Significant others: Why you should focus on finding your tribe, rather than the one

in life •  last year

We've all heard the saying 'bros over hos', and I suppose the female equivalent would be...'hos over bros'? That doesn't sound right, but screw it, it doesn't matter what you call it, the principle is the same.

One of the biggest struggles of life is finding the one, the soulmate, the partner of your dreams. And I doubt I need to tell you that it's a shattering journey that wrecks havoc through your life, brings with it pain and tears, also a lot of happiness, sure, but loads of disappointments, as well.
We spend hours a day pouring over our phones, checking if our current SO is online, whether he's seen our text, who's liked his pics etc. We worry over all sorts of tiny details, like why he sounded like he was eating a raspberry when we spoke on the phone and whether or not he took offense at the fact that we don't want to go cycling with him. Really weird stuff, you know. And this becomes our day-to-day, our whole existence starts to resolve around these weird details about this one individual. It's all about getting a wax and doing your hair and which shirt looks better. You know, all that.
Naturally, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

And it's great, I'm not saying it's not. Far from it. This isn't a guys against girls post, because I don't see the world as a war between sexes, but rather a collaboration, a co-existence. So, it's not about the superiority of women. No. It's about loyalty.

And why you should always be loyal to your girlfriends first. Or, you know, guy friends. (Obviously, being a girl, I write from a...girl's POV)


What I'm saying is that you spend so much time and so many resources trying to find the ideal romantic partner. And maybe, just maybe, you've been looking in the wrong place.

I mean, let's be honest, why do we search for a romantic partner? Well, for comfort, for security, to know that someone has our back and will be there through thick and thin, to have someone we can talk to, someone we can confide in. To have someone who will engage in our silliness and support us through any idea that might come through our heads – from the plain idiotic to the absolutely brilliant. To have someone we can share passions with, like favorite books or binge on favorite TV shows together.
This might sound selfish, but it's not, it's normal. We all have certain needs and a lot of those are emotional, so it's only natural to look for someone who can help fulfill those needs.

But maybe we shouldn't expect or depend on our romantic partners to fulfill those needs and fill up those empty spaces. Why? Because the cases in which you come across the ideal partner early in life are rare, at best. And until you do find someone you can truly work with, you go through a lot of relationships.
And those end.

Nothing lasts forever...

Well, some things do. Like friendship. You see these quotes online about how, at some point, you're no longer friends – you're family. And I think that's true. That's how things work, because you've been together for so long and you just function, together, somehow. You have become part of the same tribe.
And a tribe means a lot, like...

  • Loyalty.

Your tribe won't cheat.
Now, everyone's had a friend who has disappointed them, at some point in life, which is exactly why I didn't say your friends won't cheat. Because this doesn't refer to anyone that you are friendly with. This is about that small circle of people that you have a bond with, those few really close friends that you have connected with. You know who I'm talking about.
And chances are that if you do, you probably also know that those friends are loyal to the death. And you are loyal to them, in return. There are very few things you wouldn't ditch for your tribe. And if one of those friends needs you, you know you'd drop everything and go be with them. And they would do the same for you.
Chances are your tribe has helped you go through more than one bad breakup, already. They've eaten ice-cream with you and probably offered a blood sacrifice against the bastard who broke your heart.
That's the thing with your tribe of friends, you won't ever have to worry about them liking another woman's perky butt ('cause they wouldn't) or find them having coffee with some other chick (again, they wouldn't).

  • Honesty.


Your true friends will always be honest with you. Always. If they're not, well, you know they're not really your friends. And you can check this easily, with yourself. If there are things you wouldn't tell them or subjects you don't feel comfortable approaching with them, then are you really that close?
That's what friends do. They call you out on your bullshit, it's just part of the job description. So, a friend will tell you if they don't like the guy you're seeing. They won't stop talking to you or try to blackmail you out of seeing them, but they will express their concern. They will make it more than obvious that they're not big fans. And they will tell you why.

True friends can tell each other anything - if your butt looks big in your favorite jeans, or if you've got a bit of salad between your teeth or if you have put on some pounds lately, or if you should have studied harder for that last exam. You know what bothers them about your behavior and what they like. And you'll be able to tell them anything. There's great freedom to be found in true friendship.

  • Silliness.


Yes. So much yes. Again, I'm sure this has happened to you – that you got a call from one of your best friends, trying to enroll you into some crazy-ass plan. And you went with it. Because that's what friends do, if your sister asks you to help out with something, no matter how silly or weird you think it is (not dangerous, though), you do it. You're there, when needed.

Yesterday, I went out with one of my oldest friends. She wanted to take photos for her Instagram, or whatever (I don't really do social media), 'cause she'd seen some chick who had really nice pics that she liked. Now, this is not my sort of thing. I hate sitting for pictures, in general, and I've always had something against those chicks with loads of poses and fancy photos online. When I saw those online, I'd think – what poor sod takes those photos? (Literally hundreds of shots)
Well, apparently best friends so. I'm not gonna lie, I posed for photos, too. I could lie and say I was roped into it, but you know what the coolest part was? That it was fun. A LOT of fun.
And we both felt really good and really beautiful. Apparently, photo shoots with friends are and insane moodbooster.

