Sunday, August 14, 2011

Networking and the Socially Awkward

In this rough economy, networking and building your base is stressed more than ever before. It is stressed so much in fact, that it stresses me out just hearing it over and over again. Regardless of what industry you are in, it seems that having social skills is the key to obtaining a job. Success as it seems is directly related to who you socialize with and if you come across as someone that can play like a team.

The problem that I find with this constant talk of networking, making friends with everyone you come in contact with and trying to broaden your social base is that not all of us are good at it. I am good at networking virally, but not necessarily comfortable in almost any social situation. I also feel that not every successful person is the popular extravert. Some people are naturally capable of blending in to almost any crowd, striking up a conversation, becoming easily liked and easily understood. While, there are some of us like me that does not fit in to one social group. I constantly find myself feeling socially awkward and uneasy around some people. It takes me a long time to get to know people, trust people, and adjust. 

It seems that in most social circles, if you do not "show your face" in these groups- you are not participating. Even if it is fake, it seems that one must show their face in order to give the appearance or the illusion that they are participating. In my personal opinion, it is necessary to socialize and network. But at the same time, relationships have to form naturally. We must put ourselves out there, allow ourselves to grow and learn and get to know people. But, friendships can not be forced because we all have free will and those that do not like you, have their right not to. So, for those of us that may not belong, we move on and work with people that do get us and understand our personalities. 

In my opinion, networking is important. But, I also think that sometimes blending in and not really belonging to any one group but being your own individual- is much more important. Flexibility comes with those that do not stay within their own comfort zone. Those that step out of their comfort zone, have the ability to be open to any person or situation. And as long as one remains genuine and true to oneself- making the right connections for the right type of employment will fall in to place naturally.

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