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How to Build Your Friendships in Your Twenties

Once high school graduation comes and goes, life changes.

A lot.

We no longer fall into the predictable school routine of seeing the same faces everyday. Our classmates, teachers, athletic coaches, tutors, extracurricular directors, and principals ultimately become past tense once that diploma falls into our hands.

In a flash, our adolescence is a tiny dot in our rear view mirrors.

In its wake we become twenty-somethings. Our twenties transition us into college students, graduate students, professionals, mothers, fathers, homeowners, and the lot. We lose touch with our high school comrades, move away from our childhood homes, and bid farewell to the sweet memories of our pesky, memorable teenage years.

For better or for worse, our tribes change.

What happens, then, when you realize you don’t have that same group of friends you once did? How do you cope with knowing how distant you’ve become from your parents and siblings? Who do you turn to when the going gets tough?

These questions are ones many of us have faced whilst metamorphosing from adolescents into full-fledged adults. We’re all a little bit lost, a tad uncertain, and left wondering who really is part of our tribe from this point forward.

Luckily, the GenTwenty crew is here to help. We want to aid twenty-somethings like you in building your tribe in your twenties. We don’t want anyone to wonder who, what, when, where, or why when it comes to making your tribe stick as an adult.

We want you to know what a tribe is, who is involved, when they’ll be there for you, where you can find them, and ultimately why you need a tribe at all!

Let’s break it down for you:

What is a tribe? Great question!

By definition, a tribe is a social division, typically consisting of families and/or communities linked by shared beliefs. These commonalities can be based on social, economic, religious, or blood ties. Think of your tribe as your clan. It’s a circle of people you associate with, who each share a common culture banding everyone involved together.

Now that you understand what a tribe is, you may begin to wonder who is involved.

 For some, a tribe can be large, consisting of boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, children, grandchildren, step-children, step-parents, second cousins, friends, work colleagues, acquaintances, and more. For others, a tribe is rather small and intimate, consisting of maybe only a couple blood relatives and friends. Who YOU choose to invite into YOUR tribe is YOUR decision. Got it?

Once you figure out who is in your tribe, you might want to determine when you’ll need them.

This varies for everyone. Some people need their relatives and/or friends to help them make big decisions, such as relocating for a new job or buying a first home. Conversely, other people may only need attention from their tribe during holidays or big celebrations. You ultimately decide how involved you want your tribe to be.

You may want to connect with members of your tribe for specific reasons (e.g. relationship advice, shared hobbies, planning events, etc.), while others are better fit to be looped in during celebrations (e.g. graduation ceremony, wedding, birth of a child, etc.). The choice is yours and yours alone.

Your tribe is probably going to be spread out across the world.

Not every member of your tribe will live three houses down the road from you. Your closest friends and relatives may be scattered throughout different states, time-zones, and countries. Luckily, our digital age has made communication easy no matter where we live. If your tribe lives miles and miles away, they can always be found, even if through email or a text message!

We all need a tribe for different reasons: to vent, laugh, joke, cry, spill our darkest secrets, celebrate milestones, inspire, reach goals, create new goals, and much, much more.

Members of our tribe bring friendship, romance, trust, honesty, love, laughter, emotion, and connection into our lives, just as we bring the same into theirs. Your tribe should never take anything away from who you are or the life you want to live. Build your tribe in a way that makes you a stronger person and adds meaning to your life. That’s when you’ll know your tribe is a healthy circle of people you can call your own.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Your tribe should never take anything away from who you are or the life you want to live.” quote=”Your tribe should never take anything away from who you are or the life you want to live.”]

Knowing what a tribe is, who should be involved, where to find them, when to connect with them, and ultimately why can help you work towards making a tribe of your own. Yet, maybe you still need more tips on how to actually put this advice into good practice?

Once again, GenTwenty  is here to help! We want you to be in complete control of your tribe. We aim to assist you in avoiding negativity, creating happiness, and knowing when to be autonomous versus collaborative.

Here are five tips on how to put building a tribe in your twenties into good practice:

1. Always aim for happiness.

Regardless of blood ties, childhood friendships, or obligatory step-family members, you must push yourself to aim for happiness when creating your tribe. You don’t have to include people who make you miserable, just because you’ve known him/her since the second grade.

Dad’s new girlfriend? Yeah, she doesn’t have to be in your tribe if she doesn’t make you happy. Of course, it’s important to respect these people, but keep them and their opinions at a distance. If there are people in your life who don’t bring you happiness, don’t invite them into your tribe. They won’t fit.

2. Abolish negativity.

Ridding your life of negativity goes hand-in-hand with aiming for happiness. You can’t be happy if you’re shouldering too much pessimism! Politely tell anyone with snide remarks, criticism (that isn’t constructive), mockery, jabs, or blatant rudeness that you don’t care for their opinions. These are not the people you want to invite into your tribe. Keep these kinds of relationships at a distance and instead focus on the optimism in your life. Optimistic people are the kind you want in your tribe, after all.

3. Remind your tribe members of when they’re needed. 

It’s perfectly acceptable to ask your mom to give you space when it comes to needing relationship advice, and instead turning to a close friend to vent about that annoying thing your significant other did. It’s equally as expected you may take tips about financial goals from your parents or older relatives, rather than a friend given the varying levels of experience on the matter.

Your tribe members will be needed for different things. You need to be in the driver’s seat. Only you can dictate when a specific tribe member is a good fit for the milestone, advice, or event going on in your life. Gently remind your tribe when they’re needed and when they’re not.

4. Handpick the best ones. 

The best tip to put building a tribe in your twenties into good practice is to always remember to pick the best tribe members possible. If you want to invite more people into your clan, consider joining a book club, finding new friends who share your interests and hobbies, and network to meet new people. Look outside of the group of people you grew up with. Half the fun of being an adult is the freedom to start fresh and make your life the way you want it to be. Part of that journey is finding the right people and energy to surround yourself with. Don’t be afraid!

5. Be your best self. 

At GenTwenty, this is our mantra. Being your best self means being true to who you are. In order for you to thrive in life and be your healthiest, happiest, most successful self you need to make your goals priorities. Be certain your tribe adds more to your life than it takes. Don’t allow anyone to sidetrack you, pressure you, change your mind, or hold you back. Being your best self should be your ultimate goal. If your tribe supports you, you should be well on your way to reaching your goals and being that absolute best you can be!

GenTwenty’s tribe follows these tips each and every single day. We are a collection of twenty-somethings from all over the world who share beliefs in our mission, goals, and purpose. We support each other, offer constructive criticism when needed, share feedback, act as each other’s cheerleaders, and ultimately push one another to be our best selves, too.

We hope you remember just how critical having a tribe is, especially during the most unknown, unstable, and defining chapter of our lives. You need your tribe to be your support system through the good and bad, light and dark, ups and downs. Pick ’em well!

And remember, here at GenTwenty we can be your tribe, too!

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.