You Won’t Find Your Tribe

You won’t find your tribe.

There isn’t a ready-made group of people out there waiting for you.

You have to grow a tribe yourself.

One person at a time.

We often confuse communities with tribes.

There are many communities centered around a shared common interest, cultural heritage, neighborhood, or a moral or political viewpoint.

But, simply connecting with the people who group around shared interests or perspectives doesn’t constitute a tribal relationship.

That’s being part of a community, not a tribe.

Tribes are where the messy, beautiful humanity exists. 

Your tribe are the people who are interested in you and your well being—outside of any community ideals or belief structures. And hopefully, beyond any judgement of the way you’re living your life, even when it’s a wreck.

Though, they may also be the ones to check you when you’re out of alignment with who you want to be (thankfully).

Tribes tend to be smaller and much more personal, and while we often meet people in diverse communities that eventually become part of our tribe, we can float between many different communities. Our tribe stays more consistent. Having something in common with someone is a good starting point, but is only the seed for a relationship.

For that person to become part of your tribe you need to germinate the seed with time and proximity.

“Time and proximity” means be in their presence (and I don’t mean digitally), and don’t rush. Slow down.

Get on a plane to meet them, have them over for dinner, go on a trip together, whatever feels good for both people.

And be present; put your phone away.

It’s also important to remember that relationships can be situational, like annual plants.

They are there for a season, fed by time and proximity. And then the season changes and the relationship goes away. 

You can grow a more resilient, perennial tribe starting with the seed of a shared something. Something that starts in a season and sticks around.

Germinate and feed your closest personal connections with time and proximity, and then… make relationships more durable and meaningful with the risky investment of vulnerability and authenticity.

Without this risk, the relationship remains one of community and shared time and proximity, but it will not provide you with that perennial stability and the sensation of being supported by a dynamic and resilient safety net.

So if you feel like you have not “found” your tribe yet, it’s not because it’s “out there” but elusive, it’s because you have not purposefully grown it.

You won’t find your tribe.

You’ve got to grow it.

One person at a time.


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  • TC

    Amen! Love the simplicity of this statement. Takes our own personal investment.

  • Jean

    As I sit outdoors on this cooler than usual evening, knowing my mood needs a walk, but not, just not “feeling it” to go walking, I saw your email. This is SO true. Even my church wants me to tweet, follow, and whatever…I ask you, what would Jesus, or Buddha, or whomever do? All I’m looking for is a neighbor to walk out of their house and say hey, wanna walk? I did really well for the first month and a half of the year, but I’m not feeling it now. So it gets worse, more depressed, more hopeless. And that breeds more hopeless in my home. So, everybody, reach out. Somebody near you needs just a little bit of you to feel a whole lot better.

  • May

    This was actually a really helpful post as I’m just now trying to be really more vulnerable and reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. And I’m finding that this vulnerability is definitely leading to deeper friendships but especially with those that are willing to be just as vulnerable. It’s also really helpful because I have always felt lost with how to create a tribe. Thank you for the encouragement. Here’s to continuing to be intentional and working hard to create those relationships.

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