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What Is a Kindred Spirit?

By Alicia Sparks
Updated May 23, 2024
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Also known as a kindred soul, a kindred spirit is one who shares certain beliefs, values, or interests with another person. For example, if two people say they are kindred spirits, it means they have certain similarities. By the definition of the words that make up the saying, the two people have a likeness that forms a relationship or association between them. Other factors, such as similarities in age and gender, can help make a kindred spirit relationship stronger, but they don’t have to exist for two or more people to be kindred souls. Likewise, a kindred spirit relationship isn’t limited to one between two people, and can exist among larger entities like groups and organizations.

Just as they can with many other types of idiomatic expressions, people can dissect “kindred spirit” to discover its meaning. In other words, by considering the two separate words in the idiom, “kindred” and “spirit,” and their definitions, a person can figure out the definition of the idiom as a whole. Generally, “kindred” is a word people use to describe some sort of relationship or association between two or more people or entities. “Spirit” or “soul” often refers to the individual. So, if a certain number of people or entities are kindred spirits or kindred souls, some sort of relationship or association connects them.

Basically, the only qualifying factor for two people to be kindred spirits is a shared feature of some sort. Usually this feature is a belief or value, or an interest in some activity, hobby, or cause. Sometimes, the feature might be a similar religion, faith, or mode of spirituality. While they might foster a kindred spirit relationship between people, factors such as age, gender, and race don’t necessarily prevent such a relationship. A male and female can be kindred souls, just as people of different age groups and races can be kindred souls.

Usually, a kindred spirit is one person who is in some way similar to another person. Yet, people can use the expression to describe larger entities. For example, the students of two separate universities who share the same rival university might consider their schools kindred spirits. Similarly, the chairmen of two charity organizations working toward the same goal of feeding the hungry might consider their organizations kindred souls. Sometimes, people even consider animals to be kindred spirits, whether with one another or with their human owners.

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Discussion Comments
By anon337456 — On Jun 05, 2013

I am 20 years older than my sister. The strangest things happen between us. We won't contact each other for months and as soon as I contact her, she will be trying to contact me. We think of the same things the same time. We buy the same clothes the same time, we move house the same time, and the same things that happen to me also happen to her. We realized that it cannot be coincidental as this occurred on numerous occasions.

By snickerish — On Oct 13, 2011

It is difficult for me to distinguish between a kindred spirit and just likable people in my life. I just have the type of personality where I feel instantly connected and happy about meeting most people. I feel connected to most people, whether I have met them once or numerous times. I feel like we all can find that we have a lot in common with most people, if we just take the time to get to know people and if we refuse to judge anyone.

I guess for me, since I feel an instant connection with most people, maybe I could define my kindred spirit in whom I actually stay in contact with, instead of people I just meet once or twice. I guess there are people, once I spend more time with, that I feel connected to more so than other people. Just like in a romantic relationship, some only last for a while, while others last for a lifetime. So for me, I guess my kindred spirits are the ones that outlast the test of time. Does anyone else feel instantly connected to most people?

By Saraq90 — On Oct 12, 2011

I am so lucky to have a few kindred spirits in my life! My sister has always been my favorite kindred spirit. We share a lot of similarities, both internal qualities and external as well. We think a lot a like. If we were not two years apart in age, I would think we were twins sometimes. We can go days and even sometimes months without talking and everything will still be the same when we talk again. There are no awkward silences or anything. Of course there are times when we are both silent, but it is not awkward for us because we still feel just as connected no matter what.

I also have a best friend who is also a kindred soul. We met around nine years ago, through a mutual friend, and we just connected from the start. Our mutual friend actually got mad at us because she said she felt left out when the three of us would get together, but we of course were not trying to make her feel that way. I think our friendship connection is just so strong, it is difficult for certain people to understand.

By Azuza — On Oct 12, 2011

@JaneAir - That is a good point, I guess. However, I don't think you necessarily need shared interests to be a kindred spirit with someone.

I kind of equate kindred spirits with falling in love, in a platonic way, of course. You don't have to have everything in common and be exactly the same. But when you meet a kindred spirit, you just know!

By JaneAir — On Oct 11, 2011

I also think of the Anne of Green Gables books when I hear the term kindred spirit. And it's no wonder so many of us do! That series is one of the most popular young adult series' ever published!

Anyway, I agree that not everyone can be a "kindred spirit." However, I've found that I have the best luck finding kindred spirits when I go to classes or groups dedicated to things that I like.

