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.
photo credit: magandafille via photopin cc
I’ve been looking for a kindred spirit since I read the “Anne” books in the 60s but I’ve never found one.
Dealing with depression and, now I discover, anxiety all my life, has made making friends very difficult, either on my part or theirs.
I crashed in 2008 from being overstresse because I’d been emotionally shut down for years and didn’t recognize that I was in trouble. Figured out since that no one in my life recognized it either because they were all as emotionally shut down as I was. As I figured things out in therapy and opened myself to the grief and pain that was submerged, everyone that I had thought were friends disappeared.
So, how am I to find a kindred spirit, when I can’t even find a friend?
Commenting on things like this, or contacting on Facebook just aren’t the same as heart to hearts in person.
Barbara, I wish I could give you a huge hug right now (ope – there is my HSP empathy coming out! lol), but truly I wish I could. Being lonely in life is one of the worst feelings, I can attest to that honestly as I have too felt that at times I had no friends. Do you have a hobby? I find that is a great first step – even to getting ‘out there’ and meeting people, in a safe and comfortable setting (ie: scrapbooking or craft ‘session’ at your local craft store, or if you’re into photography or art then going to a gallery opening… I don’t know – just a suggestion. Somewhere you will meet others who share a similar interest as you. There a lot of clubs, or even online resources – just search for ones in your area. I hope this year brings to your path at least ONE person who truly understands and can share your company. Sending much love, and an ‘internet hug’ 🙂
Barbara, I don’t know you but would I have replied to this post it would have been almost the exact same reply you gave, down to the year 2008 where I crashed too. I don’t know if we think alike or if we are kindred spirits but I know that reading your reply, I feel that you are closer to a kindred spirit then all the people I’ve met for the last 20 years. Do with that what you will, the factt is, neither of us is alone. It’s just extremely difficult to find people that are as honest and open as we are.
Barbara, I hope by now you have managed to make friends. Consider that maybe giving yourself the freedom to like yourself, and even love yourself the way you are, will open you up to making new connections. I believe people sense when we are closed off and unreceptive to heart connections. Tryin accepting yourself first. Then maybe co sister joining a mertup group with other like minded individuals. You can try the meet up app. There are so many great people in this world waiting to cultivate a friendship with you. Don’t get discouraged, just let yourself out of your comfort zone!
I can relate to this post a lot – mostly because I have thought many times just how *rare* it is to find someone that truly understands me. I really only have 1 ‘kindred spirit’ in my life right now, but it is like day and night hanging out with that person, as opposed to everyone else. I agree with you – when you find someone you truly connect with, and can feel completely comfortable around, do NOT let them go! Show your appreciation, even in little ways – I believe this is really underestimated in this world and also rare (showing appreciation, and verbally telling someone else just HOW much they mean to you) Thanks for another awesome post! 😀
Thank YOU, Helen!!
I was just watching Anne of Green Gables on youtube 2 days ago and thinking how wonderful to have “Kindred spirit”. Watching Anne and Diana in the movie makes me yarn for that and made me teary. That’s why I love watching Sex and the City (I believe that show is about Kindred spirit friendship rather than relationship with men), The Steel Magnolia etc. I hope it’s not too late to find my own “Kindred spirit” someday even though I’m in my early 40s 🙂 Thank you for sharing.
This is very true for me. I can get very lonely without a kindred spirit. I might be surrounded by good, kind people, but there is no connection.
I have found that with true kindred spirits you can reconnect after lost time as if you had never parted. Unfortunately, they are few and far between.