I’ve written a lot about the importance of networking events. When I was living in Syracuse, I would allow myself to just hang on my couch and revel in the comfort of my apartment. No need to think of small talk topics or introduce myself to people I didn’t know.
While this was the much more relaxing approach to spending an evening, over time I felt pretty miserable because a.) I was totally disconnected from the city b.) I didn’t have many friends and c.) there’s only so many episodes of Breaking Bad you can watch before you start to question your purpose in life.
When I moved to Charlotte, I was determined to change that. Because I’m introverted, forcing myself to head into a totally unfamiliar situation with a totally unfamiliar group of people gives me the cold sweats. And yet I’ve done it and continue to do it and can honestly say it’s been pivotal to creating a positive experience here.
It doesn’t matter whether you live in a massive metropolis or the tiniest of towns: get out and do stuff. Go meet people. Force yourself to stand awkwardly on the edge of a room while you look for someone approachable to introduce yourself to. In that moment it’s horrible, I know, but after it’s done you’ll feel so good. Plus, you might meet someone who knows someone who can help you in a major way. Maybe you also meet a friend or someone to date. Maybe you don’t really meet anyone, but you walk away having learned something. That in and of itself is a win.
If networking isn’t your thing and this seems daunting, start small. Challenge yourself to go to one event per month. Find a speaker series that interests you or check out a meetup group that looks cool. I promise you that feeling connected to your city works in direct correlation to your happiness level, so it’s worth the name tags, awkward drink holding, and chit chat.