Finding Your People

I have always liked thinking about the relative simplicity of early humans. I imagine that they lacked the need to organize their peers into little piles like we do today: best friends, colleagues, schoolmates, hated enemies, people they drank with, people they prayed with. There was no hustle and bustle to meet with the disparate groups at dumb meetings. All the human interaction our distant relatives needed could be found within their clans.

The clan just was. In the day-to-day task of survival, there was no time or necessity to look for others outside it who you could “identify” with better or who would support your idealized image of yourself. You were too busy inventing fire, not because you wanted to patent it, but because you needed it to survive. There was no “unfriending” if someone looked at you weird or said something that ran counter to your view of the fire. You needed your cavemates, so you coped with them no matter how they treated you.

Or you clubbed them. Same difference.

The irony of my view of early humanity is that life then wasn’t simple at all. People died young because their bodies were spent from a lifetime of toil and hardship. They were busy laying the groundwork for our contemporary society. They were making fire so we could progress to a time when attending power lunches was as compulsory as awaking with the sun.

I’m not here to compete with those early humans, though. I know my life is cushier and iPadier, but there is no need to apologize for that or repent that I was born in a time when I have the option to have an epidural when I deliver the one child I’ll ever have. We modern folk get into a pattern where we like to out-hardship each other. The wars fought between working moms and stay-at-home moms come to mind; there is constant banter between who has it tougher, when in actuality each set of circumstances presents its own challenges. Parenthood is never easy in any of its forms. And thus is humanity, no matter what epoch you’re born into.

Unlike the cavemen, we live in a time when we have a need to venture out of the tribes we’re born into to find our people – the people who add texture to our lives. It’s now largely safe to do so (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. And our moms.) Much like the early nomads, we travel the Earth to look for the things and people that click for us and who make sense within the personae we try to craft for ourselves. We open our mouths and talk along the way so we can see if those we meet speak our language.

In my experience, they often don’t. It’s frustrating to look for a group that I can be a part of and then just get shut out again and again because I just don’t fit neatly within it. It’s not that their tribe is excluding me intentionally; the rejection is mutual because they don’t feel right to me either. Did those ancient humans even have this luxury of choosing confidantes and allies from a large pool?

A couple of my people. You had to have seen that coming, right?

A couple of my people. You had to have seen that coming, right?

But then, through trial and heartbreak and very literal searching, we find them: the people we can pour our hearts out to safely. They help us understand the complexities of this overwhelming world we’ve created, a world that’s moved beyond hunting and gathering and instead fills its days with status updates and Instagrammed omelettes. We don’t have to apologize for our quirks and foibles to them because they just get us. They understand the parts of us that we don’t even understand ourselves, and we both grow out of the experiences we have together. They challenge us in a nonconfrontational way to be our best selves.

These are our new, modern clans: the people we find who help us keep our paltry fires flickering even when the rain starts pouring. Our people are our families, yes, but they are also the kindred spirits we meet along the way. The coworker who becomes a friend when they catch you crying in the bathroom, the classmate you barely noticed at first but who eventually becomes your spouse, the person behind the screen who reads your story and tells you they love you for it.

We pick our people up in unexpected places and somehow form a community that our predecessors would identify as a tribe, a tribe that keeps the world small even as it expands around us.

Who are your people? 

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  1. My family, of course, and my OTHER family, those crazy bellmen with whom I kill time and brain cells…

    1. When I was working in the service industry, I also felt an incredible kinship with my coworkers too. It’s us against the world, very literally. Thanks, Hookster ;D

  2. My people are my daughter and her husband and my granddaughters, and to some extent my sister and brother and my nieces and nephews. And I can’t leave out my beloved Japanese Chins Ernie and Ralphy. They are sort of my people. My CASA kids are also included as my people while they are in my care because I certainly love them and care about them so much.

    1. Animals can be your people too! I had a cat named Spotty when I was growing up, and I swear she understood me on a very deep level. (When I was a teen, we were equally angry with the world. Haha.)

  3. I have three friends, who I all picked up along the way, through other friends who I was forced to tribe up with (thru school), but I have no contact with anymore, because they became something that didn’t click with me. Mutual rejection, as you put it so well.

    There are three friends however, that I clicked with from the get-go and I will be happy to hang out with them again once we move back to the civilized world — in AUGUST! :-)

    1. Yay! Fist pump to the civilized world! We also look forward to moving back to civilization in the next year or so, and I look forward to linking back up with my people and seeing them on an everyday basis. Thanks, Daan!

  4. An excellent question!
    I’ll let you know when I figure that out.

    1. It’s harder to determine than most people would think! Thanks, Guap.

    2. calahan · · Reply

      Can I be in your clan, Guap? Pleeeassseee?

      1. Ha! I was going to ask you the same thing!

        1. calahan · · Reply

          You’re welcome to be in my clan. (Just note that mine is a clan and not a klan.)

  5. What an interesting way of looking at it. Growing up, I thought of it in terms of my own circles expanding. I clicked more with my high school friends than my grade school friends because I had a bigger pool to choose from, and the pattern repeated when I went to college and eventually had the internet to assist me in making connections.

    But yeah, society definitely has had that same expansion of options.

