I am hoping that something good can come out of all of the chaos.
Thank you so much for this.
Molly S. Hill

I am hoping for the same thing Molly S Hill. But in the mean time, welcome to the platform.

What you said about being new on Medium and being unsure where to turn really stuck with me. I’ve been here two years, have a large following, and am both highly visible and active on the platform, and lately I have been feeling just as you describe. So yeah, I get it, and really do empathize with your experience.

I really like your T.H.I.N.K. acronym, and I can see it working in the majority of cases. Though for me, when dealing with these types of situations, I’m quite content to sacrifice kind for a number of other approaches if I suspect harmful or less than sincere intentions are at play.

Having had the unfortunate, yet illuminating experience of dealing with more than one high profile situation where people were less than honest regarding both identity and intention, I cannot agree enough with your suggestion of trusting your gut. It’s a simple, yet base human instinct, the sole function of which is self protection. But, it is also something that is paradoxically difficult to do, given our shared goals of community, inclusivity, and support. What makes it tougher still, is that people who are here to be deceptive and abusive are, nine times out of ten, experts at their game. It’s usually not their first, and they know what works. Professionals call it grooming.

Same ideas discussed here regarding a situation that occurred a few months ago …

Also, these points by Anna Now are great tools to step back and re-group if you are feeling something is off …

My final advice would be to let yourself be okay with the chance you may be wrong. What is the worst that can happen? Conversely, what is the worst that can happen if you let your guard down and open yourself up to a manipulative ssociopath? If it’s a decision between self protection or being wrong, embarrassed, and / or worried about causing offense, always fall on the side of protecting yourself. If you need to, ask. I know I, as well as anyone on this or other threads making similar comments about this topic would be receptive and discrete with any sincere questions. Because a sincere and mutually supportive intention to watch out for each other, when practiced confidently and consistently, will kick the ass of these fakers every time. And hopefully deter others of a similar ilk from even starting.