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finding your tribe

i have been dying to go to a blog conference this year. i have grown so much over the last year and met so many awesome women online that i realized i really wanted to meet some ladies face to face and solidify those relationships.

i mean, friendships can be formed anywhere (that is something i have definitely learned in the last year) but virtual meetings, texting, google chatting and emails can really only give me a little of what i want out of a friendship.

i want to spend evenings telling stories over a glass bottle of wine, thrifting together, crafting together. basically, what i'm sayin here is, being friends online is great and i really cherish all the friends i've made on here. but i seriously crave that intimate physical closeness with women. being around other women who share the same interests that i do fills a part of my soul that stays empty most of the time.

since the chances of getting to go to a conference rely solely on me getting a ticket to one as a birthday gift from my dad (*hint hint*), i have had to learn to experience that type of relationship over the computer. which isn't ideal for me but it is better than nothing at all.

i realize it is starting to sound a little peevey with the intimate closeness talk and stuff but i'm trusting that you get what i'm saying. we aren't talking about you know "the-s-word-intimate". i'm talking about that rare bond that women share where we cry and laugh and get pissed off all within 10 seconds and do that omg-scream-cry-hug-aaaaahhhh thing when we meet. do ya get what i'm sayin here?

and- this isn't to say that i feel empty and depressed all the time. trust me - i have plenty to do to keep me busy and i don't dwell on the fact that i'm no longer surrounded by my close pact of friends from home. and neither am i trying to replace them - those kinds of friends never go anywhere no matter the distance and are truly irreplaceable. but what i am trying to do is find my tribe.

i never really thought of my circle of online friends as a tribe until it became the trendy term to use when referring to blogging circles. it isn't as restricting as a "niche" but definitely sets a few parameters that keep everyone at least sharing the same interests.

i have to say i feel truly lucky that somehow, by the grace of God, i have fallen into a sort of tribe. i happened upon a comment on gussy sews from a girl named kasey. whatever she said i really identified with so i replied to it, clicked over to her blog and shop and tweeted about one of her adorable products. within a week after that we had emailed back and forth, texted, and skyped to discuss the possibility of bringing together a group of girls to chat about blogging, handmade businesses, and being an online presence in general.

and boom - there was my tribe.

so, no matter how many times we meet and how close we all become, it will never truly fulfill every single need my soul has in terms of friendship. but, in some ways, it completes little parts of my heart that were left empty by my in real life friends and family. being a blogger and being part of this "world" is really hard to describe to those who don't do it with you. can i get an amen??

anyways - for those of you who might be starting out on a blog or have been blogging for a while and are still looking to fit in with a group of people, or heck, even veteran bloggers who would like to gather some newbies under you wings, i want to talk a little about finding your tribe!

disclaimer: for the purpose of this post, a tribe is a group of like-minded people that you can identify with on a personal and/or professional level. it has nothing to do with blog genre or niche, whether or not you have a shop, level of expertise, age, sex, race or anything like that. tribes aren't meant to discriminate in any way - they are to bring people together.

blog + biz tribe
all of the ladies in our little meet up group (which has yet to adopt a name) chatting in a google + hangout.

blogging conference

clearly this is the easiest and most direct way to find a tribe. like i said, i'm really wishing i could go to one this year (and seriously just keeping my fingers crossed in die-hard expectation) just so i could meet a few gals. sit face to face with some folks to chat about things they will definitely understand about blogging. there are tons of conferences to choose from all varying themes and purposes. but one thing i think they all have in common is that you don't have to try to fit into the theme of the conference to enjoy it. for instance, the one conference i'd really like to attend is haven conference. it is a home blogger conference. am i a home blogger? not really. do i care? no. i just want to go to have a good time and meet some people!

here are a few others - most of which i'm sure you have at least heard of:

blissdom

snap!
creative estates
allume (previously relevant)
bloggy boot camp
evo
blogher
savvy blogging

this is seriously the short list and doesn't begin to include all the possible local conferences and blogger meet ups that could be happening in/around your town. but attending any, all, or even one of these can seriously impact your life and your online business + presence. if you ever have the opportunity i say to jump on it!

similar interests

start interacting with people who share your interests. and i don't mean reading their blogs and following them on twitter. i mean interact. start commenting with your thoughts and how their posts made you feel. ask them questions. share their posts and products on twitter and facebook. email them. ask them for advice. share your story with them. let them know that you aren't a one-hitter-quitter commenter but that you are truly interested in fostering a relationship with them.

in case you didn't notice, there are a lot of blogs out there. </sarcasm> there are a lot of people to connect with and learn from. it can definitely be a bit overwhelming. but when you find someone that you really identify with, make a noticeable effort to connect and interact with them.

once you have a regular discourse going on, then is the time to...

ask!

if, like me, you are lacking the opportunity to attend a blogging conference but you are still longing for that connection my advice is simply this:

A S K

i mean seriously. the worst someone can do is just say - no thanks i'm not interested right now. but i would almost be willing to bet (and as a methodist, i'm not a gamblin gal) that most of the people you contact will say yes. they will actually probably jump up and down, squeal, be flattered, and be beyond excited to say yes.

all kasey did was gather up her courage and send me an email and ask. that was the first big step. and it probably seems very scary and there is a big black hole for you to fall in while you are waiting for your answer, but that was all it took. immediately we came up with a list of girls and were on a roll.