    1. College was great for me too when it came to meeting people. I was part of a ridiculous assortment of groups and organizations, but it was the people I ended up seeing over and over at coffee shops and who I did my work-study with that I really bonded with.

  6. Emily, you most definitely are one of my people ~ I love people; I get a lot of energy from being around others that I feel close to – be it in person, in a class, online, inline – where ever – people have the the ability to lift me up. I love eye-contact and a smile; especially when you see that your smile has made them smile, or vise versa. I especially love the quick connections we might make with someone briefly based on a mutual understanding of the specific situation you might find yourself in.

    Such a well written and thought out post – kudos… it made me a little weepy :)

    1. Awww, thanks! You are one of my people too. I’m really lucky to have this blogging community here for me. I get so much inspiration and energy from you and the rest of our little “blogging family.”

      1. That’s cause we’re cute as all get out… not as cute as wee cee in glasses and a scarf, but close…

        1. I’m pretty sure she has us all beat in the cuteness department. And boy howdy, does she know it.

  7. Emily , this post has to rank as one of your most brilliant and thought provoking. Connecting today has gotten so complicated, but our need to connect stays the same. I too have thought long and hard on our struggles to find our people these days. You know who my people are, and yes, you are so much one of mine!

    1. Thank you, MB! You and the rest of your clan count among my most prized people as well. You played (and still play) a substantial role in bringing me up ;D

  8. Quite a thought provoking post, Emily. I love that picture of your peeps in their socks. Doting daddy B is so handsome and C, well, she’s just the most adorable baby ever. My posse is comprised of a close cluster of friends I’ve cultivated over the course of living in New York for 30+ years, but I still maintain very strong ties to my family and my best friend from college who live out west. In between, I’ve developed these unanticipated relationships with people I’ve met through my blog, including the half dozen (and counting) that I’ve met in Real Life. The ace copy editor who edited my book, I met her through a fellow blogger. Since we worked so closely on my book, my editor and I have become very good friends. She jokes that my book is “a chick magnet”. Seriously, if you’re really living your circle will continuing to keep growing.

    1. I love reading about you and all your people on your blog and in your book! Milton and Coco sound like such wonderful people to go to when you need your sails filled.

      I never anticipated all the wonderful people (you included) I’d come into contact with through blogging, either. In my town the only writing groups that I know about are for people trying to enter the romance novel biz, so I need a bit more. Blogging has made my world smaller and I feel such kinship and encouragement through my fellow WordPressers.

  9. Teresa Pate · · Reply

    Emily, This is the sweetest! Glad I’m your mom / people.

    1. I’m glad you’re my people too! xoxo

  10. I love, love, LOVE this post. My people are my family of course, the boyfriend, and my friends. And to some extent, I guess the fellow bloggers I interact with are my people, in a weird way.

    1. Not weird at all! I need my fellow bloggers too! I’m a lot more candid here than I am in “real life”, so when people read my thoughts and accept me despite them (and often, for them), I know that we’d get along if we ever met.

  11. Love this, and I agree with all that you’ve said. Each time brings a new kind of challenge, but we somehow adapt to it. The Caveman wouldn’t survive in today’s world, and I know I’d be eaten by a Saber Tooth Tiger my first hour in their world.

    I have many different families: my blood family, my friend family, my work family and my online family. It’s interesting typing that out because I didn’t realize it before now.

    1. Thanks, Jen! I am endlessly amazed by the adaptability of humans. We generally know how to rise to the occasion when challenges come our way. I’m pretty sure you’d ninja kick that saber tooth tiger if it got too close ;D

  12. Easy. You, Emily, are one of my peeps –One of my favorite peeps, to be accurate. Dang, you can write child. This is another amazing post that starts out in one direction, takes you on a meaningful journey- and arrives at an unexpected place that makes you happy to be alive. Thanks, Em!!! Xoxo

    1. Oh, Lisa, you are one of my peeps too! As is Lily. Seriously, if (scratch that, WHEN) we all get together, I may just pass out from sheer glee and joy. Thank you for getting me, m’lady!

      1. Can we just plan a convention for us all to meet already? I think it would be the best day ever. I can attest to meeting Lisa and Lily to being mind-bottling and awesome. Can you imagine if we met all of our regular blog peeps?

  13. Too often I feel like my people are scattered…probably because they are. Geographically, that is. I think that’s one the best parts about this wedding I am planning, because it’s important enough to make all my people come to me for just one day, to celebrate. I told them to bring their clubs and fire.

    1. That IS the best thing about weddings! Everyone who matters is in one spot for a couple days. It is really the best. And I feel you about having people scattered about. My people are all over the globe. Methinks I need to rack up some frequent flier miles and go see them.

      1. Right there with ya.

        1. Please tell me you saw the post on Target at the How To Blog today….

          1. I did see it! I wish I could take the credit for writing it!

  14. Brilliant & Inspiring.

    1. Thank you so much! ;D

  15. Reblogged this on hansolosvagina and commented:
    Supremely Brilliant. had to reblog

  16. My family, my kids, and then a few friends. That’s really it. I’ve moved around so much, it has been a bit of a challenge to find my tribe. I’ve found that all I need is few close friends. That’s honestly all I seem to have time for.