For example, I was an art major in college. I tended to find more kindred spirits in my art classes than I did in my classes in other subject. I think that's because people who have similar interests are more likely to be kindred spirits!

By SailorJerry — On Oct 11, 2011

@golf07 - That's the first thing I think of when I hear this term, too! I love all the Anne of Green Gables those books. Have you re-read them as an adult? They hold up well to re-reading, I think.

She seemed to think of a kindred spirit as a person of any age, sex, or condition in life with whom you just felt an easy bond. You can be yourself with a kindred spirit and not worry that they will misunderstand or misjudge you

By sunshined — On Oct 10, 2011

My husband and I have a couple that we eat out with and do some traveling with. We consider them good friends, and enjoy spending time with them, but she is not a kindred spirit as some of my other friends are.

One of my cousins that I am closest to has always been a kindred spirit in my life. Even when we were young, we had the same interests and enjoyed the same activities.

We have continued that relationship all through the years. We don't live as close as we used to, but I know the minute I see her or talk to her on the phone, we will be able to pick up right where we left off.

There are not any awkward moments or periods of wondering what you are going to say next. There can even be long periods of silence that are comfortable just because you enjoy being in each others company.

There is such a comfort in knowing you have this type of friendship in your life.

By golf07 — On Oct 10, 2011

I first remember reading about the term 'kindred spirit' when I was reading the book, Anne of Green Gables. In this book, Anne talks a lot about having a kindred spirit.

I think if you have several kindred spirits in your life, you are very blessed. I think there is even a difference between a kindred spirit and a good friend.

I have several good friends who might not be kindred spirits, but a kindred spirit is always a good friend.

There is an immediate connection with a kindred spirit that makes the relationship special right from the start. It only takes a few seconds to know that you have that special bond.

By tigers88 — On Oct 09, 2011

I think the word kindred spirits gets overused. You sometimes here people say that they are kindred spirits with another person for the stupidest reasons, like "we both like ice cream" or "we both hate soccer". I think it takes more than this to claim in any meaningful why that you are kindred spirits with someone.

It's hard to put a number on it, but I think that there probably can't be more than 20 or 30 kindred spirits with yourself in the world. Its something special and unique. If you start claiming that everyone and their dog is a kindred spirit you deny what is unique and special about your own spirit.

By backdraft — On Oct 08, 2011

Its strange how you can feel a kindred spirit with someone you just met but not with people you have know for years. This is not always the case of course, I feel close and connected to a number of old fiends, but I have also sensed a strange parallel between myself and people I have just met.

I think the reason for this is that being kindred spirits literally refers to something physical. Something of your is the same as something of mine. When you meet someone you are on the same page with its like they glow or something. You just know.

By ysmina — On Oct 07, 2011

@burcidi-- Do you think that we have a deep spiritual connection with kindred spirits?

I think the name does kind of imply this, but the way you explained it sounded as though a kindred spirit is almost like a soul mate as well.

I have a lot of friends whom I have lots of things in common with, but I don't think there is any kind of 'spiritual' connection with them.

It sounds like the meaning of a kindred spirit can be a little different for different people. For me, it just means a friend that I get along really well with and enjoy spending time with.

I would like to hear more about what kindred spirit means to other people though.

By burcidi — On Oct 07, 2011

I tend to use the phrases 'old soul' and 'kindred spirit' interchangeably. A kindred spirit, for me, is not necessarily someone who knows me really well or for a long time. It's just someone who I can communicate with really easily, or whom I feel like I've know since forever.

Sometimes I meet people like this randomly and they know what I'm trying to say even without saying much sometimes. It's like we're on the same page or on the same mindset and I don't have to trouble myself to make them understand me.

You know when sometimes you're trying to explain something to someone, even a family member, and despite hours of discussion, they just don't seem to get you? Well, this never happens with a kindred spirit or an old soul. Communication is so easy and simple with them, there is no misunderstandings or confusion.

By ddljohn — On Oct 06, 2011

I have two friends whom I consider to be kindred spirits. I do have similar interests and opinions with them but I also experienced an immediate like to them when I met them.

For example, when I met my friend Sara for the first time, we hit it off right away. She was actually the roommate of another friend and when I went to their place and met Sara, we started chatting and couldn't stop! We talked about our interests and made plans to do stuff together right away.

Ever since then, she has been my best friend and is definitely a kindred spirit. She understands me better than anyone else because she is similar to me in many ways. We have supported each other through thick and thin. I was her maid of honor last year and I can't imagine a life without her as a friend.

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