Ben Smith, CEO and co-founder of coliving company Tribe, is working to bring together young, diverse people looking to find their place in New York City.
They accomplish their motto of “We help you make friends” by providing shared and single rooms at a lower cost, aimed towards new transplants into the city. The application process includes a video interview and a credit check that is tailored to test financial and cultural fit.
Smith explains that many people fall into the cycle of going to work then coming back home, which can further fuel loneliness.
Isolation has become a more prominent issue for young professionals who are constantly traveling, working freelance or remotely, and pulling away from traditional life dynamics expected of them. Now, there are industries and apps dedicated to combating this isolation — coworking and coliving being some of the most well-known.
Still, the Tribe experience isn’t quite for everyone according to some residents. One claimed that since he arrived at the coliving space, some people have moved out due to not fitting in and experienced what he refers to as “social policing.” This could be explained by looking at the chronically lonely brain, which works into overdrive and could be more sensitive to what seems negative and cause them to retreat back into isolation.
“We’ve had people who were shy at first, but eventually they get into it. We’ve had people who didn’t,” said Kenneth Sterling, the company’s director of business management. “We worked it out where they were able to leave. No harm, no foul. If it’s not a right fit, it’s not a right fit.”