    1. Me too! I’d rather have a few close friends than a million acquaintances. Thanks, Amy!

  17. Beautifully written, Em. I love these deep posts of yours. You are such a great writer and I consider you one of my blogging peeps. Love the pic of your people. My people are both human and four-legged. Great posts, Emily — so nice. Happy weekend!

    1. Thanks, Brig! You are def one of my blogging peeps too. We’ve gotta stick together.

  18. I have to say I enjoy the clan I’ve “met” on WordPress.

    1. Same here. I never expected to find so many awesome people here.

      1. The best people in the world certainly seem to be blogging. ;D

    2. As do I. I’m more honest and candid with my blogging pals than I often am with my real life friends.

  19. My people are all over the place. They change me and make me better.

    1. Wanna be one of my peeps?

      1. As long as I’m not a marshmallow peep, yes!

        1. If you were to become a confection, you’d become a Moon Pie.

          1. You ARE my peep!

  20. Oh, I love this so much. I think about friendship and the ins and outs of it often – probably more often than I should. It’s a tough thing. I didn’t find my people until late in life (very small town, growing up, and it wasn’t until I got out I connected with people) and when you come late in life to something people have always known how to do…it’s not easy to do it correctly, sometimes. I feel like Jane Goodall amongst the chimps. Or I’m probably the chimp and everyone else is Jane Goodall, I guess.

    My people, now – I have my family, my college friends, my grad school friends, my BFF (who I met while in grad school, but while working at a crappy video store with a really well-trafficked porn room…ah, creepy customer memories), my theater friends…and my online friends. Who have become probably closer to me than almost anyone over the past couple of years. The internet might have its problems, sure, but as for helping me find my people, I can’t complain. It brought my people right into my living room and introduced me, and now it’s like I never knew a time they weren’t there.

    1. You put that so beautifully, Amy! I feel the same way about the Internet; it’s a really noisy, ridiculous place, but I have somehow managed to find myself within a wonderful group of bloggers who I can really be myself around and talk about the things that are important to me. There’s a lot to be said for the connections we can make here. I count you among my blogging people. ;D

  21. <3 I think that's all I have to say about this. Except that I'm pretty sure you're my people. Funny, intelligent bloggers are my people…and you are surely one of those!

    1. You are my people too! Pretty sure I’d always be over at your house if I lived in your town.

      1. Oh heck yeah.

  22. Humans are so adaptable but I think we measure differences before similarities. I think when we share a trauma or stress with someone we find a basic kinship we may not have found otherwise. I like it when you find someone who gets you more than you get yourself. That person is usually called your spouse.

    1. It’s funny you say that about trauma and stress because even though I wouldn’t count living in Korea as a trauma, it was for sure one of the most foreign, bizarre experiences I ever had. It made my marriage stronger and the friendships I made with other expats more meaningful. We all needed each other. Thanks, Tania!

  23. I would like to think the whole wide universe and its inhabitants are my people. (That would be loads of fun!) I would gladly open up my heart to anyone, but as you pointed out somewhere over there, it needs to be kind of mutual, and experience taught me that that is not always the case. So I guess I can say my people are less than a hundred and rather different from each other–in terms of age, nationality, religion, jobs, mobile phones, IQ, et cetera–but one common denominator about them is that they all received and are dedicated to share one valuable gift: Acceptance with a capital A, no matter the product description.

    (I’m still hoping to finally be able to call the whole wide universe’s residents my people one day though…ouch!)
    Oh don’t mind her, she’s just the little kid speaking.

    Truly great post, Ems! ;)

    1. Awww, that’s why I love you! Acceptance is so central to being a human. You are indeed a fortunate person to be surrounded by so many people who value it and live it actively. If the world knows what’s good for it, it will hug you right back. ;D

  24. Love your juxtaposition with the dawn of humanity! Great post! My people are an eclectic brood. I totally relate to what you say about searching in certain areas for your peeps and being disappointed. When I joined writers groups I thought I’d find like minds and make friends. Nope. Soon as the workshops were over, everyone went their separate ways — ha! That’s a writer for you. Now I fantasize about meeting old people like me who can relate to death metal and hardcore — bahahahaha! But really, I’m lucky to have the friends that I have, some of them, willing to explore the things I do just because they care.

    1. I really need to get you in touch with my husband because I think you would both have a lot to talk about in terms of death metal. It’s one of his weird interests (weird in that it isn’t typical among the rest of his hobbies.) NYC is only a day’s drive away!

      1. I think I recall you mentioning your husband’s interest in death metal. It’s funny how — I don’t think so anyway — neither of us look like a typical fan — haha! I went to an Obituary concert years ago and did see a few older people which was refreshing. But while some of the bands might be in their late forties or slightly older, it seems that the fans are younger. Or maybe it’s just that the old fans stay home.

  25. Gee whize — this is the second time I’ve done this on your blog — make two comments on one post — that’s how engaging your writing is Emily — I just can’t help but come back to say more!

