Tribal needs

by arianne

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Last week I waxed poetic about who we consider to be our “friends”. We seem to bond much faster to our online friends (our “2.0 friends”, as Savvy Auntie would call them) than real life friends despite possibly never meeting these 2.0-ers in person (I’ve told people I’ve never met all about what I find in my bra. I’m extremely fascinating people, come join my tribe.), Whether it be because we feel free enough to pour our hearts out into an email, a blog post or even a Tweet, the result is the same–we usually have more online friends than face to face friends. Dunbar’s Number talks about the theory that we can only have 150 relationships at a time and still remain connected and healthy. Once you go past that, things get unstable. Relationships aren’t deep, and at best they are as unsatisfying as watching an episode of Gossip Girl. You just want more.

But what I find so fascinating about all the blogging and social media networking going on, is that people are getting back to living within a “tribe”. Some people have their tribe in real life, some online, or it may a mixture of both. I believe that we won’t really ever be happy until we find our tribe, and this postmodern world has led us into spread out cities and total isolation. Stepping out onto the streets and trying to connect is pretty much impossible. In my town we don’t even have sidewalks, and in big cities everyone is in a rush and on a mission. It’s getting harder and harder to meet genuine, authentic people, and it takes forever to get to an intimate friendship that can fill that tribal need.

Blogging, the comments on blogs and sites like Twitter are taking this postmodern-spreading-out mentality and bringing us all back together. Neo-tribalists seek for us to return to the tribe mentality, and like me they believe that we will never truly find happiness unless we are in a tribe. As most of us know, there was a time way back in the day when we literally lived in villages as a tribe. Everyone helped everyone, other mothers took care of new mamas, life was simple, it was hard work and it was complete. Sure there were people that didn’t get along, one guy stole another guy’s goat one time, and the whole village was talking about it for weeks. But at the end of the day, at least they were THERE to even talk about it. Need more proof? One of our biggest punishments in prisons right now is solitary confinement. It’s actually torture to deprive a person from human touch.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that we should start knocking on neighbors’ doors asking them to listen to our deepest secrets, many of us don’t even LIKE our neighbors. But we didn’t pick those people, for the most part. They just bought the house next door and started making our lives miserable, what with all the dog barking incessantly just because I’m standing in my kitchen and you can see me, mutt. Ahem.

The modern tribe is made up of our own special peeps. I think that while some people believe that going online means you are avoiding people, for me going online has brought me to my tribe. I’ve even found my core tribe of women on blogs, and because God is cool like that, these same women live by me. How’s that for filling a tribal need?

So I’d like to know, have you found your tribe? Are you actively seeking one? Don’t ever give up, because your tribe is out there, promise. You will find them, or they will find you. And then you can get together and re-enact this dance and think you are the coolest tribe around. Ladies, be prepared.

**Thanks to Queen of Spain for that both disturbing and exciting video.

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