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We humans are meant to belong. We have an innate need for human connection, belonging, and community. It’s in our nature. And it’s almost just as important as survival. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, belongingness and love is listed right after the basic survival needs.
If we don’t feel like we belong, we risk loneliness, depression, anxiety, a short lifespan, and poor physical health. Belonging and finding our people is critical to living a healthy, successful, happy, fulfilling life.
Here are some steps to take to find your people, your tribe to genuinely connect with others and belong.
To find your people, you have to first find yourself and know yourself. Take some time to get to know yourself with some self-awareness. Work on your personal growth and work on developing yourself to become a better person. Don’t ignore and avoid the facts about yourself, both the negative and the positive.
Confront the brutal facts about yourself that can draw in the wrong people and deter ‘your people.’ Do you harshly judge and criticize others? Do you gossip? Are you a people pleaser? Do you complain often?
Appreciate the strengths of your character and let them shine through for people to see. Are you supportive and enthusiastic? Gentle and compassionate? Are you inspiring and grateful?
Make a list of the following:
- Your values,
- Skills and abilities
Knowing these will help you find people who align with these core things.
What kind of friends and people do you want?
You want to be intentional about the kind of people you want to have around you and spend the most of your time with. So, you’re going to make a three column list. I got this idea from the book Belong by Radha Agrawal. In the first column, create a list of qualities that you’re looking for in a friend. This can be absolutely anything you want in a friend. In the middle column, list of qualities that you don’t want in a friend.
What kind of friend do you want to be?
In the third column, make a list of the qualities you want to have to attract the kind of friends you want. This is all about you. You don’t have to already have these qualities, but you should aim to have these qualities to attract the kind of friends described in the first two columns. Remember to practice self-awareness to know what you already do bring to the table and what you should work on
Evaluate your current people and friends
It’s okay to let go of people and friends that are no in alignment with your energy, that drain you, and no longer serve you. You want friends and people around you make up who you are. This is not just a motivational phrase. It’s actually backed by science.
Take a look at the three column list you made. How do your current friends align with the kind of friend you want? Do they have most of or the most important qualities that you’re looking for? Do they have little to none of the qualities you don’t want or at least not have the worst ones?
Whether they do or don’t match up with your list, pay attention to how you feel around them. Apply the 80/20 rule to the friendship. If 80 percent of the time, you feel good or even better around this person, that’s a good sign to continue investing in the relationship.
Raise your energy vibration
Also known as your vibe, your attitude, your presence, your spirit, your spark. It’s true that “your vibe attracts your tribe.” Energy truly is everything when it comes to showing up in a relationship. Negative energy attracts negative energy. Positive energy attracts positive energy.
It’s important to be intentional with your energy. Show enthusiasm or genuine emotion, make eye contact, smile, touch, have gratitude. Also, check in with yourself regularly and make sure that your energy is matching your core character.
Here are some ways to raise your energy or your vibe:
- Exercise (endorphins)
- Get enough sleep (serotonin)
- Get some sun (serotonin)
- Show affection for others (oxytocin)
- Set goals for yourself and follow through (dopamine)
Your energy is going to be a lot different if you haven’t gotten enough sleep or you just got into an argument with your mom. Make sure to be aware of these things and if appropriate, be sincere and upfront with others if there are circumstances that may be affecting your energy when interacting with them.
Try out new things and places, even if you’ve never tried it before. Local sports leagues, choirs, fitness classes, etc. Make sure to keep trying and don’t give up so soon. If something doesn’t feel right for you at first, give it some time or try something different. It takes time and it takes practice.
This can also mean to explore the people that are already in the spaces you frequent. You can eat lunch with your coworkers or the new person or inviting your coworkers for an outing or actually showing up to one of their outings if you’ve always declined. Or try talking to your classmates sitting next to you. You can explore anywhere, it doesn’t have to be new places.
Where to find your people
- Facebook groups and events
- Look online for local events and groups of things that interest you
- Take up a new interest or hobby that involves socializing (This can be anything from painting classes to rock climbing)
- Take time to look at flyers and bulletin boards in your town, school or workplace
Try making a list of things that interest you including things that used to interest you but life got in the way, things you’ve always wanted to try, things you think would be fun, that that you’re interested in learning, and things that would advance and grow you or put you out of your comfort zone.
Once you’ve created this list, look at the above points to search for groups, communities, and events for the items in the list you created.
- Local sports leagues
- Musical instruments and choir
- Arts and Crafts
- Fitness and martial arts classes
- Dance studios
- Adventure and outdoor life
- Education & learning
- Ideas, philosophies, spirituality and religion groups
- Media and tech
Go all in
Don’t just show up. Participate. Try as much as you can to involve yourself. Just because you’re there in a group doesn’t mean that’s your people. Of course showing up may be a first big step if your shy and out of your comfort zone.
But once you’ve been at least showing up, try to interact as much as you can. You can strike up conversations with others, you can ask questions, or even just taking extra little steps of saying yes, involving yourself and participating more and more. Invest your time and energy.
Share. Give. Create something. Help out. Say thank you and show gratitude. Put in extra thought and effort into making people have positive experiences when they’re with you.
Contributing can also be as simple as just listening and learning about someone completely, asking questions, and fully focusing all your attention on them. Click here for ideas for acts of kindness to others.
Bring people together
If you’ve been practicing the above points for some time, try creating your own community. Create an event or group yourself. Create your own community. Introduce your friends to each other.
Even just host a little get together between a few friends is a start. You can truly create something great that gives you more purpose and connects people together.
Finding your people is not going to happen quickly so it’s important to take your time, and have patience and diligence. Keep trying and going out there and being intentional and you will find your tribe.
Even if you do already have close friends, there’s no reason to limit yourself from the potential wonderful connections and friendships you can form. And the greatness of a community and tribe you can build. Now go out there and find your people and tribe!