Dear Jasmine, I am having a hard time making friends in the business. I joined a local networking branch in LA and instead of feeling great and in a community, I feel overwhelmed with the amazing work I've seen. Even to the point that I really doubt my work. I have no idea how to talk to them and I would love to have coffee with them and just make friends. I have no idea how to build relationships with them.
I want to be able to feel like I am part of something and not feel like the awkward girl in the corner just looking like a mess. Especially when they do their meet and greets. I just can't get past the basic introductions because I start getting nervous or that I am not good enough to be in those events.
Awkward Girl in the Corner
Dear Awkward Girl,
I'm sorry you feel alone, especially in a crowded room full of people (some who are feeling the exact same way you are). And let me be honest for a second: If I were at the same networking event you were, I'd be desperately suffocating the urge to stand in a corner and stuff my face with fried appetizers. But the difference between you and I is that I've (slowly) learned if I want to get closer to my goals/aspirations/dreams, I need to put in the effort.
Lots of effort. The type of effort that leaves me exhausted and vulnerable at the end of the night. That type of effort.
So that's my challenge to you. Go and stand in the center of the room, wait, and smile. It'll be awkward and feel awful, but I promise, someone will approach you in less than a few minutes. Why? Because everyone is there to mix and mingle. They want to talk with someone as much as you do.
The hard part is being seen. I get it. I'm much better lurking in dark corners and watching from a distance. But that doesn't push me forward…in fact, I'd remain the same person I walked in as. If I want change, I need to make the change in order to manifest the things I want.
So, there you go. If you're going to be awkward, do so in the center of the room, not the corner. Smile. Wait. And soon you'll be making friends and scheduling coffee dates. I promise.
Your Awkward Buddy,