Building Your Tribe

“Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.”-Sicilian Proverb

This quote speaks to me for two reasons: 1. My family is Sicilian. 2. It’s the truth.

Today is National Friendship Day and I can’t help but be grateful for the friends I have in my life. When I was writing this, I stopped to think about the friends who have come and gone and those who are still with me throughout my life.

Some have been with me for “reasons or seasons.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back I needed these friends in my life at the exact moment and time they were there. There were the “single ladies,” the “Zumba ladies,” and “the commiserating coworkers.” Now that I’m officially in my mid-30s, I can say that I spent most of my 20s trying to figure out who I was, what I would tolerate, and what kind of people I wanted in my life. Perhaps this is the reason that so many came and went. I can look back on these times and fondly remember them for what they were: moments of happiness that helped shape the person I am today.

At this point in my life, I’m focused on surrounding myself with people who “feed my soul.” I spend my time around people who are positive, happy, energetic, and have a strong passion for living, just as I do. I’m very selective of who I spend my time with because time is precious and when I’m saying ‘yes’ to someone, it means I’m saying ‘no’ to someone else or something else. If the connection isn’t there and our values don’t line up, I’m probably not going to invest my time in growing a friendship with someone. When I moved to Raleigh two and a half years ago, I made a commitment to myself to make friends on my own. I didn’t want to meet all of my friends through my partner, because if it didn’t work out, I would have no relationship and no friends.

And finally, there are a few special people who have been with me for more than half my life. I have a circle of girlfriends in Charlotte who I’ve had some of the best times in my life with. I’m also blessed to have the same core friends since high school and college. These friends are part of my soul. We’ve seen each other through the worst times of our lives. We’ve celebrated birthdays, children being born and growing older, all of us finding happiness in our relationships, and so much more. These are the friends that I can text ‘I need you’ at 2 AM and they will come, no questions asked.

Friendship is such an important part of my self-care and self-love routine. You need a tribe. Surround yourself with people who raise you up and do not bring you down. Find people who will challenge you and push you to be the best version of yourself, to follow your dreams, and to live life to the fullest. It’s important to have a life outside of your significant other so that you can thrive on your own. Find friends who will love and support you no matter what. Celebrate them today and every day!

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