    I neglected to say first off how much I love love love that photograph of your fabulous family! I dig that carpet too… Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Sandee! They are a perty cute pair. As for the rug, I bought it on discount when I worked at Restoration Hardware my senior year of high school. It’s now covered in juice stains thanks to my gal, but I just count them as war wounds ;D

  26. I am most happy to have you and yours as a part of our people. And happy for us to be a part of yours.

    1. Your whole clan has adopted me and my little clan. Thank you so much for loving us! ;D

  27. I found some of my people today. I went on a beekeeping course and we all talked about starting a farm up together!

    1. Do it! Do it! ;D

      1. We just need a farm to buy (that’s not too far away) and enough money to buy it. Then we’re TOTALLY sorted!

  28. One of my favorite posts of yours Emily. I am finding that my peeps are changing a lot, lately. I’m moving in a new direction, and finding different ties, etc. The blogging community has been great, and there are people here who I think of and feel some ties to. My family (husband, kids, and extended) are definitely my peeps. And then there are the folks I write with, and the good friends I’ve kept for many years… more like family than friends. This is a very thought provoking post: beautifully written!

    1. Thank you, Dawn! Even though we only recently connected in out blogging world, you are one of my blogging people. I think of moms like you and Lisa and Janice from Snide Reply as the examples I have to go by as I write about motherhood and my daughter. I need examples like you because writing is so tangled up in who I am, and by extension writing about my daughter in a thoughtful, respectful way is also really important to me.

      1. I’m honored Emily! You are one of my people, too. If I wasn’t clear in my response. I enjoy so many other bloggers, but there are a few that I feel a connectedness too, and who I think about on “the outside.” ;-) Glad we met, and glad we connected. I still think it would be hilarious, so fun, to crash Lyssa’s wedding. If only we had the details…

  29. Id like to think we all have the same people?

    1. I like the way you think ;D

      1. haha.. thanks, I think? You have a good blog. I need new blog friends, I’ll return. Don’t kick me out.

        1. LOL…it was a compliment ;D Thanks for checking my blog out! I’ll never give you the boot.

          1. Your welcome! Im thinking…

  30. Thought provoking post indeed, as many before me have pointed out. I wonder whether all that choice actually make it harder rather than easier to find your people. Like how your article started our with, if you just have to make to, perhaps that makes it easier to get close to each other and people just adjusted accordingly. A bit like when I studied abroad, all the foreigners gathered together, the only similarity we shared being that we were “different” even if we were different in very different ways. Just that one bit of similarity was good enough though. On the other hand, at home, people always have so many choices, and when they move schools/jobs, they move on, the people at the previous school or job becoming a thing of the past. Family endures forever though, and I am eternally grateful for my family. And God.

    1. Well-said. When I lived abroad, I had a very similar experience where my fellow expats and I banded together. We were all very blessed to be in Korea at the same time because I think we would have been friends even if we had met in the “real world” (we often called it that because living in a foreign country is often such a, well, foreign experience, very removed from reality at times.)

      Thanks, Elaine! It’s good to see you!

  31. I’ve thought about this subject a lot, about My People. I have a very small family and we’re not especially close, so I never had family People.

    I’ve always sort of envied parents because to me, as a child-free “outsider,” it always seemed to me that parents had an easier time finding People because they had a shared experience of pregnancy, child-rearing, etc. Is that true?

    I’ve gathered a bunch of People over the years, mainly through work—we spent so much time at work that we became a family of sorts, and so I’m still good friends with a lot of them, we’re still members of the same tribe. It’s a nice sense of belonging. And a lot of bloggers have become My People as well—it’s something I never would have expected to happen when I first started blogging, and it’s such an amazing surprise.

    1. Great comment, Weebs. I think there is definitely some truth to your theory that we breeders rely on each other. Not to compare parenthood with traumatic events like death and disease and addiction, but I think that parents often have to share what’s going on in their lives in a way that’s similar to grief and addiction support groups. Parenting is scary and isolating at times because much of your time is spent with tiny humans who have no way of expressing themselves clearly. In this way, parents need each other to bond over similar challenges and to share common experience. Granted, a lot of the time kids are ALL we have in common (I have many acquaintances who I would not be friends with if we didn’t have kids of a similar age), but still, it’s a big thing.

      1. Totally understand this. I wasn’t judging, by the way, more just marveling at it. Child-free folk don’t have an automatic bonding methodthe way parents do.

        1. No worries! Totally didn’t take it as judging at all. ;D

  32. Ms. Roberts · · Reply

    I love this post not because it is over 500 words but because it is so true. I have a hard time meeting new people and trusting them. But when I do, they become my peeps!

    1. Trust is such a difficult thing for me too! I’m getting better at it, though. ;D

  33. Beautifully written. I have very few people in my life who truly matter; My hubby; my best friend since school days; few other friends my niece and my nephew.

    1. Thanks, Baldeep! My group is pretty small and tight too.

  34. This was an awesome idea for a post, and I’m kind of sad that I missed it somewhere in the blogging shuffle. I love finding people who get me–cut from the same cloth (or loin cloth?) if you will. There is something so satisfying about being able to feel relaxed around a group of people or a person who is similar to you.

    1. I agree! I’m glad you’re one of my peeps. I mean, who else can I come to with my concerns about the quality of children’s television programs? That is, other than Tim.

      1. Totes! You’re not only one of my peeps, but you’re one of my favorite peeps.
        (when I was typing out peeps, I initially spelled it “peppes” heheh)

  35. Reblogged this on Heaven In Chocolate and commented:
    I would looove to make cats my people. Unfortunately, they are way more interested in making that creepy spitting noise when I’m near.

