FIND your tribe. This simple phrase - which refers to seeking out kindred spirits who share your outlook and interests - has echoed in my mind a lot lately.

We all crave a sense of belonging, yet finding your tribe isn’t always as easy as it sounds on paper. Making new friends, particularly as a middle-aged adult, can be hard. Not least for those who are shy, lack confidence or don’t give their trust easily having been burned in the past.

There is also the ick factor to deal with. Admitting to feeling lonely remains a thorny 21st-century taboo, one that is - wrongly - seen as some sort of failing, character flaw or simply weird.

The truth, though, is that many of us can find ourselves adrift in adulthood, whether through moving house, changing jobs, diverging lifestyles, caregiving commitments, bereavement or illness.

Read more: Gone camping – is there an easier way to have a midlife crisis?

Maybe you’re the only one in your friendship group who has - or hasn’t - had kids; perhaps you have given up drinking alcohol; or prefer Sunday afternoons spent perusing art galleries to hiking up hills. Whatever the reason, it can be a tough and tricky hinterland to navigate.

Earlier this year, I interviewed the author Claire Alexander for The Herald Magazine about her debut novel Meredith, Alone. The titular character is a reclusive Glasgow woman who hasn’t left her house in 1,214 days.

There are myriad heartbreaking reasons for this self-imposed confinement, yet one of the most magical things is how Meredith creates a strong friendship network through online groups.

It mirrored how, while working on the book, Alexander met a fellow author on an internet-based writing course. They immediately clicked and have become great friends, despite never meeting in person until the launch party for Meredith, Alone some 18 months later.

Alexander and I discussed how it is becoming more commonplace to make new connections through social media, yet there remains a lingering stigma (much like there used to be about online dating) when it comes to striking up friendships with strangers on the internet.

Commonly-cited fears include everything from becoming embroiled in money scams and pyramid schemes to being inducted into a cult or ending up in a terrifyingly similar scenario to the James Caan character in the film adaptation of Stephen King's chilling 1987 novel Misery.

Granted, you do need to exercise caution. Social media has its share of shady charlatans. Not least people that project themselves one way in their online persona, yet in real life are the antithesis of all they pretend to stand for.

As one pal said recently: “Your b******* radar becomes finely tuned.” And ain’t that the truth. Word to the wise: you should never have to fight for anyone to see your worth.

So, how do you know you have found your tribe? Because when you are around the right people, everything clicks into place. It feels easy. You don’t need to worry about saying something daft.

Read more: How I became a running bore – trainers, toilet breaks and TMI

They encourage you to grow and become the best version of yourself. Your successes are celebrated as joyfully as their own. All your kooky quirks and self-perceived foibles are embraced as happy hallmarks of individuality.

I’ve long been a proponent of the mantra that spending time alone is far better than being around the wrong people. That still rings true. However, sharing adventures with the right people is incredibly special, life-affirming and fun.

Last weekend I attended a charity fundraising retreat with 30+ people brought together as listeners of the Press Play and Run podcast, a community forged largely through online connections and a shared passion for everyday running.

We did yoga, went on a trail run across rugged moorland, ate delicious food, tried cold water dipping and enjoyed many amazing conversations. Then made plans to do it all again very soon. This is my tribe. You’ll find yours too. Don’t settle for anything less.