The first time I heard the phrase kindred spirit was from the popular Anne of Green Gables TV series from the mid-1980s, which was adapted from the L.M. Montgomery novels. The character of Anne Shirley used the term kindred spirits to talk about intimate friends, people with whom who she felt she could bare her soul. She held these people dear to her heart and was fiercely loyal to them.
Susan Cain, author of the introvert juggernaut book Quiet, used the phrase kindred spirits in an interview with Marie Forleo a while back. She said–in terms of networking events–that many people think success is walking away with a handful of business cards. For her, she is simply looking for one kindred spirit. There is usually at least one at every party or networking event. These are people with whom you connect and have chemistry. People you want to get to know stay in touch with.
We go through life, collecting kindred spirits–people we feel connected to in our heart.
This rings true for me.
I never had a LOT of close friends at once–maybe 1 or 2. Of course I have more casual friends, but not kindred spirits. There are people I like and think are nice, good people, but I don’t have that deep connection with them.
The older I get, the more important I find it is to have that connection. When I have a great conversation with someone, I feel like I’m on a high–almost giddy. So emotionally and mentally fulfilled.
HSPs–because we have so much empathy and are good listeners–tend to be fiercely loyal friends. When I have a kindred spirit in my life, I’m not going to let them go. When I moved across the the country, there was no way I was going to let my best female friendship fade away, even though my friend pessimistically joked that it would. I wouldn’t let it happen; it meant too much to me.
On the other hand, it’s ok to let go of friendships that are not with people who are kindred spirits.
Hear me out…
Perhaps you have people in your life you consider friends, but when you dig down deep, you don’t really enjoy being around them. Maybe over the years you have both changed–which is completely ok! People change! It is ok to let go of friends or acquaintances who do not add anything to your life (or vice versa–maybe you don’t add anything to their life, either.)
It sounds cold to say that you should let go of people you aren’t getting anything from. But honestly, what is friendship? Why waste energy and time with people you don’t have a connection with? (Especially if they are toxic or even harming your happiness in some way.) It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with either of you–you’re just different.
Having kindred spirit friends who can meet your emotional needs is crucial to an HSP. If you’ve ever felt alone or lonely in your life, I’m willing to bet you were missing at least one kindred spirit who could be there for you to let you know you weren’t alone–one person you could feel a true camaraderie and deep connection with. (I hate ending sentences with prepositions but so be it!)
My deepest feelings and emotions come out with people I connect with because it feels safe. With kindred spirits, I know that person cares and won’t judge me–or vice versa. There are no ulterior motives. We will be loyal because we share the same care for each other. When I have friends like this, I strive to be the best friend I can be.
Another cool thing about kindred spirits is that they usually reciprocate your excitement about having found you as a friend, too.
In summary: Try to find some friends who are also kindred spirits. When you do, consider yourself lucky and don’t let them go.
More on kindred spirits: Listen to my podcast episode on this same topic.