Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Not My Tribe


I'm in my early thirties now, so I'm pretty much an adult.

(I think.)

I may regularly fail at adulting (e.g. procrastinating on my tax return while opting for popcorn and a Real Housewives marathon on the couch instead or - who am I kidding - the new Minions movie, really), but I'm an adult.

One of the many observations and lessons I've learned as an adult is that my time is becoming increasingly precious and, as a result, I'm kind of reluctant (really reluctant) to spend that time with people who ... aren't in my tribe.

When I say "tribe", I don't necessarily mean friends. Or family. Or my partner. They're all in my tribe. That's a given. I chose them, and they chose me (well, except for family - you know what they say about family. Luckily, mine are in my tribe).

What I mean by "tribe" is a collection of people (who I may or may not have met yet) who have the same core values as me. Occasionally, these people have common interests too, and that's great. But at the end of the day, we just click.

I tend to think that it's pretty easy and straightforward to be in my tribe. There's just one rule: don't be a dickhead. Then again, some people may meet me and think that I'm not in their tribe because I'm a dickhead. That's okay too. We'll go our separate ways and that'll be that.

Case in point: Rebecca and I recently attended a workshop where we sat across from a couple of #meangirls (and yes, #meangirls constitutes one word and a hashtag preceding it). They spent the evening loudly bitching about their mutual friends, giving Rebecca an icy glare [pause] fake laugh [pause] when she made a friendly, inclusive joke before one loudly proclaimed that she "could never live in America because she can't stand American accents," to which I replied in my deepest, nasal drawl possible, "EW, mah GAWD." (By the way, of course it's fine to express your dislike of American accents - it's your opinion and, to be honest, ME TOO. Sometimes. I tend to think that my Northwest accent is quite nice!)

See? Not my tribe. I also recently sat down to dinner at a friend's house that was very much akin to the "smug married couples" scene from Bridget Jones' Diary. You know the one. Anyway, it was very much a case of, "And what do you do?" (John wasn't available to be my wingman, unfortunately) before I realized, halfway through being interrupted for the umpteenth time by someone's husband who thought that the sentence I had started really wasn't worthy of completion, that, 'Hey, these people aren't my tribe. I really don't get along with them - but I'll try.'

And that's okay. I'll never have to see them again. I can grin and bear it for the duration of this dinner party or workshop or wedding reception or event.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, we move through our lives in little bubbles, going from point A to point B, every day. We interact with people we have to interact with at work, at the store, at the restaurant - and then we hang out with our tribes after work. On the weekends. In our "spare time".  This is especially true of London. Aside from the odd jerk on the tube who insists on using your head as a rest for his newspaper/book (this actually happened to me), you forget how many jerks there are in the world. And how lucky we are to not have friends like them.

Whenever I meet someone who isn't in my tribe, I recognize this. It reminds me of how gosh-darn-lucky I am to have the friends I do. It makes me grateful for those little moments of interaction with strangers (like the lady who sat to my right at the said workshop above, who was funny and nice, and with whom I'm now Twitter friendz) who are in my tribe. I clock them, I smile in recognition, and I move on - happy in the knowledge that they exist.

Who's in your tribe? What's it like?
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62 comments

  1. YAS. this is such a weird but necessary *thing* to address these days. it also makes it better going through those weird/crappy/rude times when you know you have good peeps in your tribe to vent to and all smirk at it together!

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    1. You're definitely in my tribe, gal! *high five emoji*

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  2. I totally agree with everything you've said here. As I get older I become less and less tolerant of people not in my "tribe" and also recognise that people can still be in my tribe even if we're different ages and from different backgrounds, it's so about having the same core values rather than being "the same". x

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    1. So glad that you "got" this post, Lily! Thank you for reading. And yes, that is TOTALLY what I meant - it's not about people who necessarily think like or act like or like the same things as me, but people who have these ... core beliefs. Beliefs like, not cutting in line or interrupting (unless you're super, super excited about what the other person is saying) x

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  3. YES. YES. TRIPLE YES. I feel the same way. You're so good at putting these feelings into words! x

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    1. THANK YOU, Charlotte! So, so glad that you understand me (hey, could we be IN THE SAME TRIBE? I think yes.)! x

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    2. I hope we get the opportunity to meet IRL someday! Hopefully before you hop across the pond! Please, please, please let me know if you are ever in town! x

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  4. Gah! I hate meangirls but you're right as you get older to really know who you need and who you don't need in your life!

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    1. Right?? Why do they exist?! It's a weird thing to only realize it as we get older but I suppose that when we're young, we're willing to overlook and put up with certain things more easily in order to get on, or fit in, or just to make friends.

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  5. I love this :) and I completely agree. When I was younger it was more a case of hanging around with whoever was close by; friendships of convenience, I suppose. Nowadays that's not the case, and I've noticed even more strongly over the past couple of years how my friendships have changed from the mid-twenties ones of "people to hang out with" to the *gulp* late-twenties-early-thirties ones of "people whose values I share".

