Relationships at work and play


I was watching my little boy playing the other day when I noticed a young girl approach him. My first instinct was to encourage them to play together as she looked quite sweet and seemed to be introducing herself. It was clear that he didn't want to play. He pulled back, shy and bashful. I then left it but the whole situation got me thinking – as children most of us behaved like this, boys preferring the company of boys and girls inclining towards girls for friendship. It's almost as if this inherent shyness of the opposite sex is forcibly extracted out of us as we get older – we're encouraged through nursery, school and work to mix freely and I'm not sure it's done us much good at all.

I realised that, growing up in the UK, I too was subject to this. It’s all around us and perhaps features most prominently in the workplace. When it comes to starting a career, the issue of free mixing is thrust upon us and suddenly we find ourselves having to deal with a few sticky situations. To aid in the latter, here’s my 3 point plan for females on how to avoid intermingling with males at the workplace and why it is so important to uphold Islamic tradition in this respect:

I recently read an article about personality types and it struck me how much pressure society applies to be extroverted. A few years ago I made the choice to stamp out the extrovert in me as I honoured the traits of the 'Muslim introvert'. To me the latter are people who are shy, quiet and who spend more time focusing on their own faults rather than those of others. They are people who don't joke around too much for fear that it might offend, who find free mixing highly uncomfortable, preferring instead to strengthen bonds within the sisterhood/brotherhood and then later between them and their spouse. The people that I respect the most are like this and insha' Allah with fine-tuning and careful upbringing I hope we can raise the next generation with these traits.