Finding your tribe: an introvert’s guide to making friends
Have I ever mentioned that I’m an introvert? If I could stay home every night and catch up on the DVR with my husband I would. Maybe that makes me lazy, maybe it just makes me an introvert. Not really sure where you draw the line there. But not too long ago I came to the conclusion that although I would definitely consider myself an introvert because I gain energy from quiet, alone time, I still feel like my purpose is to have a reason to gather together with women so that no one feels alone.
I came to this conclusion when I was looking back at my calendar and saw within one week I hosted my weekly viewing party for The Bachelor, a small group for church (yes this church girl watches the bachelor), a gathering for my work, and 3 Mary Kay parties where I facilitated other women getting together with their friends. How did it take me 33 years to figure out I like to do this?
When I first started my blog I wrote a post about saving money on your kids’ clothes as they grow and I mentioned having your tribe of mom friends share hand me downs. I had someone ask, “what if you don’t have a strong tribe like that?” The question caught me off guard, and then made me a little sad. Shouldn’t we all have that? How are we supposed to make it through the challenges of motherhood if we don’t have that?
The only response I could come up with was “Well, if you don’t have one, you should create one!” Now if making friends comes naturally to you, this shouldn’t be a problem, but if that’s not the case, you’re probably already looking for the exit.
So let’s start simple and create an easy approach to figuring out this life long friend thing.
Start with Why
If you haven’t watched Simon Sinek’s “start with why” video that’s floating around somewhere in youtube you should. While he talks about it in terms of business, it’s also important to know why you even need a tribe. Maybe you have no local family to help out if you’re in a bind, so having a tribe of people you trust to help if needed is crucial. Maybe you work full time and need someone to call when you’re in a bind to pick up your kids. Maybe you’re home all day with your kids and they’re driving you nuts and you just need people who get it in your life. While I can appreciate anyone that channels their inner Beyonce and thinks they’re an independent woman, we all need these relationships. Even Beyonce has a tribe for support. If Beyonce needs a tribe, so do you.
Next decide the who
Who your tribe is going to be is probably the most important piece. Just because your coworkers are an obvious choice because you see them everyday, doesn’t mean they should be your crew. Proximity does not mean it’s a good fit.
Who are people that are going the same direction as you in life? You don’t want people that will bring you down because that’s where they are, but people that will lift you up because that’s where they’re going too. Do they value the same things you do? Can you both help each other? Don’t forget to be thinking of how you can help them as well instead of just looking for someone to help you out.
Lastly decide how
Now you know who your peeps are…. but now what? As simple as it sounds, be an inviter. Even if it’s not natural to you, host something. Have a watch party, a play group, a moms night out, something, anything! And when you get invited to something, go! Relationships happen in person. If these are your people, you need more than just instagram and facebook to truly get to know them.
Netflix is cool and all, but it’s not going to be there for you when you need preschool recommendations, need someone to drink wine with, or need to vent with when the stresses of motherhood have pushed you over the edge for the day. So step out of your comfort zone and find the people you’re supposed to do life with.