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Find Your Tribe By Nurturing Friendships

Find Your Tribe by Nurturing FriendshipsWho hasn’t, at one time or another, been shunned, disappointed or hurt by someone we thought was our friend? Whether it happened when we’re young or in adulthood we’ve all had friends we valued and trusted, convinced that our lives would be forever entwined. Then, suddenly, SNAP. The friendship is over and we’re left wondering what went wrong.

C’mon, you know it’s happened to you!

Early last year I wrote about “The Importance of Nurturing Our Friendships” because I believed in the beauty of long-lasting friendships. I still do and always will.

As part of the TV generation I grew up loving the close relationship I watched unfold between Lucy and Ethel, and in my teens I became enamored with Mary and Rhoda. I wanted what they had; that easy, honest, you-have-my-back-and-I-will-always-have-yours camaraderie that good friends have when they unconditionally care about each other.

Unfortunately those type of friendships aren’t always easy to come by. After all, life is not a work of fiction. If it were we’d all be living in The Truman Show with writers pulling the strings on our friendships.

I’ve been lucky. Without any writers pulling my strings I met four girls in grade school who are my sister/friends. We’ve laughed, cried, exchanged hard truths and cheered each another on with each passing decade.

They say you’re blessed if you have one or two good friends. While that’s true I also value the new friends I’ve made who bring a special meaning to my life. I cherish them and do my best to tend to them because they are important to me.

People meet in friendship as the circumstances of our lives change. From the first day of school through our later years friends come in and out of our lives. Some stick around for a season while others remain by our side forever.

As we age having loyal friends becomes more important. We depend on one another for support, compassion and understanding through the joys and sorrows of life. Solid friendships help us remain socially active so that we can continue to thrive and feel a sense of belonging, These relationships help us live a longer quality of life..

But in the current age of global connections it’s not always easy to make new friends. Texting, private messaging and commenting leave out the nuances of nonverbal communication and social skills. This fast-paced mode of reaching out and touching someone can never replace the value of spending quality time face-to-face with family and friends.

NOTE: I’m glad I had my son when I did. With no cell phones, and the Internet in its infancy, there was no reason to become distracted by the chimes coming from my cell phone. A pet peeve of mine is seeing a parent pushing a baby carriage while talking on their cell phone. Put the phone down and be mindful of the magical yet fleeting time you’re spending with your child! The call can wait until later.

We crave finding communities of like-minded people, ones who share our beliefs and experiences. It’s in those tribes where we’ll find comfort and connection. Where can we find them? If you haven’t already you can begin by taking a look at “7 Tips for Finding Your Tribe” by Lissa Rankin, M.D. as she talks about her own struggles with finding her tribe. She provides some great ideas to help us find ours.

And since I love Angela and Bea, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite songs about friendship. You’re welcome.

Cathy Chester

Cathy Chester blogs at An Empowered Spirit, focusing on living a healthy and vibrant life after 50. Cathy’s lived most of her life with a disability, and knows it does not define her. Changing the face of disability is her passion, along with other issues of concern such as social good and animal rights. She was voted one of the best blogs of 2013 by Healthline and was nominated for WEGO Health’s Best in Show Blog for the past two years. She is also a regular blogger for The Huffington Post as well as a Blogger/Moderator for MultipleSclerosis.net and Healthline.

Corinne Rodrigues

Monday 23rd of November 2015

I thought I found my tribe and spent several years nurturing those relationships only to have them blow up in my face! No, I'm not looking for pity, Cathy. I've realized that sometimes we just move on. I'm so glad now to find a lovely online tribe and another tribe offline!

Jennifer

Friday 20th of November 2015

I found my tribe in middle-school and we still get together and have fun. My mother met her tribe in high school too, they're in their 90's now and still get together to laugh.

Barbara Hammond

Friday 20th of November 2015

It is so true. One of my favorite sayings is, 'The best time in life is when your family become your friends and your friends become family.' It a blessing. b

Cathy Chester

Friday 20th of November 2015

Oh, I love that quote, Barbara. Thank you for sharing it!

Elaine Ambrose

Friday 20th of November 2015

So true, Cathy. I'm thankful I've found so many friends through our midlife connections. I hope they'll still claim me when I tumble out the eligibility window. I'm only middle-age if I live to be 128!

Cathy Chester

Friday 20th of November 2015

Who cares about the number? Our friendships will last till whatever day we say adios, Elaine. In other words...for a long, long time!

WendysHat

Friday 20th of November 2015

Great thoughts! I am lucky to have lots and lots of longtime, new, online and real life friends myself! I cherish all of them and hope never to have a bad one. I'm also lucky to live in my hometown where my childhood friends and I meet often, along with my high school friends, and we love it. Although I agree about the cell phone distraction problem and raising children, luckily the internet has kept many long distant friendships alive for me.

Cathy Chester

Friday 20th of November 2015

Yes, the Internet brought us many like-minded midlife women bloggers and aren't we so blessed, Wendy, to have that? Yes, indeed. You are twice blessed with friends on and offline. Yay!

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