Professional Networking, Relationships & Intimacy


JL has a networking question.

This is more of a psych question, but I figure you deal with professional boundaries. I have a networking connection (we are both unemployed) whom I have met with once for coffee. After the 3rd email correspondence, he has started referring to me as his “friend”. We have corresponded via email regarding the job search & a book he is writing (unrelated to his job) that I agreed to give feedback on. He is married & has a son, and I think he’s just incredibly socially awkward. At our first meeting I initially thought he might have a learning disability. Now he has started mentioning his wife in our emails, venting about his job search, and generally crossing the professional boundary. The kind of things you DO talk to your friends about, but we are NOT friends. What do I say to make it clear that we are networking contacts and nothing more?

I answered the question privately, but I would like to throw this out to Punk Rock HR readers. Can anyone speak to this situation? I’m really interested in hearing from you.


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