Whoa! Rein it in, partner!
The Internet is a wondrous place, especially for those of us who grew up long before it was even thought of, let alone something that rules so much of our lives.
We can “talk” for free to someone on the other side of the world. Of course, we can also ignore someone right in front of us who is glued to his/her device.
We can learn about others and their lives, their cultures, their likes and dislikes with an ease I couldn’t have imagined 50+ (60+?) years ago.
We can also be attacked by trolls who don’t like what we write, we can become friends with those who do like what we write, and we can be approached by a few who don’t get that there are still some boundaries we should observe.
My profile picture on several platforms shows me smiling broadly, largely because I do smile a lot (I honestly am one happy woman), and because it’s one of those rare pictures of me I’m willing to share. (Not everyone’s face works for the camera. Mine is a classic example of one that looks perfectly fine in person, but rarely so in a picture.)
I’m not smiling to invite you to ignore normal societal boundaries.
I’m not smiling so you’ll immediately jump up and tell me I’m beautiful and that you want to know me better.
I’m not smiling so you’ll tell me you can’t wait to get to know a lot more about me like where I’m from, where I grew up, whether I’m single or married, and other personal info you have no right to ask about.
Please, guys. Show some respect. Actually, show a lot of respect and grownup-ness. Even if we were on a dating site, questions that personal so quickly would be a no-no.
But here on professional platforms, it’s even worse. Yes, sometimes we write about personal topics, but they’re not an invitation to suddenly act as though we’re besties … and with that quick invasion of our personal space, it’s unlikely that we ever will be besties.
Instant intimacy just doesn’t work.
All in all, I enjoy getting to know many of my connections better, but respecting boundaries just makes sense to me.
Does any of this sound familiar? I know it happens to women a lot, but I’m wondering if any male readers have experienced something similar.
I welcome your thoughts as always!
As a copy editor / editor / corporate educator, I'm happy to help with any writing projects you may have. I offer a one-time, one-page evaluation of your writing for free, so let me know if you'd like some help!
And please remember, I follow the American style of grammar and usage.