Your vibe attracts your tribe
You’ll have heard the term ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’. The commonly understood meaning of our 'tribe' is those people who are like us; think like us; enjoy the things we do; work in similar roles; similar circumstances etc. Our tribe will cheer us on, celebrate when we succeed and commiserate when we don’t get there, helps us feel confident. It sounds quite comforting, doesn’t it? And, certainly, when we need support, there is nothing like being surrounded by familiarity. Our brain searches for familiarity as it means safety and the reptilian part of our brain* is soothed when things are the same. It can create cognitive dissonance when we hear views that don’t match our own and takes energy to reconfigure our neural pathways to consider new ideas.
Being with your tribe
You’ll know when you’ve found your tribe as the conversation is likely to flow, you’ll often agree on things that are important to you; sometimes you won’t even need to speak as you just have a comfortable vibe. The people in your tribe will have the same values as you, and it’ll feel like they just ‘get’ you. It can be an incredibly helpful place to be and can make discussion at home or work flow easily.
What are the downsides?
So, what would the downsides be? What could possibly be wrong with being with our tribe? There are a couple of areas that have been identified where sticking with your tribe might be less than helpful.
Firstly, finding your true tribe relies on you being your true self. I’m sure you’ll have experienced times when you’ve been hanging out with people where you feel you just didn’t fit. You might feel that, although you can pretend, really you have nothing in common with them. Sometimes, for example in a work setting, you might need to work alongside people you may not choose to spend time with in other settings, but this can get wearing; even making us ill if we have to do it for any length of time. In other circumstances, trying to be chameleon-like and fit in with those around us can be useful, but can also lead us to a point where we no longer question the opinion we hear shared.
It’s well documented that young boys in Germany were recruited to the Hitler Youth as a funnel for the Nazi Party. The Hitler Youth was solely consumed by converting their members to their way of thinking and separating them from their families who may try and change their minds. An extreme example, perhaps, but it was very powerful and successful!
Secondly, there may come a point when familiarity is abusive or unhealthy for us. Where bullying or abuse is prevalent, the victim may find themselves sympathising with their abuser, seeking to excuse the reason for their behaviour. It’s sometimes hard to find a way to make things change as the consequences feel too great, or it takes us all of our energy to stay well within the circumstances, so there is no room for additional planning or action. This can explain why we might stay in relationships that are no longer nourishing as to leave is too scary; the difference can be hard to adjust to, or it simply takes too much energy to make the change. This might not necessarily be partner relationships, but those with family and friends, and might simply happen because we’ve outgrown the way of this tribe. Sometimes this comes with age, or because we move into a different world, eg. a new job or hobby.
Thirdly, the issue of personal growth itself. If we no longer look outside of our tribe, our views are no longer challenged, we’re no longer pushed to consider things from a different angle, or given the opportunity to step outside of our comfort zone. Whilst this might be exactly what we need if we’re recovering from a difficult time or if we’ve been unwell, to continue to grow, we need to sometimes be exposed to other views; other ways of thinking. This becomes even more stark with the high use of social media where our friends will share items which simply reinforce our views, rather than a different angle. The algorithms are set to show you the stuff that’s similar to the stuff you’ve already seen, as this means you’ll look at it more and, therefore, see the advertising that accompanies it. Clever, eh? And a bit sinister! Being in this social media bubble can help us reduce psychological discomfort, but can create a sense of reality that doesn’t fit the world, only our views. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, but (as with everything) be prepared to question what you see/hear.
Nurturing and building your tribe
Nurturing those people in your tribe is very valuable. It should be of two-way benefit. And, it might not be a group of people, but simply a collection of different individuals. Sometimes, tribes don’t happen naturally, so if you’re looking for new people in your tribe, asking yourself some honest questions can help.
- What do I want to get out of my tribe – and what can I contribute?
- What is missing in my life right now? What needs are not being met?
- How would a new tribe help me towards my life goals, my own personal development?
- What are my core values and what would I look for in other people?
Of course, things can take time to develop, so the final word would be patience. Be open to possibilities and get curious about what you might discover and who you might meet!
Once you’ve got these answers, it’s time to get active. Find groups that give you what you’re looking for – eg. if reading is something you really enjoy, join a book club. Be specific and don’t spread yourself too thinly or it will never feel right. Be prepared to put in the effort – where can you add value to their life as well as enjoying what they add to yours.
As a coach, I often work with clients who feel like they’re at a crossroads with their relationships, and when we explore deeper, the question of tribe often comes up. If you'd like to work with a professional coach for support with your relationships you can search Life Coach Directory to arrange an online or face to face session.
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