Write about doing something you don’t want to do.
We're expected to network to get ahead. And I'm here to say:
It may surprise some of you, but I have mild social anxiety. I don't like talking to strangers unless it's in a setting where everything is under my complete control. That would be the control freak in me. I can't stand not being in control of every situation I am in. I've gotten better about this. I think.
Anyway, the idea of networking to get ahead is a complicated issue in and of itself because it effectively shuts out people who have anxieties similar to mine. And it's also kind of a shitty thing to expect from people. Oh, we're supposed to be friendly and nice to Carl who thinks that "the #MeToo movement is making men afraid to talk to women" or Mary who will tell anyone that'll listen about the latest pyramid scheme she's involved in? Why should my future success in an industry rely on sucking up to sucky people?
Let me reiterate, I don't like talking to strangers. I've literally dropped out of events I was supposed to volunteer for because the idea of networking with people filled me with so much dread I couldn't sleep at night. I definitely need therapy.
A lot of times I can overcome it by trying to not overthink it too much. I get along with people pretty well for the most part and can turn on the charm if I need to. I just hate being in situations where I'm uncomfortable. I know that's silly because that is a part of life and I am trying to work on it.
I don't mind meeting people when I'm out at a happy hour. Alcohol isn't referred to as a social lubricant for nothing but I also don't want to rely on a substance just to get rid of my anxiety. That is a slippery slope, folks.
Now that I'm freelancing full-time, I've had to put myself out there more to acquire clients and it's really pushing my limits and boundaries. I have to keep reminding myself that's a good thing.