    1. Hahahaha! Best comment ever!

    2. Heather · · Reply

      LOL, me too.

  36. Not sure. I’ll finish this thesis, then head out into the world to find them. :)

    1. I hope they’re waiting for you ;D

  37. My husband and kids are my people of course, and a few others. But the constant search and rejection to find “my people” is quite exhausting. I’ve found that the best people in my life have shown up at the most random of times and places. The ones I wasn’t expecting to meet or see again so my guard wasn’t up. In my personal quest I’ve had to give up some social media in order to focus on those that really are my people instead of those that were energy drainers. Interesting post and it came on the perfect day for me :) Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Leesa! I’m glad it came at an opportune time for you! That’s music to my ears.

  38. So many tribes to choose from in this day and age – I hope you’ll let me be a part of yours (I’m going to click “follow” right after I post this!). As someone who was always too conservative for my liberal friends, too liberal for my conservative friends, and love my husband but wish he’d enjoy intellectual “chats” like yours, I think I’m going to really enjoy your blog.

    1. Please be one of my people! I’d love to have you! Full disclosure: I’m not always philosophical and as a parent of a toddler, I talk about diapers. A lot. (And the contents of those diapers. Heh.) But I try to balance it out. Thanks, Ethel!

  39. Many years ago I moved to Houston into an apartment complex with people all my age. At the time people were moving there from all over the country and didn’t know anyone. We formed our own clans (families) and did almost anything for each other.

    1. That is so cool! My husband and I lived as expats in Korea for a time and we bonded similarly with our coworkers. They basically became our family while we were over there. Thanks for reading and commenting, Don!

  40. And how interesting it is too that we often change our personas to suit others as if trying on a new pair of pants, when all the while someone else is out there who likes the pants we had originally, with all their rips and stains that weren’t created for some look but through years of wear and tear. The people who don’t notice your ass sagging in these old pants because they’re too busy admiring the real person inside of them. Not sure exactly where I’m going with this, and I’m pretty sure I’ve now exhausted the world’s supply of pants metaphors, but I loved this.

    1. I think I know where you’re going with it. I have a whole closet full of unworn skinny jeans that I should probably just sell on eBay so I can devote my full attention to the ass-masking mom jeans that I prefer anyway. Thanks, Nick!

  41. I don’t have many friends at present. Maybe I should try crying in the bathroom.

    1. Worked for me. Some of my best friends have seen me ugly cry.

  42. my people are my friends – friends who understand me from my ‘hello’ and friends who i never thought i would be friends with or even that man, across ocean, who just knows me through social media – they actually help me find the true me.
    your post is remarkable and it made smile with the pretty thoughts of my clan and my tribe.
    thanks and congratulations on being freshly pressed.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m really glad you liked the post and I agree with you about getting to know people via social media. I’ve been very lucky to find some amazing people through my blogging adventure.

  43. I guess the saying “Friends are the family we choose” holds true. Although I personally think that even then there would have been ‘political’ positioning for power. The woman who picks the leader of the tribe to secure her own position. The tribal leader who befriends the stronger members of the group in order to keep his position. It wouldn’t suprise me if there was just as much back-stabbing and social-power shifts as there are today in modern friendships. I think when comparing ourselves to our ancestors it is important to remember that although we are 200,000 years later in technological advancement, take away our technology and clothes and we are no different psychologically then when we first appeared on this Earth.

    Interesting read. Thanks for posting :)

    1. Word. Totally agree. We are all just humans. Modern people are just more embellished. I venture to guess that if we swapped with each other, we wouldn’t find too big a difference. Thanks, Lawrence ;D

  44. Very interesting thought process to connect your theory with the early stages of cavemen beings. I guess your philosophy is an existence-long quest. I disagree on the traveling part, though. People don’t necessarily travel to find other people they can click with, they do it to explore places, to rub against cultures they never experienced before and to get out of their comfort zone. At least that is why I do it.

    1. True, there are a million and one reasons people travel. In the post, I guess I was talking about travel in a more figurative way. You can travel across the world or across town or even by just reading a book. In the end, I think, I do it because I like to reconcile other people’s thoughts and actions with my own. I like to find what makes us similar and to celebrate our differences. Thanks for reading and commenting, Laura! ;D

  45. Mad Queen Linda · · Reply

    Well said and fortunate you are for your connections. I think some of us don’t ever find our people.

    1. Sadly, this is true. I think that’s why it’s so important to treat each other with kindness.

  46. Wow! FP! Way to go!

    1. Not gonna lie. It’s always a huge thrill. Blogging Christmas.

  47. Nice post and congratulations. I like your last line – a tribe that keeps the world small even as it expands around us- I think we would go crazy same as if we didn’t automatically filter out so many of the sights and sounds we actually see and hear. We HAVE to simplify the world somehow or go crazy!!

