All humans need connection. Women in particular, as studies show, need connection with other women** (see note below).
Some research suggests this is due to biology and hormone differences for females. Combine biological predisposition with current factors (increased use of technology, a global society where people tend to live apart, and our ongoing need for social distancing due to the pandemic) and you have the perfect recipe for loneliness.
The solution? Make female relationships a priority.
The result? Happier, more satisfied women with community and intimacy.
Fight or Flight may not have been the only options...
There is evidence to suggest that females have developed an alternative fight or flight reaction. "Tend and befriend" would have been necessary due to pregnancy and child rearing. Unless, of course you are a mama bear for whom most threats are smaller than you. Here's a link to an article that discusses this further. The article identifies the need for attachment and the role of oxytocin, the love hormone, in regulating stress. If you enjoy science, get your nerd on.
Loneliness is not a new epidemic.
Research has shown it can take more years of your life than smoking. Here's a link to a previous blog post about the effects of loneliness on women. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/benefits-of-a-girlsquad-and-female-friendships#Is-there-a-science-behind-female-friendships? They crave to know and be known. They want reciprocal relationships.
This includes giving and receiving mutual support, respect, and connection. Higher rates of anxiety and depression occur as a result of this lack of connection.
Start finding ways to connect with other women folks who identify as female.
This can be as small as a kind word or a smile to a stranger. Or as large as starting a book club or neighborhood organization. You won't have to look far to find other women who are craving connection and community. As the country opens up a bit, community events, businesses, and local groups have more offerings.
A great way to foster a friendship is to invite someone to go to an event with you. Examine your existing friendships. Are any worth deepening? This may involve getting out of your comfort zone and being vulnerable.
There's likely an acquaintance you have that you'd like to get to know better. Take the risk and reach out!
Female friendships are often loaded with vulnerability. We've got you covered.
It may be helpful to talk through past negative experiences with a therapist. At Virago Wellness we offer our Wild Hearted Women's groups. These intimate groups provide the perfect opportunity to skip the small talk and get real with a group of other women, facilitated by professionals.
We also host workshops and events to help women address the barriers to connection. June 10th we will be hosting a webinar on self worth, a major barrier to connection and July 7th we will host an in person mixer and workshop about female friendships.
We create a comfortable space to get real and vulnerable about these challenging topics. It's an excellent opportunity to meet other local women who relate.
What you will gain from increased connection:
Science suggests that better connection with other women reduces stress. (Here’s an article from Healthline that interviews Dr. Alisa Bash about this issue. Our Bash thought this was pretty great). The oxytocin released through bonding has a calming effect. Humans need to be seen, heard, and validated. This can happen in female relationships.
Close relationships and connections allow you to relax. You don’t have to be “on'' and can expend less energy.
Women who have solid support are typically happier and healthier. You deserve this too.
**This blog post will reference biological sex and difference due in part to hormonal differences. Please note that gender identity is very complex and each individual is unique. Not all female folks will resonate with this information and that's ok. This is not one size fits all.