Finding Our Tribe –
May 6, 2019 – This conversation — this warmth — is what Ben Smith is in the business of selling. Smith is the CEO and co-founder of Tribe, a co-living space with seven locations in Brooklyn whose motto is “We help you make friends.” Tribe offers furnished rooms at a premium: A bed in a shared room costs between $750 and $950, while prices for a single room range from $1,150 to $1,700. (Bathrooms and kitchens are shared.) According to Smith, however, “the product really is the people.” The goal is to provide residents, many of whom are recent transplants to the city, with a premade social fabric. “New York can be an extremely isolating place, especially if you are here for a new job,” Smith says. It’s easy to fall into the trap of commuting to work and then going right back home if you don’t know anyone. “People have gone that route before living with us.” A recent nationwide survey of 20,000 adults found that nearly half of Americans report feeling alone or left out some or all of the time. What is often missed in the corresponding coverage, says Steve Cole, a genetics researcher at UCLA who frequently collaborated with Cacioppo, is that loneliness is not aloneness. Instead, it’s the subjective feeling that you lack meaningful relationships or a solid support system, an important distinction.