I don’t “tribe” well. Gasp! There, I said it. Really though, I don’t. In the last couple of years I have started to realized this about myself. Only recently have I decided it’s OK.
Let me preface with this: I have some incredible women in my life who I cherish. I workout with some who make me feel so strong, both mentally and physically. I am also blessed to have a couple large groups of friends. Some I’ve known since childhood and some came into my life after having kids. I am thankful for the connections I have with these women. I am thankful for these tribes.
But while I’m thankful for them, I can’t escape the anxiety that rears its nasty head when being with them all at once.
There are times when I get together with a large group of women (or tribe), and I feel completely uncomfortable. My thoughts range from, “I don’t belong here,” to, “I have no clue what to say.” I find myself either jumping into every conversation, to the point of almost interrupting (something that I would scold my children for) or sitting back and just observing. I’ve found that I enjoy the second option more, because when I can keep myself from adding to every conversation, I can save myself from hours of rehashing everything I said later on.
After I get home I will sit and think about what I said, how I felt when I was there, and if I’ll be invited back because, obviously what I said was, wrong in some way or another.
If somehow I escape without feeling this way, I still have the hurdle of just knowing that my clothes, my girls’ clothes, my car, or my hair didn’t stand up to the tribe’s standards. They never will, these aren’t priorities of mine. None the less, I still feel less than.
Anyone else? I have a sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one who sometimes feels this way or who will spend time wondering if what they said was wrong, too.
I’m sure someone somewhere could label these feelings for me. I’m not here for that. Instead I’m OK with realizing that I have to set healthy boundaries for myself. I won’t avoid doing things in large groups, because I do enjoy it from time to time. However, it’s OK to leave early. It’s also OK for my preference to be one on one time with friends. It’s OK to not tribe well.
At this point in life I am able to recognize the difference in how I feel with quality one on one time with a friend versus a large group of acquaintances, especially friends or family who love me just for me.
Furthermore, I am very thankful that my most favorite person to spend time with, the one who I would rather be with any day, is my husband. Last week after a particularly emotional time spent with friends, he was there. He loves me for me and is the one who reminds me that it really is OK to do what makes me comfortable. Even if that means I don’t have a tribe.
I was once an extreme extrovert and somewhere along the lines I became someone who doesn’t tribe well.
I still enjoy time with groups of friends, but from now on it will be on my terms. No one can make me feel less than but me. I’m marching towards a stronger mindset that doesn’t allow me to feel this way. Will you join me?