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How should I maintain a professional relationship with female coworkers? has been put on hold because

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.

  • The most upvoted answer, which is far from being the only highly-upvoted answer, is a neat three-paragraphs long (two if you don't count stand-alone sentences as paragraphs).

  • The second most upvoted answer is even more concise than that.

  • The rest of them follow in the same vein. The most wordy one of all is nowhere near the longest I've seen on this SE.

  • All questions seem to revolve around two ideas (at least those who aren't overly politically charged, which makes them irrelevant). Too many possible answers? Not really.


The On Hold reason does not apply. It did not apply after the latest edit (which just changes phraseology and not substance - because there's nothing of substance that needs changing) and it didn't apply before.

This is good question about a valid problem. The votes cast in its favor, and the quality, quantity and reception of its answers attest to this fact. I believe I've made my case, so can we release this question from limbo?

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    I voted to reopen but wish I hadn't now that I noticed that the OP rolled back my edit for some reason. Not saying that my edit was perfect but the original version of this question doesn't belong on this site in that form and I'd vote to reclose this with its current wording. – Lilienthal Apr 26 '16 at 6:12
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    it's obviously too broad. If you look at the differences between the 2 top voted answers, they are almost polar opposites. It is not unfair to say that there are many more answers that are much more extreme and go in between. To be honest, this reminds me of all the 3rd wave feminism vs equalism conversations. There is no right answer that could satisfy everyone. – Migz Apr 26 '16 at 7:15
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    I agree with @Lilienthal; that edit made the question suitable, but the current (rolled-back) version has problems. The OP did not respond to a comment asking for an explanation of that rollback. – Monica Cellio Apr 26 '16 at 15:58
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It is too broad. There are literally books written on this very subject, and a whole discipline of the topic taught in college.

If there is a specific thing that the OP is having difficulty with we MAY be able to help that. But that could still be too broad. That's right it is very likely that the sharply refined question is still to broad to deal with in the relatively short answers we can provide here.

There is no way to provide a complete answer here. So we have a few good opinions on the problem but they are in no way complete answers on how the OP should deal with his issues.

  • There are literally books written on this very subject I get the feeling this is getting more political than it needs to be (correct me if I'm wrong). This is not about how to treat women, it's about how to deal with women since the OP has never had to do it before. Practical advice vs political philosophy. Again, correct me if I misunderstood what you meant by the sentence I quoted. – rath Apr 26 '16 at 8:31
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    @rath This should not be taken as the question should not be asked somewhere. It just does not belong here. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 26 '16 at 15:32
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I reckon it is a perfectly valid question which is not that difficult to answer, and it encompasses a large range of people from many cultures who are not used to interacting professionally with ladies.

It's a very real problem for an unsophisticated man with no experience to have in the workplace. I had it myself having 5 brothers and no sisters and going to boys schools. I was very nervous and self-conscious around women because I was always worried I was doing something wrong. So while I agree it IS a broad question, in essence it's a simple one, and it has an equally broad and simple answer.

The seeming polarisation of the top two answers (one of which is mine) give a great overview of two differing ideas, but in fact they are actually very similar at their core with one being a subset of the other rather than 'wrong' although personally I believe it wrong in this context.

One gives a viewpoint from what is 'normal' in some Western cultures (nowhere else is this normal as far as I know). The other (mine) tells the OP to find out what is 'normal' in HIS particular context and then do it.

If it's normal in one culture to treat women as exact equals, then that is perfectly fine in that context. I don't believe that to be the case in India. Projecting Western ideas on non Western societies is bad advice and possibly dangerous. But that's beside the point. I'm happy to reopen this question.

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