I have a friend; let's call her Sarah. She is a new real estate agent and is committed to an SOI* strategy to build her business. So far, it's going well - she's already experiencing some success and is optimistic that she will survive her first year without ever cold-calling, door-knocking, farming or advertising.
Here's the problem. Sarah has a new boyfriend. When said boyfriend realized that Sarah freely hands out her phone number (in the form of her business card) to anyone who asks (regardless of gender), he was horrified. Not that he doesn't understand she has a business to build, but he's convinced that when Sarah cheerfully offers her phone number/business card to those of the male gender, they are going to assume that she is interested in them romantically. "That's the way men think, honey."
Sarah dismissed his concerns, assuring him that she keeps her SOI efforts on a professional level and that there is no funny business going on - either real or imagined. She simply doesn't believe that the men she prospects to have any notion that she might be open to their advances. The boyfriend disagrees. It's causing some strain in their relationship.
Sarah asked me for my thoughts. Initially I agreed with her - that the BF needs to accept that his honey is in a business that requires her to socialize with male creatures.
But then I ran across a paragraph in a book I'm reading about the differences in brain chemistry between men and women and it made me rethink my position. The book said that "...men are very easily aroused and easily misconstrue the slightest hint of friendship as a sexual invitation." So I asked my own BF for his thoughts, as well as a couple of other men I know. They all adamantly agreed with Sarah's boyfriend that if a woman shows friendly interest in a man, he's absolutely going to interpret that as romantic interest on her part. If she gives him her phone number? She might as well have invited him in for a late-night coffee...
Any thoughts? No gender-bashing or ridicule, please. I'd love to hear from the men in the crowd how you honestly feel about this, as well as from any women who have experienced the same thing with their men...
* SOI Strategy = Building your business based on the personal relationiships in your life - the people you know and people you meet.
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