Sunday, March 11, 2018

A Smile and an Open Heart

Last week I talked about Tribe and I asked you to make a list of the people who are already in your tribe.  Did you do it?

Some of you may be feeling like your tribe is a little smaller than you'd like it to be.  I've been there.  It's a lonely place.

But here's the deal.  Tribe is a dynamic thing.  You can find new people for your tribe.  And you can get rid of people who are no longer supportive.  Tribe is awesome that way. 

If you're looking to expand your tribe, then you need to find other people who are supportive.  This means that you will actually have to talk to other humans, some of whom you don't know.   This also means that you may actually have to go to places to meet new people.  That you will actually talk to.

[Some of you probably just had a full body negative reaction and are shaking your head mumbling, 'No no no no no. Nope. No freaking way.'  I understand.  It's going to be OK.]

So we'll do this in baby steps.

1.  Be OPEN to the idea of having supportive people in your life.  You need them.  You deserve them.  You are worthy of them.  It doesn't matter if you make mistakes.  Tribe is about loving you as you are, not loving some perfect image you're projecting.

2.  Make eye contact and smile when you see people, even complete strangers.  On the way to class.  At the grocery store.   It doesn't have to be all the people.  Just some of the people.  You don't have to say a word.  You'll be surprised at how powerful this can be in making connections.  Make it a game - smile and make eye contact and see how many people smile back or say, 'Hello.'

3.  Wave to people you see frequently.  That person at the desk across the room.  The bank teller across the lobby.  The neighbor who gets the paper in the morning.  You're acknowledging that they share an experience with you and you're making a quiet connection.  When we moved way out here in 1994, I made a decision that when I was outside, I would wave at every single person who drove by.  That's maybe a dozen or so cars a day, but the same dozen, day after day.   I didn't care if they saw me or waved back.   I just waved and smiled in their general direction. When I started walking every day along our road a few years ago, I'd smile and wave at every car that drove past.  And since I was right there on the road, people started to stop and introduce themselves and talk to the dog and wish us Happy Holidays.  And sometimes we talked for 20 minutes right there in the middle of the road - about coon dogs and muddy cows and quilting and Parkinson's disease.  [I heart rural America.]  And once, when someone else drove up on us chatting, the first drove off and the second stayed and chatted for a bit. A couple of these people became good friends of mine and then became part of my tribe.   Because I waved.  

4.  Say, 'Hello'  and smile.   'Hello' is not a commitment; it's a friendly gesture.  

5.  If you have a minute to chat, say, 'I'm so happy to see you!  How are you?'...and listen.

6.  Talk about stuff.  If you want some great tips on how to make small talk, I highly recommend this book: The Art of Mingling by Jeanne Martinet [affiliate link].   She's funny and wise and full of great ideas.  

7.  Be patient. With yourself.  With the process.  If you go out in the world with a smile and an open heart, you will find your tribe.  Give it the time you deserve.

What are some other ways you get to know new people?  I'd love to hear.


  1. "Tribe is a dynamic thing." I have a hard time because people have left my tribe. I would still be their friends, but why don't they want to be mine? Have *I* become the toxic person, unsupportive, whom they've had to leave behind? Considering that possibility, when I try to hard to be kind and supportive, and a good friend, is painful.

    1. Hope, those are excellent questions. Since I know you and what a loving friend you are, I'm guessing that the coming and going of friends in your tribe isn't about you. It's about them - their circumstances, location, needs, attention, etc. You can be proud of the kind of friend you are; your light will attract more wonderful people to you.


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