There are often repetitive messages in my blog writing and it is rewarding when someone of superior intelligence grasps the meaning behind the messages.
Mike and I began our Social Media journey at about the same time (2010) ::... I was nudged a little harder over the cliff into the abyss slightly before him, and became what I thought as an unlikely mentor to someone who was highly successful and brilliant in his own right -- a successful book launch being a key metric that I recognized early on as a method to delve into credibility online among the endless noise and self-promotion of many self-described "experts".
Steadfast still, I am firmly entrenched in the belief that nobody can define themselves as an expert, no matter how many followers one has. It is derived from how others describe you: what do others consider you knowledgeable about is one thing, being credited as an expert quite largely another.
Mike reached out to me a couple of weeks ago via email, one of the few entrusted connections online that have never been derived from a face-to-face meeting at an event, social or association. Not even a telephone conversation.
Having a virtual or personal conversation with a man who is not a relative, business associate is frowned upon as it can lead "to other things". However, you can still be disciplined in having rich conversations and exchange of knowledge and learning from others regardless of gender. There is an invisible line that should never be crossed.
During a isolated time in my life when I was a regular church attendee, I still recall a message that resonates today from a wise Pastor: do not be afraid to create friendships or be asked for advice from the opposite gender. However, there are some areas to stay far from to keep it from falling into a downward, unethical spiral:
- Include others in the conversation so that it is not isolated, clustered by only two (the Pastor suggested that he invites his wife to any meeting or event that he wants to avoid falling into the trap of questionable conversations, particularly marriage counselling).
- It is okay to sprinkle in nuggets about your life partner, spouse, wife or husband, children, as a distinct flag that you are if not always happy, happiest with the person you are with and have no intention to stray. Cheating is not at your core values.
- Keep it professional so that at any given time, the conversation may be shared with a sibling, friend, child, parent, spouse, partner without any guilt.
- Keep the topic off of relationship radars: particularly complaints about your partner's shortcomings, dissatisfaction with your relationship in any shape or form. That should be with your church minister or mosque elder or mentor (sibling, parent, etc).
- You can have a respectful, fruitful relationship with a person of the opposite sex, when your radar clearly signals "in a committed relationship with not a sliver of disregard or disrespect of your life partner".
- Any of these apply to anyone with leanings towards same sex or transgender relationships.
You CAN have helpful, rewarding relationships with anyone so long as you know your boundaries and it is clearly communicated by not so much by what you say but how you act.