I will be drawing my perspective from the female angle. So, this will be for women been mentored by men. These tips applies the other way round too and also covers face to face mentoring.
A quick definition just in case you don’t know what a virtual relationship is.
A virtual relationship is a relationship where people are not physically present but communicate exclusively using online texting, or other electronic device.
This is particularly common with distant mentoring.
So, let’s get right into it.
You are mentored by a man VIRTUALLY, some things to note.
Be careful with your choice of words. Don’t use words or expressions that are capable of having more than one interpretation. When sending a mail or text, ensure that if someone random bumps into that message, it can make the kind of sense that doesn’t get brows raised.
Send your message with the mind set that you are sending to two people – your mentor and his spouse. Trust me girl, having this mind set will help you greatly. If the boo was mentoring a girl and the relationship is largely virtual, you best believe I am reading
almost everything you send. We are BOTH mentoring you, you just don’t know.
No pet names.
Don’t call your mentor pet names and don’t allow him call you pet names. Why??
Your mentor is not a pet. Address him by his name or a name that everyone calls him. Same goes for you. Don’t ALLOW your mentor call you a name that is not known to everyone. Even if it is an alias, make sure it is a name you are comfortable with and doesn’t rouse inordinate feelings in you. Name discipline is important. There is a term for maintaining name discipline, it is called BOUNDARIES. Define the boundaries of the relationship from day one. Defining boundaries of a virtual relationship is done primarily through the way you express and communicate yourself in writing. There is a kind of writing that comes with an undertone of : I need this relationship and there is a kind of writing that says: Let’s just see how it goes. Similarly, if you can afford to and you should be able to, desist from abbreviations and chat linguals. If the relationship is semi- formal or informal, anything goes, ‘anything’ defined by your mentor. However, if it is formal, write out your words in full. This is also a way of communicating respect in writing.
Definition and boundaries, are so very important.
Don’t precede a mail/text/chat with social media linguals- Hi, howdy, hello or whats up.
To a mentor? Be wise.
Imagine typing Sup and howdy to mentors like Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga.
How does it sound??
Positive Alternatives: Good (day/afternoon,evening) sir
Always keep the sir.
Have respect for your mentors time. Don’t send a Good morning sir and then wait for a response and when it doesn’t come, you get annoyed. I hate it to put this really subtly but doing that is the loose definition of stupidity. Your mentor is BUSY. He can’t keep up with back and forth messaging. Instead of waiting for a response, send him all you want to say at once and then indicate that whenever he replies is fine except in cases when you need an immediate response.
Good morning sir, I trust your night was good sir. I just wanted to check up on you (sir) and also to say, thank you so very much sir for the last message you sent me. This is what I have done in line with what we spoke about the last time. I would like to know if it represents what you meant and I am willing to adjust it just in case it does not . I would also like to remind you about the mail you promised to send. Please don’t forget sir
Good morning sir, I trust your night was good. How is (spouse, kids). I am sending this mail to acknowledge receipt of your last mail and also to say thank you sir for all you do for me. It is such a privilege to be mentored by you.
P.S Sir, the book recommendations you gave (so so days/weeks ago), you still haven’t sent them.
Doing this means you are sending TWO messages.
I am mature enough to keep up with this relationship and the demands it comes with/I have the maturity expected to make this relationship thrive
I respect your time sir and it is a privilege to be mentored by you.
Never blur the lines: Depending on the nature of the relationship, it could be formal, informal or semi-formal. However form it takes, make sure the respect is OBVIOUS and INTACT at ALL times.
People understand respect differently, so learn what respect means to your mentor and communicate it to him always. Even if you have been given access and the relationship is informal, maintain the respect. You are not doing it for him, you are doing it for YOU. The process of observing protocols, niceties, social etiquette and respecting boundaries forms something in you and makes you become a KIND of person.