I love girls weekend's. Great time to unwind, decompress and self indulge. I recently went away with one of my tribes which turned out to be blissful whilst at the same time challenging. A mixture of feelings all wrapped into one short weekend away. I often sit back and think, how lucky am I to have the professional and personal tribes I am apart of. Some friendships are 10 years old, others are days old. The synapse of "knowing" when you have met someone that is either going to be a lesson or help you get through a lesson. I pride myself in having long standing friendships, when I was younger I worked hard at them. I tried to stay current with what was happening in their lives and love instigating quality time. I loved the insights and sparks of inspiration.
The kindred spirits and general "worth" I attached to their involvement in my life. When involving yourself so much in your tribe's stories there can be a huge sense of loss when members grow in different directions. Either through location, career, life path or growth rate. Loss in a friendship can be as heartbreaking as loss of a partner or parent. When reflecting on your tribes KPI's (key performance indicators) what is most important to you? Is it the length of the friendship, is it the quality, the intensity or the mutual interest? I have shifted my thinking from duration and length of friendship to cultivating the continuous "perfect moment". I now acknowledge that the perfect moment is perfect whether it be for one interaction or the span of a decade. That "perfect moment" is "enough" no matter the duration but rather the quality.
A psychologist friend was recounting a story of a husband and wife couple. On the one hand she was telling the wife to fight for her marriage while she was telling the husband to leave. The psychologist left the consultation perplexed... "Is the marriage more important than the growth of the individuals". I am not a psychologist and I don't have a professional opinion but it did get me thinking on interactions we have with our tribes.
Finding your tribe
I have found parts of my tribe in the most unlikely places. Bus stops, work acquaintances, ex boyfriend's ex girlfriends, estranged housemates and nightclub bathrooms and even diplomats houses. Really, there is no knowing when you meet your tribe. I liken it to a soul mate experience. There is just something that makes you inherently vulnerable about meeting them, that compels you to drop your boundaries and engage. You feel raw, naked and seen. It is terrifying and magical all at the same time.
Staying in contact
Some friends you can see once a year and that is enough, some you want to speak to all the time. There is no formula, you need to come to a happy place with how often the interaction needs to be. If you feel like talking to them, pick up the phone, send the text, make a plan to see them. Likewise also be accepting that when they can't see you that is ok. Your inner happiness should not be based on the outer interaction of people. You should be at peace with your "youness"
First and foremost, YOU are your tribe
I recently went to lunch with one of my tribe and said something unknowingly ugly about myself. She stopped me dead in my tracks and said: "If you treated me the way you treat yourself we would not be friends".
I got an immediate lump in my throat. WTF. I sat down long and hard and thought... I am going to be with myself for a lifetime. I need to treat "me" the best way I know how to because no one else is going to be here, only me. Do I like me? And what steps could I take to liking me even more? "How do you fall in love with yourself" Ecckkk. Even writing it is weird and hard. If we want to attract tribes that bring out the best versions of us, you need to cultivate them as such.
Knowing your place
I adore this part of finding your tribe, helping people feel comfortable and safe. Whether it be backing them up in a boardroom, rolling around dressed in a tutu blowing bubbles with their two year old, planning the future or plotting our next adventure, nothing makes me more excited than excited humans around me. People shine when you allow them to be the best versions of themselves.
Attachment and Letting Go
Stop attaching your good scale to someone else's good scale. This is how you manifest resentment and attachment. You need to do what is good for you but you also need to allow the other person doing what is good for them, to do just that. Those two "goods" don't always make everything "great". You need to be patient with yourself, your tribe and the outcome.
When tribes are walking towards different life goals (career, parenthood or life consequences), we need to walk parallel or we will be walking in different directions. More importantly we need to be okay with the fact that our good together was "good enough" for that leg of your journey. A close friend of mine became a mother about two years ago. I used to see her twice a week, spoke to her all the time, heck we even started a business together. Now I am lucky if I even see her twice a year. The funny thing is I don't love or miss her less, I wish her rainbows and everything her heart desires. She recently sent me an article on what motherhood was like, the closing line in the article was. "Please wait for me" and I love her for that.
Lastly, love your tribe fiercely. They are finding themselves, they are figuring it out, not all tribe models are going to work in their favour or in yours. Your role as a tribe is to be supportive, love them when they battle to love themselves. Tell them you love them, be the voice that offers encouragement and helps them find their magic and genius. Some of your darkest moments can be made brighter because someone was there, to listen, to hold the space and trust that you would meet them at the end.
These six actions can cement in finding the most loving, forward thinking and uplifting tribe you could ask for. Your friends are the family you get to pick and some might stay for a reason, a season or a lifetime but each has the capacity to shape you. By the sheer existent of your tribe it feels completely self indulgent, almost cultivated.