It’s a look shot from the corner of your eye, a twitch of the mouth, a squeeze of the shoulder as you walk past…. Just like that, you understand each other.
As with so many things in life: The value of your work wife is never truly appreciated until you don’t have one anymore.
She’s vital for wellbeing – you need someone to convince you to grab that second coffee after a morning meeting; to share a cookie with after lunch; to listen to you complain about the endless demands of unreasonable clients; to drink wine with on Friday evening and lament the state of the universe new office stationary.
But only now, with the reign of instant-messaging apps and working-from-home and no-more-brainstorming-because-every-deadline-was-yesterday’s, are we starting to understand the true value of a work wife.
That she isn’t just healthy for caffeine and sugar levels; that she actually has a monetary value, too.
A challenge to women: stop the gossip.
The research comes from social psychologist and neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman, author of the book Social: Why our brains are wired to connect. Some of Lieberman’s insights have been published in The Atlantic and they provide a challenging insight into the way we need – but are all too often denying ourselves – quality social connections.
The need comes from the brain. As homo sapiens, we have unusually large brains considering our size. Lieberman believes this is because – early in our evolution – we learnt the best way to survive would be the ability to accurately anticipate the needs/intentions/thoughts of our fellow beings.
It’s so hardwired, in fact, that our ‘resting’ brain state – like resting bitch face, but in the brain – shows very similar neuron activity when compared to our ‘let’s socialise’ brain state.