Attending networking events can be fun. It can also be work... It is called netWORKing, right? I attend my share and typically enjoy it. I like the people I meet and I enjoy the opportunity to share a little bit about myself, along with learning a bit about others and their businesses. The chance to speak about my company and what I do is invaluable. Plus there is, typically, good food and we mustn't forget door prizes, right?

I attend a Tuesday luncheon every week. I have made some key business contacts and some good friends. But I recently ran into a bit of a situation with a fellow member who, if I were his colleague and we worked together for the same organization, would probably be fired for creating a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment. And he seemed like such a polite and innocent guy - someone who has really worked hard over the last couple of years to gain some business savvy and public speaking skills.

How can you trust authenticity? It always surprises me when I learn that I have been duped or played. I guess I just expect that people will be decent, that they are decent. That they will play by the rules because it is the right thing to do. Often, business professionals are far from being professional and it really shouldn't come as such a shock to me. I hate to ask it, but is there such a thing as being trustworthy anymore? Is there such a thing as decency anymore? Is anyone really a lady or a gentleman? Does anybody really know what time it is? (sorry, couldn't help myself)

I guess how we react will determine our own level of decorousness. Following my gut has aided me in the past, so I will continue to heed my innards. But I will approach this guy with a little more care. I will be less likely to refer business his way - who am I kidding? I will probably refrain from ever referring anyone to him, ever again. And that is the saddest thing of all, don't you think? We attend these events to expand our circle of influence, to increase our revenue, and further develop potential business relationships. And to think, there are so many warnings regarding online predators.

Working in human resources and recruiting requires that we work closely and speak often with "people." Trust is requisite to our livelihoods. My question: how do you manage when that trust has been broken or violated? Do you let it color your vision or alter perceptions? I don't see how it cannot, for we take it personally, don't we? We rely on the information we personally filter. We hold in confidence that our gut is right and we hope that all is well. And reliance shouldn't make us weak, but somehow, taking advantage of it does. Care, confidence, trust, reliability... what do they really mean?

by rayannethorn

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We have to trust, or else there's no basis to work with another person. However, trust isn't a suicide pact, so if someone violates the covenant, flush the relationship and don't look back.

Trust is a sacred thing, and must be earned by those you give it to..and it's yours to award and take away as you see fit. Of course being crapped on or otherwise being taken advantage of changes your's called gaining wisdom, and that's a good thing. you learn to spot the moonbats before they hurt you, and how to minimize their damage if you have to deal with them.

listening to our guts is fine, but understand that our gut can be affected by what we want from the person we're dealing with, if we're conditioned to be nice, if our adrenaline is pumping, or a ton of other things.. to me, the real key to building trust over time is: is this person honest and consistent? as long as you can answer yes to both, you can trust without fear..if the answer becomes no, then cut 'em loose.
I agree with Thomas' thought about trust having to be earned. Something else which can help us without requiring that we commit any bit of ourselves to the relationship is 'reputation'. Glaring gaps exist between people's reputation and reality. Observing how someone you might look forward to working with treats others they currently work with (if possible) is usually a good way to learn that they'd treat you no differently. It isn't easy to know that about someone you've only just met, especially through a professional association or networking group. What's also often true, unfortunately, is that it's not easy to call someone out in such a setting and our instinct is to dissociate ourselves from the source of pain, leaving someone else to wonder all over again.."how does this person get away with being such a d____ebag!?"
Some further thoughts, said:

"I recently ran into a bit of a situation with a fellow member who, if I were his colleague and we worked together for the same organization, would probably be fired for creating a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment. And he seemed like such a polite and innocent guy"

I debated about posting what I'm about to post, but since the situation was serious enough for you base a post on it, I figure I'll risk being called chicken little..I'm assuming he did more than tell an off color joke..

keep your guard up around this guy...I assume you may see him again at another event, or maybe he'll become a stalker, who knows..but the key is for you to establish and maintain a boundary at all times..don't rely on him taking a hint..guys don't do hints, especially ones that have no concept of boundaries.

Be clear that he's out, and that you are to be left alone. If you must talk to him, be sure he stands more than five feet away from you..hopefully that's all you need to do..BUT:

If he gets closer, and you become uncomfortable, establish the boundary by stepping back, and LOUDLY telling him to back the hell up.. if he gets in close, and no one else is around, and you feel threatened, coffee in the eyes works, then take off while yelling "fire"..instant crowd, and mr. grabbyhands has all the attention he can handle.

Taking Sandra's point a bit further about how pigs remain pigs, they get away with what they do because they know 99.99% of people turn passive and freeze during conflict. pigs are used to getting their way, either by emotional, intellectual or physical control...and they don't pick targets who they think will stand up to them...

something to matter how highly you think of you, or what you've done in your life, you're just someone they thought they could manipulate and take advantage of in whatever way..that might hurt to hear, but it's a liberating thought once you get you don't have to live in a world of "it can't happen to me" can, and it will, unless you take steps. Those who trip through life thinking they're immune from violence get hurt the worst, because they get surprised.

Abuse and violence never "just happens".. nothing ever comes out of nowhere, and situations like this can breed stalkers and all kinds of, I thought I should speak up.

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