I was scrolling through Instagram not too long ago, and it seemed like every other post said something about a tribe – #Tribegoals. Tribe up. Find your tribe.
trīb/noun: a distinctive close-knit group.
Group. That word hung in the air.
With every post, hashtag, and photo of perfectly positioned women happily smiling side-by-side, I felt a growing sense of inadequacy. But why?! I sat on my bed journaling … until I had a revelation.
I’m surrounded by phenomenal women. I have friends. But I don’t have a group of friends.
Books, TV, movies, and social media all serve up this picture of what female friendships look like. It’s usually groups of three or more women who are deeply connected to one another, spend an outrageous amount of time together, and talk about everything from lovers to careers. They're basically doing life together.
Back in the day I remember watching shows like Living Single, Sex and the City, and Girlfriends and the constant-contact-brunch-every-weekend-weekly-wine-night nature of their friendships. And then wondering if everyone experienced friendship this way and I was somehow doing it "wrong."
Was every other woman in the world constantly flanked by her best gal pals? Was wine only to be enjoyed in groups and I somehow missed the memo?
In all seriousness, it's not so much the portrayal of tribal friendships that can leave women feeling less than when it comes to their own friendships. I think it's more the idea that these portrayals perpetuate: that there’s a “normal” or “superior” way to experience fulfilling, strong female friendships; or worse, the idea that enjoyable friendship can only happen in groups.
When our friendships don’t mirror that, we can very quickly develop a case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and start to question the quality of our own friendships.
Listen. Friendship is about quality not quantity. My sister circle is made up of rich and meaningful individual relationships with women who share my philosophies on life, have dope personalities, and bigger-than-life hearts and minds. Most importantly (and to the point of this post), these women mostly have no connection to each other, yet the collective of what each relationship brings to my life fulfills my mental, spiritual, and emotional need for friendship.
So, by definition, I don’t have a tribe. We're not rolling in to brunch 5-deep. We’re not rotating weekly wine nights at each other’s houses. And we’re not in group texts sharing the happenings of our daily lives or exchanging career advice.
But I’m not lacking any of the benefits of friendship either.
*Let me be clear* I’m not shading groups of friends by any means. The point I’m making is that whether it’s a 1:1 friendship or a foursome, there is not a better way or a right way to experience friendship. It’s about connecting with people who add value to your life.
So, sis, if you’re not walking down brick-paved streets with your girls lined up on both sides in complementary colors, natural hair poppin’, smiling from ear to ear, don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. All friendships look and function differently. And if individual relationships are working for you, let them work.
Do your friendships have more of a Living Single (group) or a Laverne and Shirley (1:1) vibe or maybe a blend of both? Let's talk about it in the comments.