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Gregariousness



Much of the emphasis placed upon normal living in recent years has been directed toward the development of sociability. It is assumed that an individual who is interested in others will forget about herself and her problems and that this in itself will serve as a factor in promotion of good mental health. Business and professional organizations, clubs, and other associations have offered varied opportunities for group affiliations.

For the single woman in business and the professions is a great "joiner." She belongs to clubs, business, professional associations, and a miscellany of other organizations. In contrast to the "lone woman" of former generations she leads an intensely gregarious existence. Women who are active in these organizations often find that one evening after another has been taken by work on committees, by special meetings or by some form of sociability with business associates. This work with organizations constitutes an important aspect of her work. It proyides a meeting of "mind with mind" concerning important aspects of professional work and professional advancement and it provides her with a wide range of acquaintance. This association with many and diverse folk constitutes one of the main compensations of the single woman's life and it helps to develop one of her most distinguishing characteristics, i.e., her breadth of sympathy and view and her acceptance and tolerance of all sorts and conditions of people. But it means that her life is an intensely gregarious one and an over-development of this aspect of it may result in her having too little time for that necessary minimum of personal interests, for rest and relaxation and outdoor life. The business woman or the social worker or the teacher who works with her professional associates and with the public during her working day, who takes her meals in a restaurant or a club dining room, who attends an evening meeting or visits with friends may go home only for sleeping and for all too little of that. In the course of the day she probably meets and talks with more people than Grandmother or Aunt Elizabeth met in the course of a year. And her day's work, while it may call for the expenditure of less physical energy than that of earlier generations of women, nevertheless requires a far larger outlay of nervous energy and it leaves her less time to herself for recollection and repose or for outdoor life. Weekends and vacations may be used wisely to provide some measure of compensation for a too-nervous, in-door existence but it does not meet the average individual's need for day-today relaxation and repose.

It is true that the exceptional woman may seem to thrive on this gregarious form of living but others find that its demands are taxing. Individuals vary greatly in their need or wish for group associations and many women in business or the professions find is difficult to get an evening alone for the pursuit of an individual interest or hobby. The "tyranny of the norm" for the women in business or the professions imposes the obligation to join, to go to meetings, to serve on committees and to develop a cooperative turn of mind. It is quite evident that this obligation is, on the whole, a decided boon unless its requirements become so exacting that personal interests and pursuits are crowded out of the single woman's life.



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