    1. My life is crazy enough as it is with the small amount of feedback that gets through. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  48. I think life is still simple…it’s the complex people that make things difficult :)

    great post

    1. Well-said. I hope I’m one of the people that keeps things simple. Thanks for reading, Ashton!

      1. thank you for sharing…

  49. I know exactly what you mean! I love my kindred spirits and don’t know what I’d do without them. I think that “pre-historic” peoples (whatever “pre-historic” means…what was “before” history anyway?) had it better than we realize. Yes, there were cavemen, but there were also people just like us, homo-sapiens, who lived and worked and played in small groups of “their people” all the time. They were called tribes. I read a book, Beyond Civilization, that led me to the belief that we need “modern tribes” to evolve beyond our current hang-ups. Your article makes me feel like we are naturally leaning in that direction and it gives me hope for the future. Thank you for writing this lovely piece!

    1. Thank you for reading and leaving such a thoughtful comment, Kaycie! I will have to check out that book. It sounds like something I’d really like!

  50. So true. Sometimes life leaves you feeling you’ve been plunked down in a vast land of strangers. You have to go out and find your real clan, from whom you were somehow separated at birth.
    This is lovely – so Freshly Pressed-worthy!

    1. A lot of the time, I feel so at home here blogging because I’ve managed to assemble a motley crew of people who seem to really see the world the way I do, or at least explain their differing views in ways I can identify with and appreciate. Bloggers are my clan! Thanks for reading, Peg!

  51. eddiebe9 · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Perspectives and commented:
    “These are our new, modern clans: the people we find who help us keep our paltry fires flickering even when the rain starts pouring.”

  52. Who are my people? That’s a good question. Am I the only person who feels like their pool of people has vastly diminished since childhood and is now limited to those forced to be in my sphere of influence by genetics? Lol. Your post was beautifully written and you don’t know how badly I want to relate.

    1. I’ve also found that it’s really hard to make friends once you’re out of school, and my sphere of friends has been greatly reduced since I’ve been out in the world as an adult. Come to think of it, most of the friends – the REAL friends – I’ve made in adulthood have come into my life during times of trauma and difficulty.

  53. people are precious!

    thanks for these ideas

    1. I agree! I love ’em!

  54. I was just talking about this today! maybe finding your people is sweeter if it takes longer to find them ;)

    1. So true! Thanks for reading, Linda!

  55. Emily, congrats on getting pressed. I just happened to check Freshly Pressed today, and I usually don’t read it, so it was good timing!

    This was a really good read. I have never had a clique. Ever. I find that my people are a bunch of different individuals that I relate to for different reasons – different, and very unique commonalities. It was always hard to throw a house party because they all belonged to different groups. Give me one on one conversation and I’ll be content.

    Cheers! \m/

    1. Thanks, Adam! I’m glad you checked it out!

      I totally know how you feel. I remember making a list of all the friends I wanted to invite to a party I was having once, and then noticing how pretty much none of them knew each other well. It actually made for a way better party because no one was excluded from those conversations that inevitably ensue when old friends get together and start talking about memories or whatever. I prefer one-on-one conversations, too. Far fewer distractions.

  56. […] Finding Your People. […]


    1. In case you were wondering, I did indeed sell my soul.

  58. […] Finding Your People: Have you checked between the couch cushions? […]

  59. Agreed. Finding our people is hell of a lot easier lately. Just go to social media. I wonder what our ancestors went through to get us these pleasure of life. Hats off to’em. Great article there, thanks for sharing.

    I just read What’s Everest Gold Rush?

    1. Thanks for reading.

  60. Reblogged this on bermanj1forchange and commented:
    Much of this sounds very familiar. A good opportunity for some introspection. Well done!

  61. Great thought process !!! Early humans had less time to devote to partitioning the society into miniscule groups as they were busy with making arrangements for their basic needs . That is the key to happiness in relationships. We need to keep ourselves occupied by constructive work leaving lesser time on hand for judging people and grouping people .

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  62. Don’t have much to add to what has already been commented on, other than that I just LOVE this :)

    1. Hey! Thanks, Katie! ;D

  63. Your blog is so lovely.

  64. […] Finding Your People. […]

  65. I really resonated with this.While I love having the option to form my own tribe, I also think we’re missing that connectivity to the past when relationships weren’t so easily tossed aside. We couldn’t be so sensitive because we needed one another to help survive. Either way, I am grateful for the relationships I made, and for every time I meet someone that helps me realize I am not alone in this world.

    1. I agree. I think of members of my family who have basically abandoned their relationships with each other because of long-forgotten fights and disagreements, and I can’t help but think that eons back, they wouldn’t have the “luxury” of disowning one another.

  66. I was raised in a large tribe, with a house full of people on any given day. I haven’t lived near that original tribe in many years, but my husband and I have created our own clan through the years. We’ve moved a lot, and have added one of two people with each move. For us, it seems to be an ever changing clan with a few permanent members yet each adds value to our lives in some special way. Technology today allows us to stay in touch with long distance members of the clan. It has also introduced me to some virtual clan members in the bloggerhood. Great post! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    1. Thanks, Leah! I love my little blogging clan too! They offer me a nice escape from my “real” clan (husband and toddler) when I need it. I love bloggers because they never need their diapers changed (by me, at least.)

  67. My people are those who cross my path that I feel a connection with. My tribe changes daily but the one who is always there no matter what the day brings is me. Nice post…very thought provoking.

    1. Thanks for reading, Bev!

  68. Allen Capoferri · · Reply


  69. My people are my family, my hubby and a few friends from college. I am a friendly person, many acquaintances but friends I keep few and stick to them forever.
    Lovely post. Definitely going to spend some more time here.

