When I was younger, I remember how much I wanted to be part of the ‘popular’ clique.
I had moved from New York to Pennsylvania when I was 12 and more than anything in the world I just wanted to fit in. We had moved in the summer, and I was eagerly looking forward to starting 7th grade and making lots of new friends.
It.didn’t.happen…at least not right away. The town we had moved to was very small, very old family, and very cliquey.
A tough nut to crack for a 12 year old who was already struggling mightily with self esteem and confidence.
I’ll never forget changing into my old gym uniform, which was very different from the ones at my new school, and seeing and feeling every eye looking down their nose at me. I didn’t fit in and because I didn’t fit in somewhere, I tried to fit in everywhere.
I was immediately taken back to that place last week during a conversation with a friend about having a tribe.
“Your problem” she said “is that you haven’t picked a camp (read TRIBE) to hang out with”.
“There are different camps online” she continued, “and I see you bouncing from one to the other; it’s confusing for others to know how to identify with you”.
“Well” I replied “I find lots of different people interesting”.
“And that’s your problem.”
On a certain level, I get it. I really do. On another level I find it really chafes my sense of individualization and inclusion (sounds like a paradox, but it’s not).
Online, the buzz words are “tribe”, “community”, and “like-minded”. Some love the word tribe, others loathe it; personally I don’t care what you call it…it really is semantics sweet stuff; ultimately it’s about the people you want to hang with.
As I reflected on the conversation, what I realized is that when you pick a tribe, you are also picking the values and beliefs that you want to be associated with.
Sounds simple on the surface, but it’s a deeper issue than I initially realized…particularly as a service based entrepreneur who conducts business online (for those of you who do, you know exactly what I mean).
What do you think?
Have we exchanged the word clique for the more acceptable words of tribe and community, or is it truly about finding a group of people who you resonate with and who speak your ‘language’?
Do you feel like you belong to a tribe or community? I’d love to hear what you think 🙂