Founder Story: Tribe
I’ve always enjoyed the company of a good friend. The kinds of life-expanding conversations and experiences that can come from it, among other things. Good friends are not just a part of my life, they’re a part of me. A part of my identity. So I’m not whole without them.
But I’ve never been a very good keeper of friends. I’ve always blamed my introversion. The kinds of things I find myself spending time on are so often solitary activities. And when I had kids, and I was starting a business, time became even more precious. I was constantly on the lookout for where I could find more time. And since I spent less and less time on me and my hobbies, whenever I DID find free time, I so often wanted to use it to tuck away into a quiet corner and enjoy the peace that accompanies solitude.
On top of that, stepping away from my wife for the evening to hang out with friends always came with a little feeling of guilt. Afterall, marriages are relationships too, ones that deserve focus and attention. It became harder and harder to justify tribe time.
At some point, we decided it was necessary for our mental health, and that letting each other get that feeling of guilt wasn’t right. We needed a fair way of “giving each other permission” to go out with friends. So we did.
We decided on a new rule: At least once a month, each of us should make an attempt to go out for the evening with our friends guilt-free. Now maybe once a month isn’t enough, but the plan worked. It forced me to think about, and even get EXCITED about, what I might do that month. It caused me to prioritize that important thing that I previously wasn’t prioritizing. And when the time came, I no longer felt guilty, because we each agreed to it and we were each taking our turn.
For the record, we have a rule for Mom and Dad Date Night too, so I guess we’re just rule people. Do what works for you!
Here’s my final thought: The other thing about being an introvert that kept me from wanting to be social is that large gatherings weren’t for me. The whole event would give me a bunch of anxiety, and I would leave exhausted, not rejuvenated. I realized that my social time is precious and I can’t be spending it the way extroverts want me to – in large groups. For me, an intimate gathering of 3-5 people is perfect. So I started to be more conscious of that and tried to curate more occasions that met my needs. This also helped me go from dreading the social outing to looking forward to it.