Expose Your True Self Within A Supportive Community
There is nothing quite like the feeling of being truly seen for who you are. Often, particularly as we find careers and meet many different groups of people throughout our work life, we are assembled with others who we did not necessarily choose to be with. They may be a wonderful bunch of folks, and you may find some community with them, but they aren’t necessarily your peeps. You may even share viewpoints with a community in general, but a peep is someone who you want to bare all to because you know they will support you unconditionally. They want for you as much as you want for them and yourself. A peep is someone to whom you feel naturally comfortable exposing your true self. They are like-minded souls who easily connect with you at a deep level.
Having peeps that “get you” and love you for all that you are, is often the best part of life. Perhaps they are friends, colleagues, neighbors or members of your family. However, finding someone who truly understands you and allows you to completely be yourself is not always easy. But when you do, the deep connection with a peep is priceless.
Community Comes To Us Organically Throughout Life
It is not unusual that the community where you grew up has a number of your peeps. The shared experience of growing up and going to school together often provides a common ground that isn’t easily mirrored in adult life. I feel that way about my hometown of Roosevelt, NJ. Even if I didn’t get super close to everyone in my childhood community, there are many whom I consider my closest friends and several who are my peeps. I differentiate between a close friend and peep but perhaps that is not a clear distinction. I find that you can be close to someone and see them as your close friend yet still not feel the easy and natural connection that you get with a peep. And sometimes when you are just getting to know someone—so you are not yet a close friend—in an instant you discover they are a true peep. Your friendship will then probably develop over time.
Your Communities Naturally Change Over Time
When you are in college, you are foisted into a new community. You probably have some shared aspects with other students right from the beginning because you and others where drawn to that particular college for good reason. Perhaps it was the kinds of courses they offered or perhaps certain extracurricular activities the school was known for. Whatever it was, the other students went there for the same reason so it is good chance that you will find your peeps there. So once again your circumstances hand you new communities and opportunities to find peeps. As you are exposed to new groups in life, try to connect deeply with a person here and there. Who knows where you will identify your true peeps.
Communities At Work
A similar organic experience often arises at work. Workplaces are communities of like-minded individuals who are focused on the same business interests. You probably share interests with others in the organization. Nonetheless, probably not all of the people at work are your peeps. Over time, even if you are friendly with many of your colleagues in your organization, you will probably find a sub-group or individuals who are your peeps. Some people never find their peeps at work—they find them through others activities and exposures in their life such as church or synagogue or book groups or sports groups or whatever.
Deliberately Create Community
Organic isn’t always better. Although I do prefer organic for vegetables, there is no reason why you have to rely on organic circumstances like where you grew up or where you work or went to school to find community. You can consciously seek out what you want and need in community. One way is to find opportunities to have group experiences. For instance, you might go on a group outing with a club, or take a course, or go on a retreat. The key to finding your peeps is to seek out activities that will congregate people with compatible perspectives. Don’t go to a silent retreat if you are looking for people who want to talk—although I do have friends who met at a silent retreat and then got married so connections can be found even in silence. Whatever the topic, when joined into common experience, we often find that we suddenly feel more connected than ever. And in those situations, you will find that you gravitate towards some of the people within the larger group. They are probably your peeps.
Peeps Can Reconnect In An Instant
Finding ways to sustain peep relationships when separated by distance or time can be difficult though not impossible. If your peeps don’t live nearby because you met them at a distant location such as a retreat or from earlier times in your life, it can be harder to stay connected. But the wonderful thing about peeps is that when you do reconnect after a stretch of time, you instantly continue where you left off. It’s as if you can continue a sentence that was stopped midway without missing a beat. That is a peep to keep!
Different Life Stages Yield Different Communities
Over time, different qualities in a peep are important to you because your needs and wants and experiences are different. When you are in the early phases of learning who you are while in school, you might seek out varied groups to explore who your peeps are for the time being. As your understanding of yourself continues to develop as an adult and your focus shifts, new communities will become important to you. Perhaps you get married and some of your new partner’s friends become your community. And you may also have a community that remains important to you that you do not share with your spouse. If you have kids, your communities might shift to be with other parents, or school board members. Maybe your town community has particular importance at one point in your life. In others words, what is important to you may change at different points in your life so find different groups of people and your peeps change—for that moment.
Retirement Brings A Sudden Change To Your Community
For many people in the business world, your communities have been almost exclusively created through work. You may have different groups of peeps that you have cultivated for years within your industry—not just at your particular company. So when you retire, there is a huge loss of your community of peeps. There is a large void that is often unexpected. After going into an office every day and interacting with your colleagues—even if some of them aren’t your true peeps but just friendly and conversational acquaintances, you will miss them. You are at yet another life stage where your community will shift.
What You Need Depends On Your Own Personality
You might find that when given the choice, you don’t need as many or as large of a community as you had at work. If you are fairly introverted, you may have had a large community because it was unavoidable in your job. Perhaps you had just a few close friends at work that you may or may not call peeps, but even those you get disconnected from when you retire. So it is important to know what you need from community at every phase of your life. It is important to understand how much social contact you want and need. And it is very important that you find peeps who you can be fully natural with and will support you no matter what change you are going through.
Different Communities For Different Needs
It would be wonderful if you could build a community that has all the types of people that reflect all the facets that you love in life. Some people are lucky to have built such a community. For most of us, just as you are a unique individual, there might not be one person or one group of people that has all the requirements to be your peeps. You may need to find several communities of different minded peeps to capture your different wants. Perhaps there are your peeps who like to go deep and connect about the meaning of life. Then there are your peeps who want to go outside and laugh and do activities together. Or maybe you have your peeps who love to discuss obscure movies. Finding the exact likes and needs you want in one set of people is not unheard of but not very likely. So build as many different communities as you need, or seek out different communities that already exist and enjoy each for their unique flavor of people.
It Only Takes Two To Be A Community—One Peep May Be Enough
I’ve been talking about creating a community as if it is always a group of people. And I’ve been speaking of peeps as if they are always in a community group. Although it can be nice to have both groups and individuals that you connect with, a community can be just two people. If you share interests and your sensibility match on some level, enjoy that peep and cultivate that relationship. If you are lucky to bring together and create a larger group of peeps—if that is what you want—congratulations to you. Just seek out your own rewarding community so that you can enjoy the human connection and sense of being seen that you can only get from your true peeps. You will be rewarded with a bounty of love and support.