but all it took was one simple question. "would you be interested in doing this with me?"

skye
this is the picture i whipped up to show in our first meeting to describe who i was, who i loved, where i was from and what i did. i'm pretty dang proud of it!

be a little creepy

yall - remember when we all were in aol chat rooms with only the Lord knew who, chatting with random people? and how our parents warned us to not give our personal information to strangers? dude - how far has the internet come since then? no longer is it just a place to anonymously attempt to stalk little girls (not that there aren't parts that still do that) but it has become a platform for people to vent about their real life and reveal parts of themselves through their blogs solely for the purpose to connect with other people. little anonymity exists any more (to me at least) and i like it that way.

once you connect with someone and have formed a relationship - don't be afraid to get kind of creepy and ask to exchange things like phone numbers and mailing addresses. the first time i exchanged numbers with someone i met through blogging was in a direct message on twitter and went kind of like this:

me: so not to be creepy, and if you don't want to i will totally understand, but maybe we could exchange numbers so we can text?

her: yay! i was totally going to ask but i didn't want to freak you out.

so the point i am making is that someone might be thinking the same thing you are and want to exchange numbers. or hey they might want to surprise you with a sweet letter in the mail! i looove those!

the point i am NOT trying to make is this: don't tweet your number or address. use you brain when giving out your personal information. don't give it to someone without being 150% sure of who they actually are. protect yourself, your children, your home. but don't be afraid of connecting with people in real life either.

finding the group of people you want to be in a tribe with is probably the hardest part. reaching out is scary for a lot of reasons (safety concerns, fear of rejection, simple fear of putting yourself out there at all). but being brave and doing it is only going to help you grow. stepping over that boundary and reaching out will be the start of something that will inspire you, breathe new life into you and potentially change your life. if you are looking for that place to connect i highly recommend being the starting point. there are probably definitely other folks out there looking for the same thing and might be waiting on you to be the one that starts it!

21 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post, Skye! Not to be creepy...but I'd be interesting in stalking...I mean meeting...YOU! Why is it that now that I live in SC, all my best bloggy friends are in or around TX {which is where I left to come to SC}?!?! I am SO wanting to go to a blog conference. I can't even describe it. I guess I have an affinity for meeting my closest friends online. That's where I met my husband. Back in the days when it WAS all creepy stalkery chat room type stuff. Anyway, if you're ever wanting another member of your tribe or something crazy like that....

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    1. We haven't fully entertained the idea of adding folks yet but it isn't something we are ruling out! We have only met once so it is still a big learning curve and experience for us but if the time ever comes you will be the FIRST person I get in touch with! :)

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  2. Love this post :) you are such a sweetie! Can't say enough how amazing it's been to have a tribe. Having a tribe is helping me grow in all kinda of ways! Thanks for the awesome post!

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    1. No problem girl! Thanks for being brave and asking!! We make a great team!

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  3. Great post Skye! A glass bottle of wine? Don't tell me you're too fancy for boxed wine... haha! I kid, I kid- our favorite is just $3 for the bottle. Looking forward to our next hangout- and how about we start a petition- someone out there has got to be willing to buy your plane ticket and our tickets to Haven! :)

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    1. Oh - haha - I meant a glass... no how about a bottle! It is rare that I open a bottle of wine and have any left to have the next day! LOL :)

      The plane ticket I don't need - it is really only 8 hours for me to get from WM to ATL so I can drive. I've done it several times. It is just the ticket to the conference I need! Keepin my fingers crossed!!

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  4. PS Casey Wiegans just announced she's planning a conference in Dallas! Add it to you list chica

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    1. Dude! I saw! As soon as she launches the site I'm going to add it to the list and see if I can do something to help her with it! SQUEEE!!

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  5. Love this post Skye!! :) I kind of like thinking of it as a tribe & I must say I am so thrilled to be apart of this tribe and I can't wait for our next meeting! :))

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    1. Thanks Cassie!! I'm excited for the next meeting too!!

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  6. Great post! I know what you mean too - the online friendships are amazing but there's just somethin' about being able to sit in front of someone and open up. Great tips on finding a tribe!

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    1. Girlfriend - might want to make up a guest room for me one night say around... June 21-22??? Maybe we can have some face to face time!! ;) ;)

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  7. Love this! It had been such a pleasure to get to know all of you!! :-)

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    1. I have so enjoyed getting to know everyone and being so supportive of each other. It has been awesome!!

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  8. This is such a great, well put post. It is amazing to make real connections with the real people behind the spots. It is also such a gift to know you have a posse out there that will help cheer you on and validate your thoughts and back you up. Here's an amen! ;)

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    1. Amen indeed sister!! I'm loving all the connections I'm making and all the relationships that are forming. Hope you are having a great week!! xoxo

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  9. Oh my gosh! This is so cool. How can I join in? xo

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  10. stumbled onto your blog via the blog hop and just wanted to show some blog luv! def enjoyed this post!

    http://infinitelifefitness.com
    http://mscomposure.blogspot.com

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  11. I loved this!! Found you through the Hollie Rogue. =) I'm your newest follower... can't wait to read more from you.

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  12. Wow, thanks for this. I'm a super duper newbie so not even quite ready to find a tribe, but this is something I'm definitely hoping for in the future. You've given me some good stuff to think about for now. Thanks & good luck with your tribe.

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