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Remember the letter-writer last month whose employee chastised her about? Here s the update. Thank you for running my letter! It was very helpful to have your advice and the insight of some of your readers. I was almost positive that wasn t the case, but just to be sure, I spoke to a few trusted colleagues up and down the chain-of-command. I just wanted to make sure you know that it’s completely fine for you or anyone to have one-on-one lunches with others, whether married or not.

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I’ve found lunches with colleagues to be a great networking tool and I’d hate for you to miss out on that. ” I absolutely loved the tone of it, which was very positive. The employee said that she doesn t believe socializing with the opposite sex was a requirement of her job. My response to that was, It isn t, but neither is policing the behavior of agency personnel. I was a little concerned that you felt the need to address something that you considered morally wrong, but had no standing to correct. I need you to make sure that you re not allowing your personal beliefs to dictate how you handle those situations in the future. If someone s behavior is directly affecting your ability to work, I m happy to discuss it with you, and if necessary, address it on your behalf. It isn t, but neither is policing the behavior of agency personnel. A++. Classy, right on point, and if this isn t effective, I can t think what would be. How in the world did she get having lunch with members of the opposite sex as a job requirement from your original statement of it’s completely fine for you or anyone to have one-on-one lunches with others, whether married or not. ”it’s completely fine for you or anyone to have one-on-one lunches with others, whether married or not. ”? ! Yeah, if she doesn t get it, it s because she s just too caught up in must-not-fraternize to even see the forest, let alone the trees. This sounds very well handled! I m not sure people with strict moral rules for themselves can really appreciate the nuance of your response, but I appreciate the effort!

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Moral rules so strict you can t even have lunch with your own husband? I mean come on Well, the coworker didn t know it was her husband, so the strict rule I was referring to was unmarried men and women can t socialize together. Well it sounds like she didn t really back down much either after OP explained it was her husband. Even if it s fine to have lunch with your husband, people may not know so you look like a hussy so I m in the right for correcting you is how it still comes across. Which is just ridiculous. This makes me think of an Internet video I saw once of a Christian rap song. It was called The Christian Side Hug, and seemed to imply that hugging someone the normal way was inappropriate, so why not do an awkward abdominal twist to make sure your chests don t touch? OMG. I once encountered a young woman who was so deeply entrenched int he males and females can t touch thing that she actually wound up marrying a man she did NOT like, because he ACCIDENTALLY brushed against the side of her breast, and she believed she was no longer pure, and ruined forever, and that he was the only man she ever could marry, because he was the one who took her purity. WOW. I m amazed she didn t go through life in a Hazmat suit to avoid contamination. (Also, how did the guy agree to the marriage? Was he part of the same no touching group? )You can t be serious. That s a tragic story I am very intrigued to hear. I saw that video! Mind-blowing.

I had to show it to a friend who grew up in an evangelical family and ask them if it was real or a parody. I genuinely couldn t tell. Oddly, the only people I ve met who use the Christian side hug are swing dancers. In their case I think it s because they get all sweaty while dancing. Being dancers, they do it very not-awkwardly. Also church choir guitarists we d do the normal hug, but the guitar is in the way: )Don t the Duggars do the side hug? On second thought, probably not. Can t socialize together privately, I should note. Even people who follow the so-called Billy Graham rule can socialize with the opposite sex in public or group settings. (Not that I agree with this rule, but it s worth clarifying. For this reason women could not advance in certain politicians offices. So following that rule means you are discriminating. I think they can t be alone with the woman. So, in business, they could have a group meeting with a woman, but not a one-on-one meeting. I don t think eating has to be involved, (although in this case this makes it more scandalous because it s a social event. )I interpret it, and have seen others interpret it as, you can never be alone with the opposite sex because clearly this means you will be tempted and are apparently powerless to resist, and then an affair will inevitably result.

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Oliver Twist holds out his little bowl and says, Please sir, I d like some logic? My experience of a very conservative Christian subculture was exactly this. The woman s husband (or father, if she was unmarried) didn t need to be present, she just needed to not be alone with a man. Three male teachers, one female teacher, and the female secretary would have been 655% unobjectionable. Three male teachers and one female teacher would have been 95% unobjectionable, and the 5% who found it weird would have been giggled at behind their backs. But one male teacher and one female teacher was Big No unless the two were married, or fairly closely related (father and daughter, mother and son, aunt and nephew, brother and sister, in-laws, that sort of thing). I ve seen that rule instated in schools, where adults and (underage) students can t dine or go out alone together, even for events. But that s a safety issue that doesn t apply to adult women. Sigh. Perhaps not inevitably result, but that accusations of an affair can not be categorically denied. If you were alone, there is nobody else who can say what did or did not happen. (Still a stupid rule, but, if a person s testimony can t be trusted without a witness, it makes sense. Why this is usually only a problem for the woman is another story )if a person’s testimony can’t be trusted without a witness, it makes sense. Why this is usually only a problem for the woman is another story…Possibly because women have a harder time getting people to believe what they say unless a man is there to verify and agree with their version of events? I mean, this applies to so many situations, professional and otherwise. Not public. You musn t eat a meal with someone of the opposite sex one-on-one, even if it s meatballs in the IKEA cafeteria.

I grew up with this rule and type of thinking. It resulted in every interaction between a man and woman being sexually charged. Messed me up for a long, long time. If married men and women socialize together, do they have to be married to each other? : -)Yikes. I wonder how she would feel socializing with someone gay. Or is it just her own attraction she s worried about? This was something I thought about quite a bit when it was revealed that VP Pence doesn t meet alone with female coworkers, and doesn t attend social/work events that involve alcohol without his wife. My first instinct was Can t people trust themselves and their spouses? But I think the reality is, some people can t, or don t want to ever be put in that position. Problems arise when a certain group might not have the same opportunities as others due to a boss personal quirks. If women who work for the VP aren t provided the same one-on-one time (and therefore opportunities that could lead to advancement) then his personal policy isn t ok. The same goes for OP s employee, who may or may not manage her own team. I have thought about this quite a bit as well. I have come to believe this is fine as long as they hold the same rule for both seed. If they won t have a one on one dinner with a female colleague the they make a rule that there will be no one on one dinners at all.

I m a man who works in an office that is mostly female in a sector that is mostly female. I am frequently having drinks with or getting lunch with women. This idea that men have to recuse themselves from women or else they ll be overcome by lust is stupid. You have free will. You can decide to not think of an attractive coworker as a potential romantic partner. You can decide to not try to have sex with anything in a skirt. It s not hard to keep your pants on. And in the very rare cases that a woman comes on to you, it is very easy to shut it down. I have heard that another reason some men hold these crazy beliefs that they shouldn t socialize one-on-one with another woman is that they re afraid that if someone comes on to them, and they in turn reject that person and shut it down, that the female will feel embarrassed and cry harassment or worse. As a woman and a fairly active feminist, I made a face when I heard some guy talk about this within earshot of me and couldn t resist giving him an earful about how stupid that idea is. People like that make a lot of horrible assumptions about women- that we re all simply out for attention and to ruin the lives of men who reject us, as if that s all we think about. Even if the come-on happens, the VAST majority of people are okay with the word no in response. Well, I don t know about people being okay with no how many times do we hear about the man retaliating against women subordinates? And all the crazy stalkers and suicidal murders? So maybe there is a lot of projection in that they expect women to do what they would do and often do do when they have the opportunity? I think culturally we tend to force women to have higher EQs, including better coping with rejection skills, so it isn t as likely to happen as the current constant situation. I m with you in that no one should be avoiding social or professional opportunities because of a fear of the worst possible thing that could happen.