Every time I scroll my social media feed and see Black girls brunching, laughing, and serving looks, I smile sheepishly. I also wonder when I’m going to find my girl tribe.
From the ages of seven to 17 years old, I lived in Miami. The southeastern city in Florida was my home and playground until I moved to London. I had lived there prior to Miami and was made to return because my parents were sick of my antics at the time and thought a more conservative upbringing in the UK would be better for a rebellious teen. They might have been on to something because when I moved to London, I stopped running away, sneaking out of the house and resisting authority.
After more than a decade across the pond, I wanted to return to the States, deciding to move back to Florida. I was excited about making the move in 2020, but would soon be disappointed. I waltzed in right when the pandemic started pandemic-ing in February 2020. I was initially anxious about moving because my community is in London and I no longer was in touch with most of the friends I had in Miami during high school. To ease my nerves, I came up with a game plan for making sister-friends, including going to festivals, networking events, open-mic nights, and joining hobby groups. If you’re reading this, you lived through the pandemic, and so as you can guess, this didn’t go as planned. “The Rona” derailed my agenda, negatively impacting my opportunities to meet people and make friends. Instead, I spent my incipient days in sunny south Florida quarantining and social distancing. This was hard to navigate, especially because I am a parent to a toddler and didn’t have a tribe to weather that storm with. I had to get creative.
A silver lining in the situation was that I learned to put myself out there. I began to utilize digital tools to mix and mingle. For instance, I downloaded Bumble BFF and created a profile, hoping I could make friends. That was an enjoyable experience because it forced me to think about what I really want in my relationships and what type of friend I am, too. I had a few conversations on the app and even exchanged numbers with a few women, but nothing led to an in-person meetup. After some time, the connection and conversation would fizzle, as is also my experience when using dating apps to actually date (if you know, you know).
Have you heard about the Facebook group “Black Women Making Friends”? Yep, I tried that too. I posted what they call a “friendship application,” where you introduce yourself and say what you’re looking for in a friend on several occasions. Like Bumble BFF, I had a few conversations, but nothing tangible came from it. I will say though, the ladies in that group were lovely nonetheless!
Another tactic I tried was actually holding conversations with people I connected with on Linkedln as that isn’t something I typically did. That is where I had my breakthrough and started the one budding friendship I have now. We met up in outdoor spaces like the beach, had girly brunches, and have taken our kids on playdates many times since then. Time spent with my Florida friend after so much time spent looking for a companion reminds me of how integral friendship is. It also reminds me about the power of Black sisterhood and how it can add quality experiences to everyday life. Black women can truly make the most mundane things magical.
I could have given up and allowed my circumstances to leave me disenchanted, believing that without in-person interactions to set the stage, I was resigned to friendlessness. But thankfully, there’s more than one way to make meet people these days. While I may not have found a tribe yet, I have met a kindred spirit. After almost two years back, despite the pandemic still marking its territory, this place is kind of starting to feel like home again — and surprisingly, I have the Internet to thank for that.