Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Not My Tribe
I'm in my early thirties now, so I'm pretty much an adult.
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?