An important part of building your tribe is knowing who to give less energy to, when it’s time to back away, how to do it without being ruthless.
Who wouldn’t want a lifelong friend? Maybe you have one, someone you’ve known since childhood. You are practically a part of each other’s families, maybe you’ve spent holidays together, you can laugh all day at old stories of broken limbs, bikes, and hearts. Even your best college friends feel left out when this old friend is at the party. This friend is almost more like a partner, they know your every mundane thought for the last 20 years, the things that light you up, your hopes and dreams. Or do they?
You grow and change every minute of every day, how could they keep up? What if they’re not on the same path or not growing as fast as you are? What then?
Imagine reconnecting with your childhood friend after 10 years of leading busy lives separately. This person loved you through your first acne breakout, parents fighting, and angsty first crush. You spend a month getting to know her again, then she simply ghosts you. A couple months later you let her know you’ll be in town. She informs you that she feels unworthy of your friendship. You’re ahead of her in life and it’s intimidating. Woah.
The first thought is always going to be “I’m too much for some people”, but that thought runs parallel to “I’m not easy to love” so let’s not subscribe to that. When people are honest but self deprecating, we want to comfort them of course, but stop and think…maybe there’s some truth to this. It’s not necessarily that your old friend is unworthy, but does she really fit into your life, she’s not wrong in saying you’re ahead of her.
This is where we start our questions. They say you’re most like the people you’re closest to, so shouldn’t those people be on or slightly ahead of your level? You’re 10 steps above her, there’s nothing you can do to get her to your level and she isn’t going to build you from down there. You should start to put in less energy as soon as you realize she’s someone who isn’t valuable to the building of your life. If you keep this person close for their sake you will exhaust yourself and come to resent them as an energy vampire. But they don’t deserve to be ruthlessly cut out, either. They’re a part of your story and they did nothing to harm you so let’s not hurt them.
There are ways to keep them in your life, but not as a significant part. Ask yourself what value they might have to your life. Are they the only person you can talk about how strict your mom was, 80s movies, and take to house clubs? Then do those things with them, but keep it to every couple months. Maybe they live in another city, if you’re in town ask them to show you around, otherwise catch up once a year. Maybe you just show up to the important stuff, to show them you love them even though you’re not able to commit much time or energy to them.
If you think about it I bet you already have friends like this. And it’s totally fine. Just because you value different people in different ways doesn’t make you heartless. And just because you used to talk every day but now you only talk once a year doesn’t mean you don’t love them. You’re allowed to build a tribe who you can build with right now. You’re allowed to back away from people who don’t fit anymore.
If you need help deciding what/who you value and how to build or pare down your tribe, schedule a reading and together we can ask your soul what it needs.