December 14, 2016

Finding an Online Tribe & Loving Them Hard


I have been an adult for quite some time. I have two degrees (blah... student debt), a husband, a kid, a mortgage, a car note, and a full time job. My days mostly consist of rushing to get to work, working, and then enjoying my daughter for a few hours before she goes to bed. Then of course, there is always laundry to do, Netflix shows to be binged, and let's face it --- that wine doesn't drink itself. Oh, and occasionally I have to shower. 

I'll be honest -- "friendships" in the adult world are hard AF.

In high school, I could ride around town after school with friends, blast Eminem, and dream about life in another town. In college, I could get dolled up and party until the wee hours of the morning with my girls and relish in the fact that I was young and unbreakable. In law school, I could skip a class and enjoy margaritas on a patio with my friends while chatting about crazy professors. 

Now? In the real world, friendships are much more difficult. Occasionally I can grab lunch with someone when they aren't in court and I'm not on a teleconference. On rare occasions, I might leave the mounds of dirty laundry and undone household projects behind and actually meet up with a friend on the weekend to chat about what a shitshow adulthood really is and lament the fact that no one warned us. These moments are freeing and grand, but they are rare. Very rare.
I recently got to meet up with a fellow tribe mom, Stacy, for shopping and margaritas!
So what is a woman to do when she needs a full-time but low maintenance tribe?
She seeks one out.

I'm here to confess that my tribe is a group of women -- fellow mothers -- that I met online

I really shouldn't be surprised that I met my friends this way. After all, Adam and I met online. But meeting someone online initially is quite different than only interacting with someone virtually. A few years ago, a more cynical Kate would have told you that you cannot be true friends with someone you have never met. That Kate was wrong. Blogging itself initially opened me up to the idea of online friends. I met wonderful women, like Amber Thomas, who I came to admire and adore despite never once "meeting."

Prior to becoming a mother, motherhood scared me. I was never one to seek out babies and the look on my face when someone asked if I wanted to babysit their small child probably gave away my abject terror. So when I was pregnant, I knew that I needed to find like minded women to help assure me that I would somehow survive and that maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't screw it all up completely. I went in search of these women and much to my surprise, I met them online.

Let me just say this -- an online tribe is a godsend for adult friendships!

My tribe is always at my fingertips. We chat on Facebook and through an app called GroupMe. Our children are all roughly the same age so we share stories and trade mothering secrets and techniques. We often complain about long work days or jokingly plot about places to bury the bodies of annoying spouses. We ask for advice and we give reassurance on everything from teething to fashion to politics. We come from all different walks of life and live in all different corners of the US and Canada. Some of us have more than one kid. Some of us are divorced. Some of us work full-time. Some of us are stay at home moms. Our uniting thread is the fact that we all sought out our tribe and that we all continue to come back to care and support one another regardless of our differences.

As the holiday approach, we are exchanging Christmas cards and gifts and planning future meetups. Some of us have already gotten together in real life and all of those have been fun. But when you have an online tribe -- meetups are only a small part of the overall picture. You see, our friendships were formed and built online. So, while never meeting face to face isn't ideal, it also doesn't kill the friendships. The friendships thrive on so little effort and as a busy adult, that is so freeing.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't have "real life" friends or that they shouldn't try to make an "effort" in their friendships. They should. I do. But with my "real life" friends, going long periods of time without seeing each other face to face often feels like defeat. It is disheartening and when we do ultimately get together, we end up putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it again.. and SOONER this time.

With my online tribe that kind of pressure just doesn't exist. They are always there for me without any guilt-ridden aftertaste. I can turn to them when my day is slow and share baby pictures or I chat with them for hours about the West World season finale. Really, the only downside of having an online tribe is having to admit to "real life" people that some of your best friends "live in" your phone or computer. But that is a fact for me now -- 26 of my best friends are badass moms who I have never met in person. They are funny. They are sarcastic. They are passionate. They are kind. They are supportive. They are all different. And most importantly, they are all my Tribe.

So when being an adult and having adult friendships becomes hard, I would always recommend finding an online tribe and loving them hard.

10/10... would online Tribe again! (<--- A little Tribe humor)

5 comments :

  1. I find myself frequently wondering what adults did before social media. I mean, really. It is SO HARD to find true friends, people that you can 100% be yourself around, ESPECIALLY without the use of social media. I met my three best friends online, none of whom are actually local to me. Social media & blogging have been an amazing way to build relationships and meet people!

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  2. I love this idea - I have a few online friends through blogging that I have never met!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  3. Oh I love this post and it is so true! When I talk to my "in my life friends" about one of my online friends they get this crazy look like I'm in a cult or something. If they only knew how important these gals are in my life.

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  4. Can I ask a silly question? How did you go about this? Did you just start messaging people like "hey, I want to be your friend". How do you know that the people your reaching out to are genuinely who they say they are? I would LOVE to have an online tribe of friends but I don't know where to start. Would love some advice :)

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  5. I actually met one of my now best friends on Twitter by just randomly responding to her tweet about couponing.. We had a "friend date" and the rest is history! I think the internet is a great way to find friends who are like minded. You can specifically search for them. Typing that out sounds weird, but it is true. Glad you found your tribe!

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