So these days everyone has their iPhones or crackberries, and tweets, facebooks, texts, blogs, im’s etc etc. It is enough to make my head spin. I used to be all about the latest internet social craze (read:NERD) now not so much.
Since I moved to Minneapolis in 2005 I have not made a lot of contacts here. Working overnight and being a video game junkie couch potato was not really conducive to meeting a lot of people. So really the only person I knew was my boyfriend. While I love him to death… not healthy comes to mind. My coworkers aren’t really my style, plus I *think* I am actually the only girl who works as a driver for the company and for sure the only female dispatcher, so I am in a class of my own there. So since I joined the gym I have done my best to branch out and find friends.
Growing up where I did in a small rural/wooded area, where everyone knew everyone since we were kids. I never had much of a social life. The kid with bifocals braces and a weight problem… yea that was me. My best friend Trista moved away in second grade and I was never the same. So, I don’t know how to make friends. I am shy, awkward, and don’t know how to approach people.
So when I go to the gym, the cardio area is pretty much pointless to try to make conversation with anyone. This is the area I am most new to anyway. Everyone’s got their iPods on, so I do too. However, the water aerobics class… this is where I shine!
The first time I went to the class, I was a little reserved. I talked to a few of the ladies, I knew one girl from when I would swim laps I had talked to her a few times. After that class, I was in love with the class. By the third class I attended I had been welcomed by the regulars in the class as a regular! They loved me!
So less than a month or so after I started there was a retirement party for one of the women in the group. We had a great night! I met a few women who didn’t take the class. I got a recommendation for an acupuncture and a chiropractic clinic out of the deal. While I haven’t followed up on the recommendations I am happy to have suggestions other than google of places to go.
Since that night I have gone out with 2 of the ladies a few times. Social networking… without electronic means? No Facebook connect? No Twitter? Face to face interaction? Tonight while I was leaving the YWCA I was conversing with a woman who paid me what I consider to be a very high compliment. She told me that she was very lucky to know me. Coming from this particular woman I felt it was such high praise. I look up to so many of the women I have met since I started on my journey. While I don’t discount everyone I have talked to on the web (and not met face to face) being told by this woman that she was happy to know me seemed… amazing.
So now I need to learn how to network… I am slowly learning, but I am not good at it. I think I just try too hard to make friends. I just want to share my thoughts with the world. Luckily this blog will help me with the letting things out maybe it will help me be less intense.
So here I am learning how to network the old-fashioned way, at the gym in the water. Can’t really hide behind much when you are in your swimsuit sweating, jiggling, so I guess it must be easier for me to feel comfortable since we are all on an even playing field. Who knows.
Any tips on how to network for an introvert who lacks practice making friends and networking both on the web and off?