    I wonder if it has something to do with how we make friends, as well? I used to work a 9-to-5 office job, and it wasn't really conducive to finding a tribe, because I didn't have the energy to go seek out people I actually wanted to spend time with. I just went to the pub with my colleagues, because that was what everybody did.

    Now that I work for myself, and have moved to a new place, I have to actively seek out friends, and it's made me fussier, which in this instance isn't a bad thing, I think.

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    1. Thank you, Scar! I definitely think it relates to the way we make friends. I'm lucky to work in an office where some of my closest friends are also my colleagues - I know this is incredibly rare (and maybe even a little weird!). But they're my tribe, you know? And it makes all the difference.

      Oh my gosh - have you ever endured the dreaded blind friend (or just plain friend) date? I went on a lot of those when I first moved to London. They were awkward and hard, but I made at least 2 great friends out of that whole experience and I'm so glad I tried.

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  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! I just don't have the time and energy for people who I don't get on with, but I've also realised that tolerating them and being polite is the best way to get through time with people outside your "tribe".

    Jaime, it's like you read my mind with this post.

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    1. One of my favorite memories is meeting you and Annmaree at that workshop we went to at Selfridges. I loved meeting you ladies and thought to myself, "Not only are they as cool and as nice as they are on their blogs, but they're totally MY TRIBE!"

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    2. Seconded! We'll definitely have to arrange another meet up. :)

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  7. YES YES YES. When I think back on my early 20s, I'm sure I hadn't realised this yet and I spent so much time trying to get some "mean people" to like me. For no reason. Then I turned 30 and it was like overnight I gained all this perspective. Tribes being a bit part of them. I have treasured Brussels & blogging tribes here and honestly? London wouldn't be the same place without them... Lovely post hon xx

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    1. Thank you, Jess! I am so glad to have met you here in London and I hope to spend more time with you in the months to come, as you're definitely "my tribe"! xx

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  8. I see your point. I think we're less flexible as we grow old(er) and tend to pick our friends more carefully. Unfortunately that mid-sentence interruption you mentioned happens to me too, but with someone I consider my friend.Because apparently if you don't have a child whatever you have to say isn't as important as their rambling about their child:(

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  9. Yes, totally agree with this! 30 must be the magic age for settling in to yourself and wanting to spend time with people who matter to you. This is one of the things I'm worried about with the move is being able to find my tribe in London!

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    1. Ack - it's a little anxiety-inducing, I know, Amanda! I've been there. When are you moving? You'll find your tribe! It might take a bit of time, but they're out there waiting for you :)

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    2. Visas arrived yesterday. We arrive 1 month from today!!

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  10. 100% agree! As a newly minted thirty year old, I've definitely felt the change recently from running around keeping up with people just because we used to be friends once upon a time (usually due to circumstance, like being in the same class at school etc). Then I realised that my time is finite and I want to spend it right. So I let some folks drift away, which was easier said than done as turns out it was me making all the effort anyway. I'm pleased to say my life is much better as a result, and I can see my actual tribe more :)

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    1. I don't mean easier said than done, I mean easier than I thought! Doh.

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    2. Haha, I know what you meant, Rachel! Thanks for your comment - I sometimes get so braindead around this time of the day, I don't even know what I'm typing anymore. Isn't it fascinating when you "let go" of some friendships, they just automatically drift away? Sometimes this makes me sad even though I know it's for the better. I'm so glad that you get to spend more time with your "actual tribe" as a result!

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  11. This is so true as I totally don't have the time in life to hang with people who aren't in my tribe! I think as you get older you realise how precious those times are, therefore you need to be picky!!

    Jasmin Charlotte

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    1. Agreed, Jasmin! I feel like with work, the blog, etc. I barely have time to hang out with my husband, let alone my best friends, so I have to be way more selective/discerning!

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  12. I moved back home not too long ago and realized just recently, I need to build my tribe back up. Going to be trying the blind friend dates next. Wish me luck!

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    1. You know, people often ask me if I'd ever move back to the States and - the answer is yes, if the right opportunity came up - but one of my biggest anxieties is finding my tribe out there. I haven't lived in the US since I was 22 or so, and the thought of starting over seems daunting. But I know they're out there. My people, that is. And I'm sure yours are too! Blind friend dates, ftw (most of the time - ha!).

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  13. Totally agree with you, and those kind of #meangirls are worth avoiding! I love my tribe, it's a quirky bunch but there's something great about it, I could put us all in a room and everyone would get on!!

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    1. That's the best, Anna, when you can put your random friends in one room, knowing that they'd all get along!