    1. Thank you! Please make yourself at home! I love making new blogging friends ;D

  70. George Mathews · · Reply

    Jesus’ followers were meant to be a community like that, making the community larger and planting and opening up such communities everywhere… To be there for each other.. sometimes even more than the family – ‘who are my brothers and sisters? those who do the will of God” and the will of God revealed through Jesus always meant a community of love and peace, stronger than a blood tie. In fact the kingdom of God is such a community, two people who become kindred on the way of life’s journey – like the good Samaritan who even paid the inn-keeper extra to ensure the man he brought would be alright.
    Thank you for the post and the thoughts it sparked off,

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting! Such lovely thoughts…

  71. haleyms · · Reply

    I’ve been looking for a tribe. Problem is the people who think like me freak out at the idea of saying “hello” in person.

    1. Consider this me saying “hello” to you ;D

    2. I keep looking for my tribe as well. We don’t freak out at the idea of saying hello, but after that, we look around thinking how strange everyone else is. :)

  72. It’s a very relevant subject, there is a great book mixing the theories of Darwin and psychotherapy.
    If I remember rightly it’s called….evolutional psychiatry. Great read!!

  73. I love my peeps:) My family for sure but there is nothing like the love and authenticity of my long time friends. They tell me the good bad and ugly, they bring gutteral laughter, they remember me, who I was and what I am today. I loved this post! Congrats on being Fresh:) You deserved it!

  74. CaedaSun · · Reply

    Amazing blog, thanks so much for it. It’s quite true and cute — how you connected our early ancenstors and us today. It’s a neat perspective to look at those people you pick up along the way as a part of one’s tribe. Thumbs-up for relatability and awesomeness.

  75. I loved this post. I’m not a part of your blog but saw you on Freshly Pressed.

    I’m old now. Things are changing around. What I see in the world, others, me.

    I have close friends, some of which are like family because we have survived stuff together and managed to like one another, but I’m not sure I’d call any of them my tribe. All except one.

    It’s odd. Maintaining people with whom you share an understanding of the world + interests becomes really impossible as people head off, get married, have children, have illustrious careers. Friendship. Or “tribe,” becomes a lost priority, and one person cannot upkeep.

    Others which you may gather to you from job/circumstance you share together cannot challenge you to be your best self unless they have a value for what that is, have seen it, relate to it in a way that is authentic out of that common value. But shared circumstance did not guarantee it for me.

    Still, I’m grateful for that one person…and one of my parents. My tribe is dying, think I’ll migrate.

  76. I also saw this post on Freshly Pressed. I enjoyed it very much as well as the comments. I like your way with words.
    My tribe is pretty much limited to my two kids since their dad passed away. They are the only peeps in the world who really “get” me and what I am about. I have dear friends of course and other family members but that “tribal” belonging comes only when I’m with either or both of my offspring. Still, I keep looking. Contacts online look promising…..a blog post here, a facebook comment there. Maybe one day soon those glimpses will emerge into a full blown tribe.

  77. I think having a small tribe is so important in this technological day and age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Personally, I feel like there is a lot of disconnection in this world of instant technological connection and it saddens me. It is easy to become swayed by FB likes, friends (who really are only acquaintances), etc. But what is most important is one’s core group of people with whom you can be yourself and always be accepted. The people you want to talk to rather than text. You may only find a handful in a lifetime, they come in all shapes and forms, but they are the one’s you must hang on to. Great read and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  78. Gosh, I’m still trying to find a tribe, too. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  79. Oh God, did you really have to ask that in the end?…

  80. Great post! It’s true how sometimes you are very much accepted and loved with some people yet seem to just bang heads with others. I too, think that humans are rather simple creatures so I do not know how so much conflict has arisen in the modern world.

  81. I have found some, but want a few more.

  82. Love your blog….and holding the magic talking stick is awsome :P

  83. I feel you sister, love from the 021

  84. Finding new people here, WordPress people! You reminded me of when I found myself dating again after 20 years of marriage ended. . . Wow, sure met a lot of Not My People! So glad I found The Guy who swore that out of 8 billion people in the world we really shouldn’t worry too much over one, then turned around and decided I was the one!

  85. cerrosolo · · Reply

    Nice post- very insightful. I like electricity way too much to ever want to be a caveman. I’m pretty all over the place in terms of interests and hobbies, so I’ve always had to piece together a patchwork tribe. I have some great friends who I can confide in, hang with. But those friends are very sedentary, so not so into hiking and climbing which I’m also a fan of. Still trying to find a hiking tribe. But one that is ok with being in a city too. Someday…

  86. My people, is my husband. So my person, I guess.
    <3 ~ We're a small but kick ass little tribe! :D
    Great post!

  87. When I read the last line of this post: “Who are your people”, I directly and almost instantaneously thought of some of my closest friends who have made my life so fulfilling even when I’ve had a real tough time. The first person who literally clouded my eyes as I read this was my best friend and I feel so fortunate to have someone as wonderful as him in my life :)
    Thanks for sharing this. It’s a beautiful post!

