My last post talked about finding your tribe and what that tribe might look like. However, while it can get you excited about belonging to a tribe, it’s less helpful in the practicalities. After all, it’s all well and good for me to say, “Find your tribe!” But it’s an altogether different endeavor to actually find your tribe.
Unfortunately, sometimes even all the hard work you put into finding the right tribe for you might not pan out. In those cases, even though the work is a ton, I would consider forming my own tribe instead of joining a ready made one. (In fact, I did form a few just for myself. A lot of work but worth it.)
Here then, are some of my suggestions on finding and forming a tribe. As always, YMMV. Also? I really don’t mean to sound as if I’m giving bad dating advice but I end up sounding like that anyway. Sorrynotsorry.
1) Be Open.
First, you have to be open to the idea of meeting new people and all its incumbent awkwardness. Thankfully, not only can you meet new people in person, you can also meet them online (eg: Facebook groups, forums, fan sites, etc.) where at least you can take all the time you need to craft the perfect witty statement.
You never know with whom you may strike a lifelong friendship.
2) Be Promiscuous.
Join groups. Join lots of groups. In person and online.
Short of hating a person or group on sight, (and it does happen), hang out with people one on one or as a small group even if you’re not sold on them. If it’s an online community, comment and contribute to the conversation.
Chemistry is a finnicky thing and it’s a numbers game. Just like dating, the more people/groups you meet, the more chances you have of making a genuine connection.
I realize this will be easier for the extroverts, but hopefully the internet can be a great equalizer and maybe even limit actual in-person interaction for the introverts out there.
3) Be Inclusive.
Invite people to do stuff with you. Even if you think people will say, “No.” Invite often and repeatedly.
If you are invited to something, ask if you can invite other people who you think might also enjoy it. Then invite them.
One of the key reasons The Boba Ramen Crew came into existence is because Irish Twins started inviting all of us to random stuff and since we had nothing better to do, we joined her. Then because it was fun, we started to invite each other whenever we were going to do something, too.
It doesn’t matter if it’s something as mundane as going to Costco. Invite people to come along. The worst that can happen is that people say “No” to something you were already planning on doing anyway.
4) Be Bold.
It can be very difficult to meet people, online or otherwise. Know what you want and be bold about going after it.
You have limited time and energy. Take your desires seriously and see what happens. To quote the Bible, “You do not get because you do not ask.”
Or, if we want to be salesy about it, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always, ‘No.'”
5) Be Generous.
Be generous with your time, advice, resources, and affections. Be generous even in letting people go when they no longer fit in the tribe.
We are always evolving as people; sometimes we find lifelong tribes and sometimes, we find temporary tribes. They are all beautiful and necessary to our journey in life. (Wow. This post is getting a little too hippie woo woo for my liking. I apologize.)
6) Be Authentic.
It is exhausting to pretend to be someone you’re not. The whole point of finding a tribe is to be with people who will accept you for who you are.
7) Be Committed.
I know. Didn’t I just tell you to be promiscuous and inclusive? Do that.
However, relationships take time. Belonging somewhere takes time. Community takes time. So commit to a group for about six months. Go to every meeting or activity (or as many as possible).
It is only after giving it a good go that you will have a better idea whether these folks are your people or not.
8) Be Selective.
Make up my mind, already! Sheesh.
But eventually, when you have invested enough time for friendships to blossom or die on the vine, you will need to make an evaluation on whether or not you want to continue investing your time and effort in this manner.
Odds are, if you are having an awesome time and loving your new friendships, you won’t even remember to stop and evaluate. You will be too busy basking in your newfound tribe.
However, if it still hasn’t quite gelled yet, that’s when you have to decide whether you want to invest more time or cut your losses. Honestly, it just depends on your gut feelings. If you think you haven’t connected yet but eventually you might, stick if out. If not, then just move on. There are so many other people out there to meet. No need to stay with a group that you feel constantly on the outside of.
Friendships and acquaintances ebb and flow. It’s ok to thank people for the role they have played in your life however temporarily and let them go.
Think of it as Kondo-ing your relationships. Do they bring you joy? Yes? Keep them. No? Move on. Maybe? Give it a little more time.
Alright. Hopefully this post wasn’t as hokey as it potentially could be and doesn’t come off as a smarmy dating piece. I really hate those types of articles and would hate to commit the same errors.
Have a great Wednesday and Happy Hunting!