"Expanding your Network"

I'm not going to lie, I hate networking. Social situations have never been my strength. Small talk is difficult for me, and I tend to either "click" with someone right away or I don't, and there's typically not a lot of in between. As someone who lived in the same area most of her life, it was easy to take all kinds of connections for granted. From moving somewhere totally new, I've realized just how integral having a community is to things as simple as getting a haircut recommendation or as complicated as needing to find a contact at a specific business. Not having people to ask these things of has shown me what a privilege it is to know people - and motivated me to push myself to actually build up that network.

I'm terrible about keeping up with friends. I (almost) always respond to texts, notifications, emails, etc., but I am admittedly the worst when it comes to making that initial outreach. I know that extends mainly from anxiety, but it's never going to be better if I don't push it to get there. Admittedly I haven't been doing the best job of "putting myself out there" with the move, so I know I have to start trying harder.

So I'm going to challenge myself to socialize. I'm hoping to find some meetups in the area that are focused around things I want to learn, and organically meet people who are interested in the same things. I read this guest post that has some great tips to making genuine connections instead of tossing out business cards, and I'm planning on ordering her book as well! If I'm going to put the time and effort into this, I want it to be both beneficial and not forced.

Like exercising, I think building your network is one of those uncomfortable things that will make you feel better in the long run. And I really need to find a good place to get my hair cut!