Finding Your Tribe
The transition from your teen years and through your twenties is abundant with lifestyle changes. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, you launch from the home you were raised in, to your own home with possible roommates. You may change cities or even countries. You change schools, jobs and careers. You change partners. So it’s only natural that you change some of your friends as well.
It can be difficult to accept that some of the friendships you developed throughout childhood and adolescence may no longer be a fit for you any longer. Now that you’re transitioning into adulthood, you may find that your previous mutual interests with the friends you developed early in life have diverged. Feeling as if we are losing our primary support system can create a mix of emotions including loneliness and anxiety.
It’s my wholehearted belief that as we move through life we are conscious of creating what I refer to as “our tribe.” Our tribe is the group of women we surround ourselves with along our journey to help us find our way. Sure, some of these women will be ones you’ve known for years and others are ones that will enter your path along the way. And everyone’s tribe will look a little different depending on your personality. However, I’ve found that successful tribes usually consist of the following core members:
The Bestie: Your bestie is the one you can turn to about almost anything. She has your best interests at heart and will always lend a hand whether you need someone to pick up groceries for you or just listen for hours about your latest breakup. She’s seen you with hiccup sobs while snot bubbles out of your nose and she will still offer you a Kleenex, a drink, or just someone to sit with in silence.
The Nurturer: This is the friend who is like a mom. She could be your mom or an aunt or someone near your own age. She’s the one who takes care of everyone and makes sure you have a shoulder to cry. The one who can see the expression on your face, puts out her arms and embraces you so you can have a good cry while she rubs your back. When you’re really down and out, she makes you eat and shower and will even help you clean up your place.
The Party Girls: These are the friends you can go out with and have a good time. They are the ones you turn to when you need a break or when you want to celebrate something big like getting that big job offer. They are the ones who call you after a breakup or failed presentation and tell you to pick yourself up, put on the little black dress, and dance the night away. They are the ones who are willing to tell their partners, “Sorry. Not tonight. It’s ladies night and you’re not invited.”
Of course, there are plenty of others who can make up a tribe, and how large your tribe is depends on your personality (introverts tend to have smaller, closer-knit tribes than extroverts), your lifestyle, and external circumstances. Here are a few of the ‘usual suspects’ that often show up in extended tribes: The Comedian (always available to make you laugh), The Eternal Optimist (she believes unicorns exist and will always see the glass as half full), The Realist (she’ll tell it to you straight whether you want to hear it or not), The Always (the one you’ve known the longest), The Colleague (everyone needs a partner in crime at the office), The Mentor (she selflessly shares knowledge to help you succeed), The Wise Woman (she’s been through the fire and can always give you direction) and The Therapist (the one who helps you work things out along the way).
Anxiety can occur when a young woman experiences a huge shift in her tribe (this often happens when she relocates for college or her career). However, what we all must realize is that life is not meant to stay static. As your life evolves, your tribe will take on new members and others will fade away. The important thing is to keep close ties with at least a few core members of your tribe and realize that your changing tribe means you are growing toward the life you truly deserve.
If you question if you are experiencing anxiety or depression, please contact me and we can arrange for a therapy session.
Jessica is a mental health therapist who specializes in helping women free themselves from anxiety, depression, and other stress-related conditions. She is honored to witness the experiences of her clients and work with them toward meaningful lives.