Posts Tagged ‘network’

From Quantity to Quality: How To Make Friends Part III

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Smiling Young Couple In Bar by photostock/Freedigitalphotos.net

Sometimes you have to mine a lot of coal before you find a diamond. So if you are bent on expanding your community, or if you find yourself building from scratch, the fastest way to meet the widest range of people is probably what you’re looking for. The final frontier, so to speak.

Speed dating and Social Mixers.

Seriously. I’m not joking. You don’t have to be looking to date anyone, or maybe you are and that’s OK, too. But Speed Dating and Mixers are going to get you in touch with the most number of new people the most quickly.

We’ve talked about doing things you enjoy, and we’ve talked about getting over fear – and frankly, both will help you if you go this route, the former by providing you with subjects on which to converse, and the latter, because, well, you got to have some chutzpah to put yourself out there like that.

I’ve never done it but I’ve definitely thought about it, and actually it seems like such an awesome idea. A public forum to meet new people and hopefully create platonic, romantic, or even business relationships from there. It’s like networking on steroids.

Guaranteed if you live near a major city there are several companies devoted to this kind of event – but your local church, college, or community centre might host them, too. Double check whether you need to be a member to attend.

I know some people laugh at this kind of thing, or think it’s weird, or only for desperate people – but really, what’s so wrong with it? And if you try it, what have you got to lose?

Here’s what I would do to prepare for an event like this:

1. Get dolled up. Not because you’re looking to lure a man or woman, but because when you look good, you feel good. When you are putting your best image out there, it’s so much easier to feel confident. But be wise about it. Don’t wear 3 inch heels if you’re a flats girl, don’t buy a blazer you found on the pages of GQ if you’re a sweater vest type of guy (sweater vest are hot, by the way).  Be comfortable, be you, but be the type of you that feels beautiful.

2. Pack appropriately – mints, anyone? Chapstick, some cash, business cards if you have ’em. Makeup if you’re into touching up. A lucky charm. If you’re really nervous you might jot down some topics to bring up, or a quotation or mantra that you find soothing or inspirational. Bring a pen and some paper for info exchanges – just in case nobody else brought business cards…

3. Bring a Friend – yes, yes, I know you’re here to meet new people. But it’s always nice to have some back up, someone to laugh with on the way home if the night went horribly awry, and especially for women, there is safety in numbers. Generally these events are held in brightly lit (streetwise) public areas, but it may be a section of town with which you’re not familiar. Or parking could be a few blocks away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and having a friend along when you’re lost, or not sure if that guy is following you, or just headed to the same lot as you will be a huge asset.

4. Be open to the experience. Try not to have preconceived ideas – just go and enjoy. That’s the only way you get anything out of anything – just see what happens. Be present in the moment.

You may not meet your soulmate, or your BFF, but you might have fun. You might have fantastic conversations with people you might never have looked twice at if you’d passed them on the street. You might find someone who can help you with that furniture restoration, or squealing belt in your car’s engine, or who can set you up with an interview for a better job. Or, you might be able to help someone else out. How cool would that be?

Whatever happens, it would be an experience.

What do you think? Is speed dating still too weird? Or is it passé now? What about mixers? Are they just conventions in miniature? Or a house party gone corporate? Would you ever try one of these?

The Point

Yeah, I'm definitly one of the spokes on the dented wheel

Broken Bicycle by Cecelia/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

OK, confession time.

I was a bad girlfriend.

I don’t mean that I was unsupportive or abusive, or even that I didn’t listen to him (I really hope none of those are true!). I had unrealistic expectations. Ridiculous expectations, in fact. It all comes back to this, doesn’t it?

I know that I am not a hub of any social network. I’m barely a spoke, these days. Dashing is a hub. He is one of those people who naturally draws people in, and manages to keep them around. People call him, book him for gigs, want to spend time with him, want his opinion, his perspective, his presence. I know I do.

For me, this is magic. I know it actually takes a good amount of work on both parts, but from the outside, it is magic. For someone unskilled at maintaining a community, it is awe-inspiring magic.

So I think some part of me thought that I could learn this skill from him. Or that it would rub off on me somehow. And when that didn’t work, and we’d been together for awhile, I think I began to think that if we just got married, if we just lived together, if he declared me family – then I would be part of the hub, too! I actually think this may be the source of a lot of our issues – my feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and desperation to move foward (because it’s better over there, it has to be, right?), and his feeling pressured and like he couldn’t give me what I wanted.

Well, of course he couldn’t. No one can, except me, and I don’t know how!

This is not a new thought.

The realisation that I was unconsciously doing this to him, to us, is new, but the knowledge that I suck at maintaining friedships, and that no one can fix it but me, totally not new.

It’s actually part of why I started this blog. To figure it all out. To put my thoughts out there (semi) cohesively.
See, I’m kind of a hermit. Or I go through periods of hermit-like behaviour.

Part of this is that I newly suffer from anxiety, of the kind that avoids crowds and loud environments. And part of it is that I carry a good amount of shame around with me. I very recently figured that part out.

See, I try to stay in touch, but then people don’t call back. Or I organize a party and people don’t show up (true story!). So then I stop calling and reaching out, because if people really wanted to be my friend, they’d call, right? They’d show up, right? They’d do some organizing and invite me places, right?

So then I think, I’m not worth it, they don’t want to talk to me because I stopped acting and sold out to a corporate overlord for drugs and money. They don’t want to talk to me because our communal event which forced them to endure my presence is now over and so they can go back to their real lives, which don’t include me. They don’t want to talk to me because I’m not cool enough, I speak too loudly, I’m too opinionated, I’m offensive, I get too excited at the prospect of hanging out – maybe I smell…

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. In fact, I think one of the keys to it all is that maybe, just maybe, love is all about giving.

Maybe nine times out of ten you feel like you’re the only one  participating, for the payoff of that one time when you get contacted. Maybe it’s always a struggle. Maybe they’re not calling you because they’re so wrapped up in wondering why you’re not calling them.

To Dashing, I’m sorry. Clearly, I have a lot to learn yet.

I thought we could learn together, but maybe these are lessons best learned apart. Maybe.

To the rest of the world – what do you think? Do you ever feel this way? How do you combat it? Do you never feel this way? Are you a ‘hub’? How do you do it??

Student living and me.

Just life. But through the eyes of a Blue-eyed History student.

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