Have you ever noticed that whenever someone is killed from a shark attack those National Geographic/surfer types always pull out the ol' standby statistic that you are more likely to be hit by lightning than attacked by a shark?
Anyone who goes outside is at risk from being struck by lightning. It takes more than going outside to be attacked by a shark.
You might say swimmers are at a greater risk of shark attack than the average person, but not even all swimmers are at risk.
You would have to be swimming in the ocean to be at risk of a shark attack.
Which brings me to the point of this post. Do you know the best way to keep from being attacked by a shark? Stay away from them. Period.
I could so arrange my life to be absolutely positive that I will never be attacked by a shark.
In that same cautious manner, I could protect myself, and so could you, from ever having a perfectly innocent friendly relationship with someone of the opposite sex who is not my spouse turn into something more than it should be. (Don't they all start out as innocent and friendly?)
It is my habit to stick close to my husband because we enjoy one another's company. If I ever have the occasion, though, to be in a gathering without him, I do not feel comfortable chumming it up with other men.
I love to talk and laugh and really do enjoy being social, but I think it is a risky behavior to put myself in a position to enjoy talking to a man who is not my husband while he is not present.
A few years ago, my husband and I were acquainted with a man whose wife had suddenly left him to raise his young children alone. He was quite devastated and called me on the phone a couple of times to see if I could help him with childcare. He was understandably lonely and depressed and wanted a shoulder to cry on, so to speak.
Even though I wanted to help him, I immediately felt uncomfortable with being that shoulder and put him in touch with my husband, who listened and empathized and tried to give him a few encouraging words.
Do you know what the chances are that my acquaintance with that man would have turned into an inappropriate relationship? NONE. It was never allowed to happen because I did not put myself into a risky situation.
I think it is risky behavior for anyone to become friendly with someone of the opposite sex who is not their spouse, so I don't do it.
Eliminating that risk eliminates the possibility of impropriety.
No one ever gets attacked by a shark on land.
Read a related post at The Common Room.
Also, see "Can Men and Women Be Friends?" at Pursuing Holiness.