Gretchen Rubin spent the last year “test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier.” The result is a book called The Happiness Project (# 2 on NYT bestseller list and also on my reading list). On her blog, Gretchen “shares her insights on how to create your own happiness project.”
Thankfully every Christian already has their own happiness project. Or maybe we should say that God has made each Christian a happiness (holiness?) project. I’m reminded of Derek Thomas’s reply when he is asked by a fellow plane passenger what he does: “My job is to make people eternally happy!” Quite a conversation starter! (or sometimes a stopper?).
Anyway, every Wednesday is Tip Day on Gretchen’s blog. This week she gave Seven tips for avoiding an office affair. I thought the advice was not only relevant for Christians in the workplace, but also transferable to pastors (to some extent).You can read the whole piece here, but this is a summary of her main points:
1. Never take a first step in flirtation, even in jest.
2. Never have more than one drink with people from work. If that.
3. Never confide details from my personal life to people from work, and don’t allow them to confide in me.
4. Never allow myself to have a “special friend” of the attractive sex (sometimes called a “work spouse”) to whom I turn for particular support. (This is sometimes called an “emotional affair.”)
5. Unless it’s an unmistakably professional context, don’t meet alone with a colleague or client of the attractive sex.
6. Imagine your spouse/partner as an audience – cc’d on the email, listening to the phone call, walking suddenly into the conference room. If you’d feel uncomfortable in that situation, you’ve crossed some line.
7. If you develop a close relationship with someone from the attractive sex at work, get to know his or her family. That puts a damper on starting an affair.
There’s no doubt if some Christians and some Pastors had followed this advice they and their families would have had much more happiness and much less sadness.
Gretchen does question some of these tips and ends with the following questions, which you may want to respond to:
Do you agree with these tips? Do you think they’re too restrictive? Unnecessary? Would you suggest other strategies?