Expanding the Tribe as an Adult

We all have friends and people we consider part of our tribe.  Most we have met in our younger years, a few we have met through work and other people.  However how do you really expand your tribe as an adult, especially if you have moved to a new area or state?  We are now in a day and age where we are connected by social media, but disconnected with our faces in our phones and no real eye contact.

Having a viable tribe is important and seems to get lost in the shuffle of life.  You need to have people you can vent to, travel with, have game nights, get new insights from, learn from, and in some cases help you find a new partner. All of which can become a tall order as we get older.  On one of the networking communities I belong to with Facebook had someone post looking for friends in the general area.  She called it “searching for her Golden Girls”.  The number of people who commented and were excited about creating a meeting group, or just raised their hand as a me too was astounding.

Our tribe not only celebrates our wins, but mourn our losses and HOPEFULLY calls us on our crazy and stupid moments.  Yes, I said our crazy and stupid moments.  We all have them and sometimes is take someone else we trust and believe in to show us how we are being.  It’s important. Our tribe can also show us we are lost when they begin to stay away.  Many of us have had dramatic times and when our tribe sees us refusing the life raft or refusing to listen, they begin to disappear.  If you notice your tribe staying away, would it not be a great idea to find out why?

peopleSo back to the beginning, expanding the tribe as an adult.  No matter how busy you are, or how many hats you are wearing, or what you do for a living, you are around people all the time.  First, and most important step, PUT THE PHONE DOWN!  Life is happening and you are missing it.  Parents have a great many openings to expand their tribe in amazing way.  Parents helping parents through the instruction free lifetime commitment of parenthood. When you see another parent looking tired or struggling with an unruly child, a simple word of encouragement or understanding can go a long way.  Also guess what, it begins a conversation that can expand your tribe.  Helping out at your child’s school every once in a while does the same thing. Added bonus, you get to see how the other children are.  It will make you understand your child more and the great teachers are appreciative, and you can get a feel for the bad teachers.

Not a parent yet, even easier.  Take a crazy class you would never take if you needed it for college credit.  There are classes anywhere from mason jar arts, to improv (great confidence builder), to surfing and anything else you can imagine.  A small exercise group at the local gym or YMCA.  I personally take classes twice (soon to be 3 times) and have met some amazing people.  I started taking Women and Weights with a fantastic trainer Elissa  (Haverford YMCA) and it’s a blast.  I took it originally to get familiar with the equipment and new ideas for working out, and have taken every session since because we have so much fun.  We have even decided to keep up sessions over breaks.  Elissa has even offered to set up routines for us when she can’t come in on the extra days.  The class is small and I think that’s because people do not understand it’s a way to olearn how to use the equipment in a safe a guided way.  Not a bulking thing.  I added Kettlebells (really drove home how I need to quit smoking) with Nicole who kicks my behind. I look like a tomato after 30-45minutes. She is really sweet but I am a fat girl, still trying to quit smoking, who has been doing limited cardio for years.  Nicole is a powerhouse and definitely makes you understand your cardio deficits, but also pleasantly pushes you forward.

In a brand new area?  No children or spouse, same as above but add sight-seeing tours.  Everyone feels stupid when being a tourist and you are bound to find an opening to converse with someone.  Cooking classes to learn the flavors of the area.  A hiking or book group in the area.  There are many easy volunteer things you find these days with Volunteer MatchThe United Way, or even an app like Meetup.

Once you have your tribe in place, work on it. As with any relationship it takes care and time.  Make sure you are there for them as much as they are there for you.  Understand their schedules as you expect them to understand yours.  Most importantly, communicate. Life gets busy and everyone is going to have periods that they cannot always hang out and talk.  However you need to be careful that those times do not extend too long.

Do you have tips for extending your tribe?  Let me know.  I am always looking to know great people.  The world is amazing and we all see it in different ways.  The more people you get you know, especially when they are from other areas of the state, city, country, or world… the more your curiosity grows and the more you understand the world.  I have been luck enough to gain friends from all over the world who have taught me so many things I would not otherwise have experiences.  Differences are what help us to grown, similarities are what allows us to connect, exploration is the spice of life.  Be a Curious Shiny Happy Person and expand your tribe.

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