Help me either leave my urban tribe, or accept my place in it
March 6, 2013 9:20 PM Subscribe
This past year I got involved in a local community of people. I have mixed feelings and am looking for your relevant experiences with close-knit urban tribes.
posted by htid to human relations (23 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I won't say exactly what community this is, but picture a community of geeks, artists, and regular folks, along the lines of community theater, burners, makers, the body mod community, juggalos, [insert your alternative community here]. In the city where I live, there is some overlap among all the fringe communities anyway and the particular one I'm in is irrelevant. There are common local events and parties as well as national events. I am in a major US city. The group includes people ages 22-40ish.
I first got involved via someone I dated, and I was drawn to the friendship, activities and a culture that felt consistent with my interests since I was a yougin. I remember the first party I went to and thought, "This feels like home!" The romantic relationship may or may not have ended as a trainwreck. I say it may not have, because through the shared community, there has been some ongoing relationship/friendship/drama, though the dating ended painfully last year. I've always been out of contact with exes, but it seemed near impossible in this case because I was so strongly drawn to the friendship group as a whole.
I like the closeness in this local community, but I also dislike the inclusivity and cultural mixing for other reasons. Sociopaths and douchebags are not typically turned away, and there is a fair amount of mental illness and irresponsibility. There is relational drama with everyone having dated everyone else. E.g., seeing many of a person's prior, and subsequent, partners can be awkward or painful.
My alternative is to stick with people who are closer to my own culture, young professionals bordering on "the 1%," people with top notch educations, etc. In my social group outside of the urban tribe, there are more one-on-one relationships and less group cohesion. I feel like there is more safety, healthy behavior, and predictability, but also less closeness and creativity. There are fewer big parties and opportunities to socialize. That being said, the urban tribe does have a feeling of staleness to it sometimes. And, I do have hobbies outside of it.
There were times in the past year that I actually cried from happiness at the thought of having stumbled upon this excellent community. On the contrary, there were times I was frustrated to the eyeballs from drama, and other times when I saw some really despicable people and thought that I didn't want to be within a degree of separation from them.
TLDR: I am a bit conflicted about whether to keep participating in my urban tribe, for lack of a better phrase. I'm looking for advice, anecdotes from your own life, or links to resources that could help me understand this a bit more.