In the recently released sports drama Saala Khadoos, a boxing coach played by R. Madhavan is seen mentoring and training a young boxer, Ritika Singh, to achieve her goals. In the course of their relationship, the protégée is seen falling for the mentor.
While a relationship between a mentor-protégé(e) may be unusual, experts point out that the intellectual stimulation that equation brings, makes it natural for individuals to be attracted to each other.
After all, a good relationship between a mentor and a protégé(e) has a certain degree of “platonic chemistry”, an ingredient which any relationship needs to be a success, notes relationship expert Seema Hingorany.
She says, “Intellectual stimulation is one of the main reasons why people click. Since the protégé(e) gains a lot of knowledge from the mentor, attraction is quite possible. Couple that with close proximity between the two, and it could become a reason for attraction.”
It’s not you — it’s your mentor!
Life coach Milind Jadhav says that the aspirational qualities of the mentor are another reason why the mentee is often attracted to the guide. He observes, “After all, the mentor is in a place where the protégé(e) desires to be one day. The mentor has all the desirable qualities since he/she has reached that goal. A protégé(e) may at times even be in awe of the mentor after understanding the kind the obstacles the mentor went through to achieve his goals.”
Ensure a positive working relationship
Life coach Veechi Shahi states that it would help if the individuals are in the know about each other’s expectations. Having a clear understanding of one’s expectations from the relationship will help honour the arrangement.
She says, “It helps to have healthy connections at one’s work place since it makes you a better professional. It is quite possible that the need for intimacy may spill onto the workplace. However, this has the potential to destroy the bond. Hence it’s essential to discuss and clear up with maturity any suppressed attraction for the real benefit of this connection.”
Seema adds, “It is essential to compartmentalise. A lot of times an attraction is only because the two have been spending a lot of time together or are on the same plane intellectually. Understand if the attraction is frivolous.”
Adhere to the professional/friend dividing line
Working with each other on the day-to-day basis makes it easy to share one’s frustrations, and even confide in each other. If both parties mutually accept the blossoming friendship, it isn’t a reason to worry. But if one isn’t happy with the development, there are a few ways to deal with it.
Relationship expert Chetna Mehrotra says, “In a scenario where the chemistry goes a little awkward, it is ideal for both to talk it out and set out realistic expectations. If both agree to carry on without any expectation of a romantic liaison and handle it with maturity, it is fine to pursue it further. Otherwise, do not wait for the other to ‘understand and carry on like nothing has happened’ — move on.”...