Hina's Matters Of The Heart
I’ve been doing some career networking on LinkedIn. I recently connected with a guy who seemed more interesting to me on a personal/relationship level. It’s great because his entire resume is on there as are some personal details about hobbies, etc. It’s almost like a dating profile. What are the rules of engagement when it comes to meeting people on career-networking sites?
It sounds like you want to mix business with pleasure! The research shows it can work, with 22 percent of office romances ending up in marriage. Now, having said that, mixing the two in the virtual world is very different and can be trickier to maneuver. Clearly you find something intriguing about this man and that’s something that piques your interest. With access to his resume you can already see some things you have in common. But he has posted his information on the site for professional purposes and may not appreciate being pursued on a personal level. You have made the assumption that since you find him more interesting personally, he too is interested. For this reason it is important to be upfront and direct. And the first item of business would be to move the conversation into a personal space — one that is more appropriate for casual chatting. The way you do that is by contacting him and letting him know you would like to talk with him further and offer him your personal email to get in touch with you.
Many may balk at this point. They’re looking for a job and not a date, so the response might not be as warm or inviting as if you were both on a dating/matchmaking website. The point is to not lead him on or pursue him on a professional site. Don’t let him think that you may have some work for him, or want to collaborate on a project when that is not your intention. Of course, many people use sites like LinkedIn to meet up with others in real life to network and increase their chance of a job or other professional opportunity. It is perhaps in that context that you can see if there truly are any sparks.
But if he does accept your offer to take things offline, so to speak (and it’s a big if), let him know you have a lot of common interests and would like to get to know him better. Then see where things go.
My best friend just divorced her husband of 10 years. In the decade they were married I became good friends with them both individually. Recently her ex-husband expressed some interest in us dating. Since we’ve been friends for a long time, I wouldn’t mind exploring something more. Is this crossing a boundary between friends and friends’ exes?
YES! It is absolutely crossing a boundary. Of course, there is no set rule about this – who dares to confine the heart! But in all seriousness, as your best friend just got divorced, she could probably use a friend to support her through this very emotional process. The last thing she needs is to have to deal with her best friend betraying her by dating her ex. That is not to say this can never happen, but it is way too soon — according to your question your friend ‘just” divorced her ex — the ink isn’t even dry on the papers and you’re ready to pounce on Mr. Suddenly Available!
Put the brakes on this and think about how you would feel if the situation was reversed. And, quite frankly, what does this say about the ex? Maybe he knows this would hurt your friend and that is his motivation to asking you out. And if you really were friends, this is something that eventually could ruin that relationship too. You may also want to look at, with all the available men out there, why this one? If you truly cared about them both, you would let them grieve their marriage and support your friend when she needs you. And who wants to be rebound material? Either way, it is first and foremost to be a good friend to your BFF and get your “flirt on” with someone who is truly available and has no obvious and very recent baggage — someone who will enhance your life as opposed to complicating it.
Hina Khan is a psychotherapist in private practise in Toronto. She specializes in psychodynamic psychotherapy and is a member of CAPT (Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy). Hina is also a regular expert on the lifestyle chat show CBC-TV’s Steven & Chris.
PUBLISHED IN THE 9TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE JANUARY 2012