Yesterday at work I was forwarded some very interesting findings from some research by Bauer Media into the women’s market. Bauer Media own more than 80 influential radio, magazine, TV and online UK media brands, including heat, GRAZIA, Closer, FHM. The research aimed to help advertisers find new ways to influence the conversation of British women.
The research concluded that five key roles are played in women’s conversation:
- Queen Bee, the direct and unquestioned leader in the conversation – she is independent, strong-minded and with lots of outward confidence, friends look to her to organise things, take charge and make group decisions when they are unsure of what to do.
- Northern Star, the indirect but respected leader – she has a mind of her own, is highly influential and has strong inner confidence. She is not the loudest in the crowd, never forces her opinion, friends turn to her for advice and guidance as she is deeply respected.
- Socialite, the catalyst for conversation or new ideas – she is lively and talkative and her friends often see her as the ‘funny one’. She gets her energy from interacting with others and doesn’t enjoy spending time on her own, often socialising with many different groups.
- Little Sister, seeks support and guidance and uses her friends’ feedback as a way to process her world and anxieties, often lacking inner confidence. She prefers to make her decisions after discussing it with friends and is happy to talk about her feelings openly.
- Social Listener, supporting and listening to others – she is often the glue that bonds a group. Her friends rely on her to listen to their feelings and support them when they have problems; she prides herself on being a good friend and puts others before herself.
The research had the following conclusions:
Three main reasons for talking have been identified – affiliation, the need for bonding and belonging; mood uplift, for entertainment and escapism; and finally, a need to be ‘in the know’, to help make decisions.
It was fun thinking about my friendship circles and trying to identify the various different roles and characters (and I’m sure you can’t help but do the same when you read it) but, it also got me thinking about the power of talking and of friendship to women. In fact the three reasons identified in the conclusions describe perfectly the needs of every woman.
For me, I get my ‘fix’ of these three things from my mummy-friends, my best friends and my girls prayer group which is a combination of the first two groups of friends. In my prayer group we call ourselves the WOVs (Women of Vision). It was going to be Women of God but the initials were a bit unfortunate!! Now in case you’re thinking I’m all holy with my lovely prayer group where we sit around eating Quiche and out praying each other – you’d be massively mistaken! We only manage to meet about once every quarter for a whole day of eating (mostly chocolate and cake), drinking (mostly wine and/or champagne) and chat (ANYTHING goes!).
I’m afraid this ‘prayer’ group is usually somewhat X-rated with no holds barred and certainly no judging and this is why I love it so much. All the girls in my group are creative women who absolutely love God with all their heart but are also real and human. In our WOV group we have found a place where we can express our needs, struggles and desires in a safe environment as well as our victories, successes and triumphs! I honestly think we’ve covered every issue and subject going from masturbation to singleness to divorce to adultery. I told you there were no holds barred!! I love the fact that one minute we’ll be laughing uncontrollably at some embarrassing or rude thing one of us have said or done and the next we’ll be crying as one of us shares a heartache or struggle and the very next we’ll be prophesying and speaking truth over one another.
I’ve often joked that one day I’ll anonymously write a book on our meetings and call it ‘No Sex and the City’!!! Who knows, maybe one day I will.
After probably my most difficult year to date these girls have been my lifeline and literally kept me sane as well as supporting me practically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. And I just want to say a HUGE and public thank you to them X