You are a 26-year-old single woman and a volunteer co-facilitator of a support group for self-worth and empowerment at a women’s center. Most of the group members are older than you, dealing with issues related to their marriages and unfulfilling careers. Two of the group members are in their mid-20s and seemingly struggling with issues similar to other women their age (including yourself) that involve relationships and lifestyle. One evening as the group is wrapping up, you overhear the two young women discussing plans to go out for dinner and they invite you to go along. After your initial response of “Thanks but I can’t” the women begin to tease you about not wanting to be seen in public with them. Although you know it would cross professional boundaries, you consider the invitation. It would be fun to have dinner and hang out with them and you are only a volunteer with the women’s center.
How do you respond in this situation? Is there a way that you could accept the dinner invitation and still maintain your professional boundaries? Make sure to consider professionalism and your role as an objective group facilitator when crafting your response.