A few weeks ago I asked a set of questions that, if answered honestly, would give you an indication of the strength of your community…your tribe.
Here are some of the questions I asked:
Who could you call in the middle of the night to take you to the hospital?
Who would know if you were depressed or overly anxious?
With whom would you share a very important life decision?
Who are the people that you like to hang out with who make you laugh?
Who is your mentor?
What group of people do you feel comfortable around?
With which community or religious organization do you share the most core values?
So, what is the strength of your tribe? I contend that having a core of people with whom you share life in all of its wonder and despair is one of the anchors that keeps you from feeling lost or without foundation. Of experiencing anomie. Read my previous posts here.
What if your tribe is puny? What if you are very much lonely? How do you go about rebuilding friendships and community in our post-pandemic, remote working, bowling alone world?
Here are four ways to begin rebuilding your tribe:
Show up where people are.
Go back to church. Rejoin your club. Take a class. Join a league. Sign up to serve. You just have to be in spaces for small talk and shared participation. Rub shoulders. Shake hands. Hug again. Worship together. Pray together. Play together. Eat together. Laugh together. Get with and near people. This is how friendships are formed. Remember?
You’ve heard and used all the shallow, insincere offers and promises…”Hey, let’s get together soon!” “I’ll reach out when things settle down!” “I’d love to connect sometime! Let’s be honest, we don’t mean it. We like to keep our options open…which is fine, but it does nothing to reconnect us to people who can care for us. Our family has set aside Tuesday night as family dinner night. It’s on the calendar. It’s a commitment and with a few exceptions we keep it. It’s one of the best decisions we could have made.
Practice being unusually interested in others.
You want friends? When you are with someone make sure you ask more questions than they do. And ask follow up questions. More than one. I guarantee they’ll reach out to meet again. Your tribe will grow as you actually care.
Know someone you wish would mentor you? Ask them. Mentors, especially those a generation ahead of you, are key people in your tribe. Don’t wait around for them to find you. See someone who could “speak into your life” and offer wisdom from their own journey? Seriously, go for it!
See a common denominator in all four? Intentionality. Community doesn’t happen serendipitously it forms strategically. You could continue feeling isolated or you could get after it. Rebuild your tribe.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions