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Never Stop Networking For Friendships: You Can Never Have Enough

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing

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Social networking, whether for platonic friendships, a spouse, or to increase network of really close friends, utilizes most of available networking opportunities.

Social networking stands apart from networking for business or professional purposes. In social networking the goals are not for numbers of leads or lists of prospects, "signed-up" customers, new clients or new patients. Social networking, however, is still very much success oriented.

For some readers, the ability to successfully network for new personal relationships might be their only goal. If you are net working for a spouse, and find one, you can certainly consider that you've networked your way to success.

A Different Cast Of Characters

In business and professional networking, the people involved tend to already have some experience and know-how in meeting and interacting with strangers. They have developed basic networking techniques because of their job experiences. In the social scene, the search for new friends, many of the participants are shy and hesitant to extend themselves.

What's Your Name?

The basic, level one networking technique is to extend ourselves to start a conversation. When you were four years old you were probably an excellent level one networker. You knew how to ask those outrageously personal, conversation starting questions: What's your name? How old are you? Where do you live? What do your Mommy and Daddy do? Do you want to play and a self invited question, Can I come over to your house?

I guess we can remember that far back. Why did we then seem to have the natural attributes of good networkers but never continued to progress? Then we were innocent. We hadn't been conditioned to the consequences of extending ourselves. We were soon warned of the dangers of talking to strangers. "Children should be seen and not heard," is a principle our parents might have observed. "Mind your manners," we were told. However, it is worth noting that basic lessons learned in kindergarten, can serve you well in later life.

Getting Ready For Social Encounters

Before we review where to do our social networking let's think about how to do it. Important considerations include; How to overcome fear of rejection and greet people effectively. How to start a conversation and develop friendships?

Fear Of Rejection

For the purposes of networking in the social scene, fear of rejection usually manifests itself in the fear of meeting strangers...a fear of being rejected by them. Fear of rejection is an acquired fear. Psychologists tell us that as babies we really only had two fears, fear of falling and fear of loud noises. For most people, many acquired fears can be conquered. Here are some suggestions for conquering fear of rejection.

Recognize that fear of rejection keeps you from extending yourself in new situations and when meeting new people. Next recognize that probably 95% of the time your initiatives to meet new people will succeed. Remember kindergarten. Don't be afraid of strangers and meeting new people. Understand that other people are as eager to make new friends as you are. Do you have any idea how relieved and grateful other people are going to feel because you took the initiative and started a conversation? Believe in yourself, you really have something to offer a new acquaintance. You can be a good listener.

Lastly, your chances for success can be substantially improved by preparing to meet new people. This calls for doing some homework to be ready to engage in sparkling conversation, the kind that will surely win you new friends.

Suggestions To Improve Your Conversational Skills:
  • Find three interesting, stimulating or exciting things that have happened to you recently. Be prepared to relate them in story form. Above all put your feelings into them.

  • As you read books, magazines, newspapers, take special note of general interest items that you can share in conversations with others.

  • When you have seen good movies, TV, plays or theater, your recommendation to a new friend may carry more weight than a professional reviewer.

  • If you have trouble remembering jokes, next time you hear one you'd like to share, jot it down.

  • Offering insights on current events can result in stimulating conversation as long as your comments informed and general. As soon as you express too strong a view, you run the risk of finding opposition. This often stops conversation instantly.

  • Express a sincere interest in the other person's adventures, families, hobbies, sightseeing, surgeries, travels.

  • Use the other person's name in conversation. They love to hear it, and it helps you to fix it in your memory.

  • Be prepared. Your next conversation may begin today or tonight.
Greeting People

Greeting someone for the first time gives you that important opportunity to make a good first impression. The greeting is perhaps the most important part of face-to-face networking. So be alert, be courteous, smile and shake hands.

The handshake is very important. It should be done with a firm grip, but not be bone-crushing or finger-squeezing. It should be short, perhaps no longer than 5 or 6 seconds. Some people like to enlarge on the typical handshake by placing their left hand over the clasped right hand, or use their left hand to hold the other person's elbow. Remember, however, that when you are shaking hand you are invading the other person's personal space. Unless you have reason to believe that you won't be offensive with something more than the typical handshake, it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you are in a social situation where you might have a cold and wet glass in your hand, or you hands might be damp from perspiration, be sure to have a napkin or handkerchief handy to be able to discreetly dry your hands. Nobody likes to shake a cold, clammy hand.

A woman should extend her hand when being introduced or greeting someone. Men should wait for a woman's extended hand before offering to shake hands. Remember to shake hands when ending a conversation or meeting.

Starting A Conversation

Meeting people seems to come naturally to some of us. To others, it seems like work. In either case, it requires one person to initiate the conversation. But how do we think up something that doesn't sound trite? The answer is the key word: sincerity. If it originates with you and sounds like the way you would say it, then it is going to sound sincere, not trite. What is there to talk about? The list is endless. You can share views about everyday life. Probe to find out what common areas of interest you may have: early child hood, schools, where you were born, likes and dislikes.

As your conversation develops, be alert for opportunities to help. For instance some of the best ways to get the other person's attention are y telling, I know where you can get that or I know who you should call and let me see if I can help. Who wouldn't be drawn to leads that would ease their life, or solve a nagging problem? And you were the one that put them on to it. Along with the instant gratification you feel that comes with helping, there is also a desire on their part to be helpful in return.

Developing Friendships

First read one or more books on how to develop friends. We certainly recommend Dale Carnegie's book How To Win Friends And Influence People. Make a definite commitment to make friends. Make yourself available by being in situations where you can meet new people. When you have made an acquaintance that you would like to develop into a friendship, take the initiative. You make the phone calls or write the notes. You extend the invitations. Stay in contact. Friendships require closeness. Keep your promises. Be helpful. Share problems because a problem shared is a problem solved. Be trustworthy. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to express your feelings toward your friends - people want to know that they are appreciated. Above all, remember the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The number of friends you have is only limited by the effort you make to gain them. And remember, nobody can have too many friends.