I am pleased to share a guest post by author Brenda Billings Ridgley, who talks about...
Desperately Seeking Girlfriends
Brenda Billings Ridgley
Loneliness and the feeling of being disconnected has become an epidemic. In our globally connected world, how is it possible for anyone to be lonely? Psychologically speaking, loneliness does not necessitate that a person be socially isolated. Being lonely means feeling detached from others yet having the desire for a connection or a relationship. A 2018 nationwide survey reported by Texas A&M Health found that nearly half of American’s report feeling alone or left out, and one in four Americans rarely feel as though there are people who really understand them. Now consider for a moment what those loneliness numbers would look like today post 2020 and the current pandemic. I believe we would be dismayed, if not surprised that individually we are more isolated as a nation than ever before.
For weeks or sometimes months we were directed to quarantine from anyone outside of our household. For more than a year we were encouraged to ‘socially distance’ and keep 6 feet away from others. We were required to wear masks that made communicating difficult. The masks, in my observation, also created a disconnection from who we really are. We go about our day in “stealth mode” as I like to call it. What is stealth mode you ask? Well on occasion when I go into a grocery store without hair and makeup done, let's call it the “natural look” most likely on a laid-back Saturday, I pretend no one can see me and I dart in and out without engaging anyone. We basically have lived more than a year in this stealth mode limiting social interactions, and with that often our good manners. It is my opinion that many people behave differently when they wear a mask. Although you cannot see a covered smile, you still can recognize in one’s eyes a warm greeting. You can still share a hello and nod of acknowledgment when socially distancing and/or wearing a mask. However, for many of us, stealth mode has disconnected us from our normal societal etiquette and upbringing. As we work our way out of the pandemic, I hope that you are faring better than 50% or more of the United States who are lonely. I also hope that you reserve your stealth mode for occasional use only!
We can fix this. If you are feeling disconnected and silently wish you could be a part of something bigger, you are not alone. Loneliness is not something to be ashamed of but it does create some bad habits that will require stepping out of your comfort zone. I would like to help you find your tribe. If you already have a close group of friends, I would like to help you strengthen your sisterhood. I am on a mission to create 1000 new Lady Tribes over the next year. I will be guiding these leaders with weekly connecting ideas and monthly activities to help you find your tribe and build deep, meaningful, life-long friendships. If you are interested in joining Lady and the Tribe’s Inner Circle sign up here.
Loneliness affects all ages and every walk of life. Although this project is focusing on women, men please don’t hesitate to tap in! If you or someone you know is battling loneliness and/or depression, there is help out there for you! You never know who might need a Crisis Text Line. Pass it on and tell the people in your life to text HOME to 741741 if they’re ever in crisis. Together we can end unwanted isolation and foster inclusivity, connection, and joy.
All my love,
Brenda Billings Ridgley
BRENDA RIDGLEY is the author of Lady and the Tribe, How to Create Empowering Friendship Circles. She is a speaker, and girlfriend guru who loves helping women connect, find success, and discover joy through friendship. Her mission is to start a movement: women coming together to build thousands of new Lady Tribes around the globe. Through her workshops, vlogs, blogs, and book clubs, Brenda helps women connect and communicate with respect, love, and trust. She holds an MA in human resources and has spent decades cultivating her own Tribe. A Colorado girl at heart, Brenda lives in the Carbon Valley area with her husband, Parker, two kids, Parker Jr. and Gillian, and pooch, Perry. She enjoys hiking and has conquered Longs Peak and several other 14’ers. To connect with Brenda, visit her website at www.BrendaRidgley.com.
Brenda Billings Ridgley
GENRE: Non-fiction, Self-help
Wives, mothers, and career women—we have all fallen victim to the silent epidemic that is, literally . . . letting ourselves go. Not the makeup free, yoga pants, weight gain routine. Little by little, we have allowed our preferences, interests, and individuality to slip away until we no longer recognize ourselves outside of our role as wives, mothers, or professionals. Who we are has become what we do.
In the process, our friendships have become the casualty of a “busy life” and lack consistency and depth. We have a gaping hole inside us that longs to be filled. How do we reclaim who we really are and fill this empty space that seemed to appear from nowhere? The answer lies in our Tribe. Our best friends see us more clearly than we see ourselves and are representations and extensions of our individuality. They are our companions, cheerleaders, and counselors—always in our corner. They are the branches of our tree of life that lift and support us, so we can flourish. Our Tribe is the family with whom we choose to live our life . . . with no strings attached.
Lady and the Tribe is a blueprint for building deep connections. As you read, you’ll be swept away on a journey of friendship as the author shares her own personal stories and those of other women. In the process, you’ll discover how to find, nurture, and deepen friendships and create a Tribe culture that is unique to you.
We can become whole again through the power of connection.
When three or more gather, we are Tribe.
Loneliness Can Be Lethal
Since we live in this global, socially connected world, how is it possible for anyone to be lonely? Psychologically speaking, loneliness does not necessitate social isolation. Being lonely means feeling detached from others yet having the desire for a connection or a relationship.
Why is loneliness so lethal? As human beings, one of our greatest needs is to be seen, acknowledged, and cared for. We want to belong and be a part of something larger than ourselves. More so than men, women need to maintain close connections. Relationships increase serotonin and oxytocin, the bonding hormone. In times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight—they also release oxytocin. This hormone surge can compel women to “tend and befriend.”
Research is clear. Close friendships are necessary for optimal health and well-being. A longitudinal study of aging found that strong social networks lengthen survival among older people. Dr. Amir Leving suggests that social connections are the most powerful way for us to regulate our emotional distress and that proximity to someone you are securely attached to is the most effective way to calm yourself.
An article in the New York Times reported that close relationships create positive mental and physical reactions in our body, mind, and heart. We are less likely to experience high levels of loneliness when we feel supported by intimate and close relationships. Strong relationships with close friends or family benefit us greatly and fulfil our social needs.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
BRENDA RIDGLEY is an author, speaker, and girlfriend guru who loves helping women connect, find success, and discover joy through friendship. Her mission is to start a movement: women coming together to build thousands of new Lady Tribes around the globe. Through her workshops, vlogs, blogs, and book clubs, Brenda helps women connect and communicate with respect, love, and trust. She holds an MA in human resources and has spent decades cultivating her own Tribe. A Colorado girl at heart, Brenda lives in the Carbon Valley area with her husband, Parker, two kids, Parker Jr. and Gillian, and pooch, Perry. She enjoys hiking and has conquered Longs Peak and several other 14’ers.
To connect with Brenda, visit her website.
Invite Brenda to speak at your next event: email@example.com.
Podcast: @TheConnectionConnoisseur - https://www.podserve.fm/series/website/the-connection-connoisseur,3341/