  88. megkora · · Reply

    I have no idea who my people are, I think my wavelength is absurd. Much as I try to fit in, I don’t think i belong here. Would love to find ( and keep ) people who deserve or belong side me! Thanks for sharing to prove I’m not the only one having problems fitting in

  89. Love, Love everything about this post. Probably, most especially, your use of “ipadier” Thanks for touching me with your writing.

  90. I want to be your friend.

  91. madisonmckay · · Reply

    I often think about who my people are, and I love your take on the idea. Your writing is lovely and I can’t wait to read more!

  92. From Russia and I have blogged about them and their real name. Give a look if you’d like. Like your opinion.

  93. Congratulations on being named as one of BlogHers Voices of the Year! Woo hoo!

  94. Interesting article. Reminded me of a study that showed humans today are still cognitively capped at 150 people that they can make meaningful relationships with. Keep up the good work!

  95. madisonmckay, I agreed with you. And It is very important for me

  96. Love this piece! Glad I found your blog.

  97. enjoyed your post…thank you for letting me follow you :-)

  98. Great post!

  99. We rescued a dog last year from Spain, his name is Pedro, now we have a new tribe of dog walking pals, and very jolly they are too…

  100. I think it’s best to be an individual nowadays…

  101. Reblogged this on emmadol's Blog.

  102. Great post! I find that for myself, I definitely prefer being with a couple of close knit friends than a large circle of acquaintances. I love how you used ‘mutual rejection’, it’s so true!

  103. It’s awesome! I’m new on wordpress and just came up with my first blog ! Check it out , like and comment :)

  104. cartoline · · Reply

    My people are definitely friends that I meet on the way, and that I choose, wish, and hope to hold on to in life. So far I’ve been lucky with meeting some really great, kind, warm-hearted, and supportive friends. Loved your post! :)

  105. when we are simple human and live in forest at that our need are very less. our need is only related with our food and protect ourselves. no it was not good. our life have not just for that. we are born with some goal. now on day with HEART and MIND we can live one better life. we can do they could not.

  106. when we are simple human and live in forest at that our need are very less. our need is only related with our food and protect ourselves. no it was not good. our life have not just for that. we are born with some goal. now on day with HEART and MIND we can live one better life. we can do they could not.

  107. I love this quote so much: “Our people are our families, yes, but they are also the kindred spirits we meet along the way.” Really hit the nail on the head. Thanks for your insights :)

    1. vibratone · · Reply

      Your so lucky!

  108. […] Just found an awesome article about: Finding Your People. […]

  109. Ipadier… Love it! Haha There are too many people in my world sometimes, as I woke in a people field. Sometimes I like them just to be inside my iPad ;) but surround myself with the most important ones.

  110. My family. Of Course wife passed away recently. But her memories are there with me. My two unmarried sons at present. And my friends, bloggers on line.

  111. It takes a while to sort those people out

    1. vibratone · · Reply

      Yeah and we wonder why there are so many more horses asses than there are horses.

  112. Enjoyed your blog :)

  113. rubenbabu2 · · Reply

    Instagram omlettes. Ha ha.

  114. beautiful writing x

  115. It’s great!

  116. Reblogged this on kelbylyn and commented:
    We are one in the same. Check points and contributors to this created reality.

  117. Amazing, Brilliant

  118. It’s late here in New Zealand and I can’t think of how to best note my comments as many folks have expressed so well my thoughts already! Thank you for a thought-provoking post, and I love how you speak of collecting our people in the most unexpected places. It’s so true. Life’s quirky pathway can bring us into each other’s orbits and sometimes that ‘spark’ of kindred spirits is just there to be noticed. Thanks again, from a new follower!

  119. tinaslingerie · · Reply

    wow!! iPadier has killed it. A great piece you have there. We are all so engrossed in out iPads we dont even know what is happening to ou

  120. carrisa2015 · · Reply

    Still looking for people and running out of time to do so.

    1. vibratone · · Reply

      I know what you mean. I have never been so lucky.

  121. boldbrad · · Reply

    Beautiful! Love it so very much!

  122. Enjoy your post! My people and I engage each other’s minds – we debate, we discuss, we talk about, we ‘philosophize’, and we laugh at the irony-s in life. We have taken time and effort to maintain our relationships because we cared. The cool (we’d like to think!) nerd-herd :)

  123. Reblogged this on Bleedingheart's Blog and commented:
    Search to find my people…

  124. Reblogged this on I'm not a hipster I swear and commented:
    It’s not easy finding a tribe, I spent most if my tweens and early teens with few, if any true friends, but now that I’ve gotten older and matured, I’ve found those kindred spirits that I think constitute my tribe, they’re insane, rarely reliable, and to be perfectly honest I can’t stand them half the time, but they’re mine, and I’m theirs and somehow it just works

  125. My clan/tribe is my bloggy friends!

  126. Very nice post Emily, thank you, I enjoy your humor as well as your deeper thoughts. And all bound up with a refreshing ring of truth and sincerity, on a topic that we don’t often think of as much as we should. Very uplifting. To answer the question in your title, my people have been found in the most unlikely places, and I do treasure each one of them beyond all measure.

  127. […] blogging career. When she writes about trying to blog, her daughter’s 8-month birthday, or finding your people, Emily does so with empathy, frankness, and humor. You get the feeling that she’s a lot like […]

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