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  14. Absolutely agree, and I loved reading this post - same thoughts in my head that I haven't really materialised in words. The best part of getting older and mastering 'adulting' is giving less and less F***s about meeting non-tribe folks. You just accept it as part of life, go through the numbing obligatory conversations, and do the 'catch-ya-never's' exit spiels. And yes, makes you appreciate your own tribe even more :)

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    1. Thank you, Jean!!! I LOVED your comment about "giving less and less f**ks" about meeting non-tribe folks. SO, SO TRUE. Still makes me a little resentful when I'm stuck with them for the duration of a party or event, though! And lol at the "catch-ya-nevers" ... :D :D :D

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  15. Really great post. I've been thinking a lot about my friends and how I've been going through a mass period of having very few friends, but I'm ok with that because I'd rather have very few than waste my time with people who I don't click with. I tried to join a new friend group at my church recently, and while a lot of them are very nice people, I still felt off. Not the general awkward feeling that you get when you're new, but more of the I just can't click with them. Sometimes I feel like I'm being too picky and unreasonable, but then I say to myself that I have every right to be, as long as I hold myself to high standards as well. Life is too short for crummy friendships.

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    1. Thank you, Farrah! I think you're definitely better off with a small set of terrific friends, rather than a lot of fair-weather friends. And YES, keep reminding yourself that you have every right to find your tribe and stick with it! Life is definitely too short. <3

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  16. Jamie, your post hit the spot on so many levels. Here's why: before moving to Japan we worked at the US embassies in two previous countries and lived with a community of diplomats. I had an opportunity to shake hands with Joe Biden, John Kerry, Hilary Clinton and the like. Hell, I actually worked with a team of extraordinary diplomats to set up their visits! Now what I'm trying to say is that the level of intellect, social behavior and communication skills were on a different level. Conversations were fascinating and engaging and diverse. I had something to contribute and learned so much in return. We were happy and made friendships that last even though everyone is now scattered all around the world. Then, we moved to Japan to an Army base. A place where wives choose to talk to you based on your husband's rank, while others believe their sole purpose in this world is to do everything that would elevate their husband's image, and the major conversations revolve around who volunteers more often, and who baked more cupcakes for this or that community event. Where people hardly get off-base because "OMG navigating Tokyo is so overwhelming and how do we know where to go???". My passion and dedication to explorig is viewed as something extraordinary, not a norm. Plus, almost everyone has a kid and all the mommy-talks that comes with it (although no shame here, we all will get there at some point). If you don't partake you are not their tribe. Which I realized very soon is totally fine because they are not my tribe either. Like you said, time is too precious to waste it on people who don't interest me and share core values. It gets hard at times, but I have my husband around and other times a couple of like-minded friends I still managed to make. Life is good in the end, you don't have to like everyone and it's fine if you're not everyone's favorite either. :) xoxo, nano

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    1. YIKES, Nano! You did very well to survive and thrive in that kind of environment! I'm not sure I would fare so well. I'm sure you did it with elegance and grace too! Well done for getting through it. And like you said, the important thing to remember is that LIFE IS GOOD in the end! xoxo

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  17. Wow, that girl in front of you and Rebecca made me want to bitchslap something so badly. And I hate hate hate those people who tend to interrupt you for thinking your voice ain't worth their time. Get off your high horse.

    I love this post. And you're right. These days I genuinely think time is too precious to waste with people who aren't likeminded. Small talk ain't my forte and I can't stand dickies. High five on that. x

    Honey x The Girl Next Shore

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    1. Yeah, I forgot that people like that existed! Also: how do they have friends?! I guess they attract each other. "Hey, I'm bitchy." "Hey, I'm bitchy too - nice to meet you." Bleurgh.

      High-five, fellow tribe member! x

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  18. I adore this post. I think it's really true what people say- you have a handful of true friends. I have colleagues and the like; I'm polite and I chat but I wouldn't say 'my friend'. I love the honesty!

    My mum was speaking to someone the other day who worded it as transmitters and receivers. She was focusing on cutting out all transmitters; people who never listened, interrupted and only spoke about themselves. It's quite interesting that this kind of behaviour happens from the ages of 5 all the through adulthood!!!

    K.

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    1. Thank you, Kelsey!

      I love that idea of people who are "transmitters and receivers". It is so painful to sit across from someone who only transmits ... I find it hard to focus on what they're saying and instead, obsess about how we're SO NOT on the same wavelength (no pun intended)!

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  19. I have DEFINITELY been at the dinner party where I keep getting interrupted and leave feeling under-valued. I love how you put it, "they are not my tribe, but I'll try". I love the attitude. I'd rather be the person with the positive attitude, and not the person interrupting others.

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    1. Yelle! Thanks so much for stopping by to read this post! First things first: I LOVE your name and I LOVE your blog name! So cool! Just found you on social media too.

