In Search of a Tribe?

“I try to talk to people, but they reject me.”

The young man looked like a regular guy to me. What I think he wanted was a tribe.

The world is a big place and much easier to navigate with a support system.But if you are emotionally distressed, you’ll probably attract others who are the same. Like does attract like.  If you are struggling with something you don’t like about yourself, do something to change it, or you’ll attract a dysfunctional tribe. Probably not what you were expecting when you set out to find your people.

Only you are responsible for your happiness. Friends, partners, and pets are not. they might be able to make you feel good temporarily, but they can’t change how you think about yourself or how you behave. You alone are responsible.

In my younger days, I was perceived as unapproachable. I didn’t smile easily and always seemed to have my guard up. I wasn’t even conscious of it, and spent a few years very lonely. I kept to myself and didn’t actively engage with many people outside my workplace. Eventually, I realized that only I could change my solitude, and I made the conscious decision to force myself to smile more and speak to people out in the world even though I hated small talk.

I’ve never needed a great number of friends, but a handful of trustworthy people who were on the same page and available to offer company and support. I’m available for my friends, even if the only recent contact has been an occasional greeting card. I joined a couple professional associations, but those are often populated by acquaintances instead of genuine friends. Lately, I’ve found other tribes to join online. People who share my unconventional interests.

Volunteering for causes or events that intrigue you is a great way to meet new people. Joining organizations specific to your profession and extracurricular interests.

Joining organizations specific to your profession and extracurricular interests can net a group where you might find a couple close companions.

Moderated Social media groups, chat rooms, or bulletin boards online can be a great way to commune with people of like-mind.

But the trick to having a tribe is being a contributing member who brings something to the table. If you don’t feel you have anything to offer, examine your strengths. Everyone has something of value to add.

Your tribe doesn’t have to be large or even nearby to give you the social connection you might be craving. Even if you’re a loner, at some point, you might long to talk with someone with whom you share an interest. Doesn’t mean you have to become a joiner, just open to sharing a piece of yourself or a point of view.

Relationships are a two-way street. Be willing to give as well as receive. Most importantly, show up.


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