1. You finally want to be yourself more than you want to be anyone else, because you feel like you’re being celebrated and loved for who you are.
2. Small talk is nonexistent. Dinners last for hours. ‘Grabbing drinks’ turns into multiple cocktails shared while having the best conversations. Casual hangouts last until two in the morning. Phones are forgotten, because this real life connection is so much better.
3. You truly have a safe space in which to experiment with your voice and to discover your world view – without ever having to worry about being judged.
4. And at the same time, you are surrounded by people with world views different from your own – people you know you will learn from and grow from, people who only wish to celebrate the differences between you rather than hide them.
5. The insecurities and fears you’ve worked so hard to suppress in the past suddenly become things you are completely comfortable talking about.
6. And not only are they things you feel comfortable talking about, they are things that your friends celebrate about you, because they are part of what’s made you into the person that you are.
7. You notice, on a random day, the insane amount of gibberish, slang terms, and invented words that are now used on a regular basis between all of you. You can’t really remember when the use of any of these terms began, but the lexicon of your group somehow seems like the most natural thing in the world.
8. You feel energized, rather than drained, when spending time around them. The conversation is effortless, the laughs generous, and the energy that of utter contentment.
9. You know that when it comes to the things you care about, your friends will care too (even if it’s not something they’re directly interested in) – because if it matters to you, it matters to them.
10. You stop worrying so much about seeming weird, or strange, or unimpressive. You’re too busy being surrounded by genuine, curious, and warm people to have time to think about whether or not you’re coming off as cool.
11. And often, the things that you once considered weird or strange about yourself are the things that your tribe values the most about you.
12. You finally experience the comforting feeling of knowing that there will always be someone there for you, at any hour of the day or night, when you need them.
13. You feel that you are becoming even more yourself, every single second that you’re around these people.
14. You laugh more easily and more readily, because being around these people feels instinctual and natural. Being around these people makes your heart feel light.
15. There’s always a sense of being listened to, as opposed to just being ‘heard’ by people until it’s their turn to talk.
16. You are reminded of how simple and easy a feeling like joy can be, when you’re surrounded by the right people.
17. You feel like you. They feel like them. No one has to pretend to be someone they’re not. You’ve found your tribe. And it’s the most freeing feeling in the world.