When my first child was born 13 years ago, I was thrilled to be a mom and so in love with my son. It was the moment I had been looking forward to for months. My husband and I had decided that I would become a stay-at-home mom and I was looking forward to all the time I could spend with my son. After
Be open and accepting
The first step to finding authentic people who you can relate to and build lasting relationships with is to be your true self. When you are an open, honest and accepting person, you will encourage others to behave the same. Be yourself, listen to what others have to say, accept others for who they are and relationships will happen organically. It can be uncomfortable, scary even, to put yourself out there, but the relationships far outweigh the risk when you find true friends.
There are times where finding people to start friendships with can be challenging, especially when you have a big life change like a move, becoming a parent or changing jobs. Take inventory of what you love to do or what groups already exist that you could join. For example, if you love running, join a running club. If you love to read, join or start a book club. If you are a mom, join a playgroup or a mother’s group at a local church. Does the PTA at your school need help? Would you consider being a soccer coach or Boy Scout leader? All of these examples are great ways to get involved in your community and make friends along the way. After the birth of our triplets, I joined an online group of triplet moms. Four years later, I am surprised to say that they are some of my closest friends and one of my biggest support systems.
Give support and ask for it
One of the main things that makes a tribe so important is the support given and received during the times when it is needed most. When my daughter was hospitalized for several weeks, my mother’s group supplied meals, gave my other kids rides to and from school, helped with childcare, sent flowers and cards and basically kept my family going when my husband and I couldn’t have done it on our own. They would not have known how to help if I hadn’t reached out to them and asked. Asking for help can be hard for people who are used to managing the family and are good at it, too; however, that during difficult times friends want to help. Just ask. Conversely, it can be such a blessing to help others when they need it. Giving a ride to school, making a little extra food to share, sending a text or talking with a friend when they need a listening ear – all of this doesn’t take much extra effort, yet goes a long way toward building your tribe.
Finding your tribe can mean pushing yourself to step outside of your comfort zone to reach out to others. While it is difficult to do at first, once you find a group of friends who understands and supports you, it is well worth the time and effort put into building and strengthening those relationships.