And I realized, while doing this, that this isn't something you'd do with strangers, or new friends. Because you're not that comfortable with them, you want to impress them and look cool and all that. Not even with a boyfriend, if you're self-conscious.
But, with a best friend, you don't have that problem. You don't think 'Gosh, I look silly'. You think 'This is my best friend, they're gonna love me no matter how silly I look'.

  • Believing.


Recently, I had this aha moment, when I realized what a crucial part of any relationship is believing in the other person.
How important it is that you share, or at least support and believe in their dreams. And how screwed a situation is if you don't.
Even if you don't think it's the best thing, you speak your mind and whatever opposition you might have, but then you get behind the dream, an help them achieve it, in any way you can. You have to, if it's what your friend wants, then it's what you want.
I realized this with the friend I mentioned earlier, that I care and believe in her dreams, because she has choosen them. Because she wants them, so they are important to me, also.
And that's what your tribe does, they support you through thick and thin, and they push you to reach for the stars. They believe in you and they're excited when you do something you're proud of, even if it's not something they would choose for themselves. Even if it's not a passion you share, or whatever.
I want you to succeed, because it's important to you.
It's that easy.

So, this is why I think we should focus on finding worthwhile friends and building our tribe, rather than meeting an ideal romantic partner.

I think this is why TV shows and movies, like Sex and the City, depict groups of friends and their adventures, rather than a couple. I mean, think about it, there aren't that many long-lasting shows that focus on a romantic relationship, are there? Not without the relationship being very tumultuous. No, most long-lasting, successful shows focus on friendship, of some sort, whether it's a group of girls, or guys, or a mixed group, or friendship between a man and woman, it's always friendship that's at the heart of those shows, not romance.
And this is something I think about more, as I grow older – that perhaps it's not Prince Charming I should be searching for, but real friends. I think those are the real heroes.

Besides, everyone knows women live longer than men. So maybe you should focus on finding girlfriends to go out with, when you're 85 and single.

Again, this post isn't against romantic love, by no means. And friendship and romance don't exclude each other. So go for it, pursue your romantic interests, have fun, just remember who's going to eat ice-cream with you if it doesn't work out. Also, as I said I speak for girls, since I am a girl, but I think guys should focus on friendship, too.

Thank you for reading!


Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Good write-up. You mentioned ladies having longer life span than men, I'm seeing that for the first time, I would like you to back it up with stat. To the main issue, true friends are as scarce as true relationship too, don't you think ? And both requires good amount of time to become awesome. My conclusion, friendship and relationship both tend to suffer the same fate, the only difference is amount of time invested by parties involved.

There are a lot of interesting articles online on that, I don't know if it's true or not, but...
I agree, you have to work for a good friend and they're hard to find. Although I do believe that a true friend will stick by you a lot longer...

I hear you loud and clear, it's just that I don't fully agree. I have some lifelong friends, some live in my country although a great distance away from me, and another lives in the middle east (I am in South Africa). When we see each other, we just pick up from where we left off and carry on. On the other hand, I've been married for 26 years ... Brian and I have very different perceptions and dreams (yes even at 60 I still have dreams, wishes), but it's good to have that person who can be both partner and friend, and even though there are times I feel like pushing him off a cliff, we enjoy discovering new things in the universe, from spiritual to basic things, and pursuing them together. Ultimately, it's a very personal issue, and whether you choose tribe or soulmate, you can enjoy the ride!


No, I agree, there are many friendships for which distance doesn't mean a thing. You don't have to talk every day to keep the bond strong, but it's because those friendships have existed for a really long time and have been built over time..

it's good to have that person who can be both partner and friend

I totally agree with you on this. It's crucial, I think, that for a good relationship, there's friendship. It has to be based on friendship, first and foremost, I believe. And I don't think you have to choose one, it was more of a musing that so many people fight to find a romantic partner that we tend to ignore looking for worthwhile friends, and it's often those that are going to be around longer. And I think that's a bit strange, that we fight so hard for the shorter relationship (not always, but it often is). And I'm not saying that if you have friends, you shouldn't look for a partner or get married or whatever. Not at all. :)


Actually, the friend I mentioned who lives in the Middle East has never married. We've been friends for over 30 years. She has a great career as a teacher, travels, and found her tribe along the way. My focus has been on my family - husband, son and now a little granddaughter, as well as my brothers and sister. It wasn't what I had envisaged for my life, but I made the choice to get married in my early thirties. I believe God sees the bigger picture and upsets the apple cart at will, guiding us to make choices. Well, that's my take on it anyway ... my excuse for some of the strange decisions I've made :)


No, I agree. Again, I'm not saying friends should take the place of any other important relationship - like SO or family. I'm big on family myself, both on the part that's already here - my mom&brother - and the one to come - the partner and most importantly (for me), the children.

But yes, I think it really is a personal thing, it's different from individual to individual, you know - what makes them happy isn't what makes you happy. And vice-versa.

Well pointed out as always. We should never lose track of who we are and who was always there for us. I have a good friend that always told me, "love your partner with most of your heart, but remember to keep some of that love for yourself and what you hold dear."


Thank you :)
No, indeed, no romantic partner should justify losing touch with your friends.