I was reading an article in Salon yesterday about Urban Tribes. I remember reading the article about this in the New York Times when it came out and thinking, "wow -- someone's been spying on my life." It really hit home for me.
I am part of an urban tribe, and I am proud to be part of it. Now, I haven't read the book yet, (and perhaps some of this is covered) but I feel that this is a fitting time to put my B.A. in Sociology to good use and throw in my take on the urban tribe theory. First of all, each person is the center of his or her own tribe. For example, I would say that my "core" tribe is mostly Tufts people -- the ones I go away to OJ with. But not all of these folks are in New York -- therefore, I have made other friends here. In addition, I moved back to NYC to go to law school, so I have a number of friends from there. Finally, I have met many people through work. The following Venn Diagram may shed some light on the matter.
Well, maybe not (I just thought the Venn Diagram was cool). I would love to map out my "tribe" someday. One of my tribal members was just telling me that she knew someone who had developed an equation to map out one's Friendster connections. A good tribal diagram would be like that, but with real friends, not just random acquaintances that happen to be online.
My point is that each of us may define the boundaries and members of our own tribe slightly differently than others in the same tribe. Or, think of it like this. If each of us could invite 20 people to a dinner party, we'd all have about 12-15 of the same people on our invite list, but the other ones would vary. This, however, is the very factor that keeps the tribes interesting and prevents stagnation. We don't want to get sick of each other.
Another point that I've made over and over again is that one of the reasons that dating can be somewhat challenging for me is because of my tribe. I have been blessed with great friends, and my free time is limited. If someone can't interest me enough to make me want to spend a fraction of my free time with him rather than with my friends, what's the point? Similarly, he should like my friends, because they are a huge part of my life.
So -- come and meet my tribe. I'm thinking of having a tribal gathering soon . . . stay tuned!