{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I'm a woman and I feel weird networking/ connecting with/reaching out to men who I don't know even if it's just for professional purposes. I just feel like it's inappropriate for some reason and I feel uncomfortable especially since I have a boyfriend. Can anyone else relate? I know networking is quite important too so I'm conflicted.", "post_id": "6106eb9a476b9c00247aeade", "reply_count": 9, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "5e8656b80bdab1002a7355dc", "bowl_name": "Confession " }

I'm a woman and I feel weird networking/ connecting with/reaching out to men who I don't know even if it's just for professional purposes. I just feel like it's inappropriate for some reason and I feel uncomfortable especially since I have a boyfriend. Can anyone else relate? I know networking is quite important too so I'm conflicted.

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I’m confused how it would make you uncomfortable to interact with men at work just because you have a boyfriend. (I am a woman) Do you have any past trauma, etc?

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Question: Do you feel weird bc you feel unsafe / a power dynamic being in a 1x1 setting with men? Or do you feel weird bc you feel the encounter can be misconstrued as or directly lead to flirting/cheating? If the latter, I mean this in the nicest of ways, I would unpack that in therapy. An encounter with the opposite gender (or gender you’re sexually attracted to) shouldn’t immediately assume to be sexual. If you’re unable to have platonic encounters with the gender you’re interested in, then that’s a problem. And if your partner doesn’t trust you to have platonic professional relationships with the gender you’re interested in, that is also a problem.

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I would say the latter. I have experiences where I have platonic relationships with men that end up them eventually showing interest in me. It's not always right away but usually ends up happening and ruining the friendship. I don't have any guy friends at the moment.

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My suggestion is to still have a pointed ask or discussion topic to start a dialogue. It doesn’t need to be an ask for a job, but more like “I need advice on how to navigate x”, I think that should center your conversation on the topic at hand and not confuse folks. Don’t angle the whole “just to network”, it’s meaningless and confusing. If you’re tenured, you know no one is hitting you up for anything for more than a job. If they change it to something else, they were creeps anyways.

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Thanks! That's good advice!

Totally understand how you feel. Perhaps keeping activities to breakfast/lunch or in a group setting would make you feel more comfortable? If you and bf need to set boundaries beforehand maybe that’d help also.

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What exactly do you feel weird about? Like, let's say you're interested in an OW role - how would you approach me? In a way you would be more comfortable

This is a little off topic but I’m convinced networking for the sake of networking is a waste of everyone’s time. Focusing on building strong working relationships in your company and field of work will probably be a better use of your time and save you the awkwardness (regardless of gender) of trying to “expand your circle.

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