      OKAY ... now on to annoying people. It's so inconsiderate and disrespectful to interrupt (unless you're so super excited about what the other person is saying, you can't wait to relate to them!). Thank you for reminding me that it IS important to try, even if you're struggling to connect!

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  20. Such a great post Jaime and it hits very close to home! I think it's so great to have friends who are different but ultimately they're part of your tribe because you share a common value system. And it's great to be reminded how we lucky we are to have such people in our lives x

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    1. Thank you, Ayushi! Completely agreed. x

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  21. Oh yes yes yes! (Unfortunately I'm an excited interrupter, but it's never because I want to interrupt...) I wonder if the #meangirls ever realise how boring they are...

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    1. I admit to excited interrupting too ... :D

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  22. I love this post so much. In the last couple of years I have really started appreciating my tribe and really just want to surround myself with people on my wavelength, everyone else I will be nice to but they don't get a lot of my time. I am happy to have a small group of friends who I truly connect with.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! I see so many good friends hanging out with people who aren't very nice to them ... and when I ask why they still do, it's always: "We've been friends for so long!" But people change and move on, and I think that it's okay to recognize that too!

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  23. Oh man, I'm all about this! I'm such a loner by nature, it's really easy for me to exclude people which I honestly think ends up being beneficial. Only the good ones get in!

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    1. That's a great policy to have, Polly! I like that: "Only the good ones get in!"

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  24. spot on! A lot of my friends think I'm harsh when I say I'd rather stay away from people then try and make 'polite' friendships. But I firmly believe in surrounding yourself with positive influences and people you can trust. #meangirls are around at all stages of life...

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  25. This is so true. I think maybe this is something you realise more the older you are. I certainly didn't think about it until my late twenties and more now I've hit my 30s. A friend of mine who is ten years older than me was talking about some people being with you for a season of life, maybe you each have something to teach each other or one can learn from another. But as she openly said to me, you will realise as you go through life that not everyone is working with you. She even has a sign in her spare room at home with the slogan love many, trust few, learn to paddle your own canoe. Which she says is something she has learnt over the years that you can love and cherish those people in life that you care about, but be careful who you put your full trust in and learn above all that only you can decide who or what you want from life and if those around you aren't helping you to paddle then maybe it's time that they weren't in your boat anymore.
    x

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    1. I love that sentiment, Emma, that if "those around you aren't helping you to paddle then maybe it's time that they weren't in your boat anymore." It also made me think of those instances where we have had to paddle that boat for each other when one of us needed a rest; and that true friendships have this wonderful balance of giving and taking. Thank you for stopping by to read and to share your thoughts with me!

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  26. I honestly admire how honest you are when writing posts like this. You say a lot of what people think and it's all so true. I'm in my mid-twenties and it's becoming more and more important to me to surround myself with people that are uplifting, supportive and add meaning to your life and I to them. Mean girls are the worst - its not fun to sit around and bash others. It's a horrible trait to have and it's awful being around people that do it. Thank you for writing with such honesty - I hope people do learn a thing or two from it! It has made me appreciate 'my tribe' so much more after reading things and feel really thankful for the great friends I do have in life!

    Hope to meet you soon and hope all is well!
    Colleen x

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    1. Thank you so much, Colleen! I've actually had the idea for this post in my head since last year, but was too chicken to write it! I'd really, really like to meet you - perhaps we can set up brunch/coffee sometime? x

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  27. I absolutely love this post. As I've got older, my tribe has seriously decreased in numbers. I look back now at some former members and wonder why on earth I ever gave them the time of day! I'll be honest, my tribe are mostly made up of my cousins and I LOVE that - I have quite a big family on both my mum and dad's sides, and we all grew up in each others pockets. I really appreciate them, and the small honorary members I have allowed into my tribe!

    Kara

    xx

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    1. Oh, I missed your comment, lovely! Thank you so much! Loved hearing about your tribe! xx

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  28. Yes completely! When I was younger, like 15-16 I started to recognise that but felt guilty for recognising that old friends weren't my tribe anymore. The older I get, the more I'm totally okay with this - I cherish the people in my tribe and if someone isn't into being in my tribe or vice versa, then that's totally cool!

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    1. I'm always fascinated by people (like most of my friends), who still have friends from grade school or high school ... I don't, and I know that's just me, but I can't imagine holding on to friendships just because there's a shared history there, even if it means you have nothing in common with or don't enjoy hanging out with them anymore. I'm not saying that it's true in all cases, but I've had so many friends to say to me, "Ugh, so-and-so treats me so badly ..." and yet they continue to spend time with them! I feel like we often need to move ON from childhood friendships and accept that we all grow and part of growing up may also mean growing apart.

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  29. Only just found this amazing post and totally sitting here nodding and saying Yes, yes, YASSSS! Unfortunately there are people out there that are complete butt holes but when you start to recognize them, tolerate and move on the world seems a better place!

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