Does the thought of meeting new people repulse you? Do you avoid it like the plague? At least you have the choice to opt out.
Think about the millions of kindergarteners who began school this year. They entered a foreign world, knowing virtually no-one, forced into a new routine, where every second they are being asked to do something new and different. And you think you have it tough?
Imagine the first day of school through the eyes of a kindergartener. They are in a new surrounding with up to 20 people they have never met before. What do they talk about? Who will they sit next to? Who do they partner up with during activities? Who do they sit next to at lunch? Who do they play with on the playground? When you don’t know anyone, how do you make those choices? Simple, you just do it!
Oh, to be a kid again. They are so resilient. They haven’t the years of experience to taint their memories. It is all fresh. So, what lessons can we learn from them, so we too, can just do it?
Get on the bus and go. Your Mom says so.
Instead of making excuses for why you don’t want to go to a group meeting, association gathering or networking event, just sign yourself up and GO.
Sit next to somebody you know.
Chances are, you will at least know one person in a group. Sit next to them. It will feel better than sitting alone.
Ask if they want to play.
Pick someone, anyone, and ask them a question. You don’t have to become their best friend.
“They don’t know anyone either”, says your Mom.
Don’t make assumptions. Most of the people there don’t know each other either. You are all in the same boat. Don’t feel bad or alone.
Not that anyone would be mean on purpose. Befriend someone who looks more scared than you. Remember the old saying, it is nice to share. Don’t complain about ANYTHING.
Cookies are waiting for you at home.
It may not be cookies, but set up some reward for yourself when you return to the comfort of home. It is the carrot at the end of the stick.
You may be asking yourself why you need to meet new people in the first place. In case you haven’t heard, “networking” is the number one way people are finding jobs right now. If you don’t have people to network with, it is going to take a very, very, very long time to find a job.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.