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Tribe: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
It’s human nature to search for belonging. From our first day of preschool and well into adulthood, we gravitate toward those who reflect the kind of qualities we admire. To say we are looking for “our tribe” means that we are looking for people who share commonalities or possess the traits we aspire to adapt. Whether it’s a family, community, or group of fellow practitioners, our tribe is important because it reflects our values while simultaneously satisfying our need for companionship.
That being said, finding a tribe is hard. That’s why there are so many movies where high school students end up eating lunch alone. And as we bloom into adulthood and lose the setting of forced social interaction, it can be even more difficult to find authentic connections.
Doing so requires effort, authenticity, and confidence. Use these little nuggets of advice to get you started, and move forward knowing your tribe is waiting for you.
1. Do some self-reflection.
The first step to knowing what kind of relationships you want to build is to learn about yourself. Take a look and list some of the things that you feel are missing from your life, or that you currently have and really enjoy. Are you drawn to your spiritual practice? Do you love going on hikes, but feel as though none of your friends ever want to go with you? By developing an awareness as to what you are looking for, you’ll be able to search for relationships that will bring you satisfaction.
2. Try new things.
Sometimes simply thinking about something isn’t enough to know whether or not you’ll actually enjoy it. Take a risk and sign up for a comedy class, massage workshop, or surfing lesson. In doing so, you’ll meet others who share at least one similar interest. You’ll also learn what it is you like and don’t like, and be able to narrow down the list of things and types of people you want to make space for.
3. Attend meetups.
And on that note, a great way to get started is to look into meetups and clubs. There are hundreds of clubs dedicated to wine tasting, books, creative writing, wine and creative writing, beer and books, yoga and creative writing, hiking, hiking and yoga, camping, road trips, painting, pottery, volleyball, salsa dancing, finding concerts, finding festivals, potlucks, fencing, meditation, and so many more. You’re bound to find something worth your time.
4. Ditch judgement.
If we’re really being honest with ourselves, sometimes we are unable to connect with others because we’re too busy judging them. We dislike qualities in others that we dislike in ourselves because we’re constantly looking at the world through our own perspective. When approaching a group of fellow humans, whether old friends or new, look for what it is you have in common and what you enjoy about them. If it’s a toxic relationship, that’s one thing, but if you’re simply allowing a predetermined attitude to dictate your decision-making, consider giving that mindset the ol’ heave-ho.
5. Know when to commit.
If you have a good feeling about something, make the effort to keep it an active part of your life. For instance, if you’ve found a club that you really enjoy, try to attend on a regular basis. If you’re trying a new sport or fitness regime, don’t give up the first time you fall off the machine. Failure and fear are necessary aspects of any endeavor. By noticing the moments you feel uncomfortable and choosing to overcome them, you’ll begin to develop strong connections to your fellow members. (Of course, a key phrase in this is “knowing when to commit”, because if something is truly not clicking and you’ve given it your all, go find your tribe somewhere else.)
6. Call out to your tribe.
If you know the type of people you want in your life, make it known! Use social media to advertise what you’re looking for, whether that be hiking yogis or Himalayan food enthusiasts. Start your own meetup or plan a road trip for folks who love to wander the highways. It’s likely there are dozens of people who are longing for a similar group of friends. You may be surprised at the amount of feedback you receive when you approach your truth with authenticity.
7. Be the first to reach out.
OK, you’ve joined the clubs, attended the events, and said “hello” to that friendly looking stranger on the other side of the bookstore; it’s time to make some plans. When looking for your tribe, you’ll be required to kick shyness to the curb. When you meet those lucky individuals who light up your life, channel your inner bravery and ask to connect. People love to hear that they are respected or admired! Set a date or plan an event and watch your tribe expand.
8. Love yourself.
This is vital. In loving yourself, you become more confident and positive. Not only will you feel more comfortable approaching strangers, but you’ll also attract the types of people you want in your life. We love being around compassionate, curious, and confident people because it takes the pressure off of having to please everyone. As you begin the journey in increasing your tribe, know that you are loved and that anyone would be lucky to know you.
As I continue to build my own tribe, I’ve realized that it is a process. As your life continues to grow, you’ll learn more about yourself and bring more beautiful souls into your circle. Have the bravery to reach out and relish in your honest connections.
Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet at amandakohr.com and through Instagram.