don’t want to talk with me. And I jump right in. As an added bonus I have gotten slightly better at making small talk with random people and I have discovered a few new coffee shops and stores I would never have known about by complimenting people’s shoes or shirts or mugs. Now I just have to figure out how to translate that into a friendship! Baby steps people, baby steps.
- I have joined groups that met in person and met virtually online. I have participated and really attempted to connect with the people in these groups. However, it turns out the groups were not quite the right fit for me (like I was the color orange and everyone else with yellow). Everyone I met was very nice and very polite, but I never really connected with anyone. Finally, after six months I was able to say “not my place” and walk away. Which was also kind of scary, because I thought I SHOULD fit and that is why I joined, but then I didn’t. I know though, there are other groups out there and I will keep hunting for that group that is the right fit.
- I have been happier knowing I am trying even though it has been hard work and waaaaay out of my comfort zone. Or maybe I am happier because of that nightly foot massage, glass of wine, hot bubble bath, home-cooked meal, no dishes to do… hahahaha, fantasy world people, pure fantasy!
So, if I were my own best friend I would remind myself that good things often take time, do not give up, persevere and keep making small talk. Eventually those connections are formed and they grow. Brick by brick is how a castle is built, why not a tribe too?
Are you trying new adventures and expanding the bounds of your world? Are you already in a tribe and inviting new members into the fold?