Finding your tribe

How can we make friends as adults? Sam shares some top tips…

In his book, “Friends: understanding the power of our most important relationships”, Robin Dunbar shares seven traits that we look for when we make friends:

  • The same language (or dialect)
  • Growing up in the same location
  • Having the same educational or career experience
  • Having the same hobbies and interests
  • Having the same world view (religious, moral and/or political)
  • Having the same musical tastes
  • Having the same sense of humour

The more of these traits we share with another person, the closer the friendship is likelier to be. So where and how might we find our tribe?

Get to know your neighbours
Often the British can be cowardly about speaking to their neighbours, but we also lament the lack of community, particularly in urban areas. If you want to make a meaningful connection with your neighbours, take a deep breath and make that first move! You could offer help with something practical, discuss a shared concern about the neighbourhood, invite them for a drink, organise a larger social activity, or just knock on the door and introduce yourself.  Even if they don’t become your best friends, neighbours can be really useful in a crisis situation and it helps to know their names.

Find an interest group online
Sometimes, the best place to find like-minded individuals is at an activity you enjoy. Meetup, Facebook, and Nextdoor, among other websites and apps, offer opportunities to find local events of interest. It can feel intimidating to go to one of these events alone, however, it’s helpful to remember that others attending likely feel the same way, and are eager to meet someone like you. Easy conversation starters include: “What got you interested in this activity?”, “How long have you been coming to these events?”, or just introducing yourself and explaining it’s your first time attending!

If you’re feeling particularly nervous, you could reach out to the event coordinator ahead of time to introduce yourself and learn more about the group. For example: “Hi, I’m Jane. I’m excited to see you created a group for rock climbers. I am new to the area and eager to connect with climbers. Is there a good way to locate you and the group once I arrive at the climbing gym?”

Seek spiritual community
Churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques can be places to find faith communities, and spiritual communities can also be found outside of organised religions. Meditation groups, dinner groups, and nature groups are just a few examples of opportunities to connect with those who consider themselves spiritual but not necessarily religious.

You will probably find like-minded people when you spend time supporting causes you value. Think about issues you care about – social justice, education, equality, the environment etc – and then do an internet search for organisations that support your values. These organisations often have a volunteer area on their websites, or you could go to www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk for general volunteering opportunities.

Sign up for a class
Is there something you’ve been eager to learn? Perhaps knitting, playing an instrument, or learning a language? An organised class can be a wonderful way to develop new friendships.

What next?

Check out our Events and Communities! We accept donations but everything is free to attend, and we’d love to welcome you to find out more about us.

If you’ve found a tribe but find conflict arising, why not listen to our round table conversation about conflict resolution?

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