A Step-by-Step Guide to Cultivating Your Tribe

hian-oliveira-614747-unsplash.jpg

We live in a society based on individualism, which plants into our heads the idea that we can do everything by ourselves. News flash: we can’t! Having the right people alongside you in your life path can make the hardest moments bearable and the wonderful moments even better.

I’ve learned a ton in the last four years. Everything from how to build myself up after devastating breakups, grow my professional network, organize and prioritize my time, get myself involved, and say “no.” Even then, one thing that will always stick with me, and that I’m still perfecting to this day, is how to cultivate a tribe of people around me who support, love, and give me energy.

It’s easy to fall into friendship based on convenience and location. For the majority of us, it’s the way we typically make friends. This way of making friends can be great, and I’ve definitely made some of my best friends purely based on circumstance and the activities we were involved in. It doesn’t always work though, and sometimes can lead to friendships that drain us. Here’s how to find friends that you can grow with, laugh with, and learn from.

Scope out fun events in your area

This step may sound a little corny and will require extra work, but the easiest way to find people who have similar interests is to go to events that cater to people like you! Especially if you live in a big city or on a college campus, it’s not that hard to find things to do around you. If you’re not finding enough through word-of-mouth and social media, check Eventbrite! Most events being thrown need some sort of management platform to keep track of everything, so a lot will come up. I’ve found rooftop yoga, a black mental wellness expo, intimate day parties, and a Beyonce Brunch all from Eventbrite.

Assess their energy

Okay, you’re at the event. Now what? If there’s food, take a bite. If there’s a speaker, listen and take notes! Are there drinks? Even better. Hello yummy cocktails! At events, there’s almost always time left to socialize and network. While you’re doing the main activity, scope out the room. Energy is everything, and it shows a lot about a person. Think about the type of energy you’re attracted to. You probably won’t have to for too long, because most likely those who catch your attention will be who you’re into. Sometimes it’s a defining physical attribute like the fact that they’re the only other person of color in the room or a cool looking outfit. Other times it’s how they speak about experiences and address others around them.

Just go for it

Here’s a story for you. I was at Black Girl In Om’s Self-Care Sunday over the summer, which was basically the perfect place for me to find new amazing black women to meet who care a lot about working on themselves. Before I left for SCS, I made an intention to actively reach out to people there instead of my usual smiles to everyone on my way out the door. After it was over, I went up to a girl there who I really vibed with during the reflection portion of the day. She greeted me with a hug, and we began talking. I asked her about herself and eventually straight up told her we should hang out. We exchanged numbers and I told her I’d hit her up. Now, this is where most people falter with making connections with others. Do NOT be afraid of asking others to hang out, even multiple times before they ask you to. There’s a difference between putting in effort and overdoing it when someone isn’t interested. Look to intuition and social cues to help with that. Now, a friendship that began at Self-Care Sunday has now flourished into one of the most fun friendships I currently have.

Don’t worry, it takes practice!

Putting yourself out there is never easy, romantically or in friendships! I’ve found that the more I intentionally create bonds between people I vibe with, the more fulfilled I feel in those connections. So here’s your chance. Ask someone to coffee, a food festival, or a cool new museum exhibit. The possibilities are endless, and the more you go for it the more comfortable you’ll feel doing it.

How do you cultivate your friendships? Comment below!