Monday, June 30, 2008

Community for the Single Woman

I've mentioned before that many single women actually enjoy larger and stronger communities than many coupled people and I know that for me, building a strong community is a conscious priority. But I admit that I have also sometimes lamented that doing so requires such a concerted effort; somewhere in my brain, I think couples must have it easier because they don't have to do anything, they have an automatic support system, even if it is only a community of two. Of course, I know that good relationships take effort too, though it's a different type of effort. At any rate, I have often wondered if other singles also struggle with this, with finding the energy to deepen relationships and build stronger ties with people, absent a romantic relationship, or if it's just me. So I found it particularly interesting to read a recent Blogher post asking are academics the loneliest professionals? since part of my 'is it just me' wondering has included wondering if it has something to do with my profession. Academics spend a lot of time alone - even if you have co-authors on papers, much of the actual research and writing is done on your own, and even if you are at a large university, there may be few opportunities to interact with colleagues outside your own department. I have often listened to my non-academic friends talk about their interactions and social outings with co-workers and been a bit envious. On the other hand, I've also listened to their stories about bosses or co-workers from hell and been exceedingly grateful for my job so I do understand that it cuts both ways! But I do wonder if it is easier for people in other occupations to find lasting friendships through work. Anyone care to enlighten me?

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