My tribes. What would I do without them?! I have been fortunate to have been in many different groups of friends and support networks my entire life. The average friendship lasts seven years and I’ve learned that its okay to leave friends who don’t serve a better you. It’s also okay to repair old relationships. And those friends who have known you your entire life?! Precious.
Before I begin this blog post I do want to make one confession: I am a self-proclaimed “fringer”. I’ve never felt that I have belonged in one group. Maybe it’s my insecurities of not feeling accepted. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to peg myself in a hole. Maybe it’s because I like to mix things up and love meeting new people. But I joke that I can hang with anyone – on the fringes of any group. I have a few people that I’m extremely close to and don’t know what I would do without. My tribes are groups that are important to me, while being a litle more flexible. Some of my closest friends happen to be in all three of the tribes that I will talk about. Those are my keepers!!
When we moved to MN from CO a little over four years ago I was seven months pregnant with our first child. And although my husband was originally from here he hadn’t spoken to anyone for about 15 years, and the only people we knew were my in-laws. I remember sitting at home for weeks on end being the loneliest I’ve ever been. My husband actually moved out two weeks after me to finish banking school and I vividly remember our dog Cody being the only person I would talk to all day. How pathetic. (No wonder I gained 70 pounds when I was pregnant! All I did was watch tv and eat ice cream!)
Not long after moving here I was reading something about how hard it is – if not almost impossible – to meet great friends after the age of 30. Whomp, whomp – I was 31 at the time. And I get it – a lot of people already have a core group of friends. I didn’t know how to make new friends since all my old ones I had met through people I previously knew or worked with them. After about a year living in MN I figured out how to meet people: through moms’ groups, running groups, church groups, facebook, and work. I have found that my tribes I’m in help me with different areas of my life and have made living in the bitter cold for seven months a year bearable. And everyone should have tribes like this.
It’s actually harder than you might think to categorize tribes into three groups, but that’s the theme of this blog so I’m stuck with it! Here are the three tribes that I am lucky to have and would encourage each of you to find.
- The tribe that just gets you. You know, those friends that don’t judge you for wearing the same pair of jeans three days in a row. Those friends who are at your house the second shit hits the fan. Those friends who give you a pass for being a jerk because they know you are acting out on your hurt feelings – not because that’s who you are. This is the group that can fluctuate the most throughout your life – especially if your friends aren’t transitioning to different stages when you are. I had a friend get married pretty quickly after high school (or at least that’s what I remember because I was still in college.) When she started having kids I had no idea what she was going through and couldn’t relate at all. I was a single girl living in Denver and she was a married woman with little kids in small town America. I wouldn’t have been a good person for her tribe. A friend? Yes. Happy for her? Yes. Understood what she was going through? Not at all! I would now that I have children of my own, but then – not even close.
- The motivational and positive tribe. These are the friends that can push you out of your comfort zone – the ones that cheer for you and see the best in you. The ones that have your back and you have theirs and want the best for them. You can find people to fit in this tribe from anywhere. I have found these friends through a few different areas: my running group, old co-workers, and my current co-workers. Not everyone from each of these groups has been a positive influence, but for the most part I can look through my friends and tell that most of the motivational people come from those subgroups. I have always found my most motivational friends have been the people that I have worked with. Maybe a life in sales does that to you. I mean, who wants to be the only one succeeding?! My co-workers have been there for me through a lot of difficult times in my life. I’ve had mentors that have changed the trajectory of my life. I’ve had individuals on my team make me a better person. If you don’t work with people who bring out the best in you, find a new job!! Seriously – you spend waaayy too much time at work to not be growing from the experience.
- Spiritual tribe. This one can take a long time to find. This tribe is the one you will spend most of your life with. The one that really is the most important tribe. I don’t care what religion someone is – I’m talking about spirituality. The University of Minnesota defines spirituality as “a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life.” Most of the time our spiritual tribe will come from people we go to church with, but not always. I’m in two different Christian mom groups and feel like they weave into this tribe. I feel like this group is so important because they will be around forever! Our friends will change as our kids get older and do different activities. We may not stay at the same job until we retire. Our spiritual life is always there, and we should have a tribe that contributes to it.
I know that there are other tribes out there and if you feel like I’m missing an important one to you, please comment! And you can always connect with me on LinkedIn, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.