If there’s anything my college has taught me, it’s that networking is key. You never know who’s going to need help for a project after graduation, or who may put you on the pathway to a career. Either way, it’s better to have friends than enemies in this dog-eat-dog world. Unfortunately, networking has become nothing more than an excuse to try to get something out of someone. Whether it’s a date, or the latest gossip, it seems like networking has become a lot less about helping one another and more about personal gain.
It’s time to address the elephant in the room: People need to stop using networking as an excuse to go on a date or have sex with someone. You don’t need to cover up the fact that you asked someone out with the bullshit line, “Oh! I was just networking with you.” No, you weren’t, and it’s obvious that you weren’t. I am networking with you because I think you would be a good professional contact to have for the future.
You could be working for me someday, and the first impression I got from you is a lie? Do you really think I would want to work with you knowing that you tried to use me to “score”? Please just own up to what you’re doing, and don’t call it “networking.” Side note: If I say, “no,” please move on. It’s not the end of the world, and there is someone else out there for you. Stop calling me a bitch to your friends.
Speaking of talking to friends, a lot of people use gossip to try to pin people against each other. As sickening as it sounds, it’s a goal for some people to network as a way to take people out. They become your “friend,” find out your weaknesses, and spread it like wildfire. It’s horrifying, but some people are willing to be that low.
Mean Girls is the perfect example of this. Regina George was worshiped throughout the school because she had the dirt on everyone, and if they crossed her, she could take them out via rumors. Remember when she printed out the pages of the Burn Book and spread them through the halls of the school? Remember how everybody who read them started fighting within their group of friends? That’s what it’s like to use networking for gossip. People will fall apart as a result of it; it could happen between groups of friends, or in the workplace amongst co-workers. Either way, using networking for gossip is wrong, and if you are planning to use it that way, you’re the epitome of pathetic.
Networking should be an innocent way to communicate with one another. It should be a way to connect with others in the event that you may need them for a job, project, or creative input. It should not be your excuse to try to get in someone’s pants or to get the latest gossip from others. Stop using networking as an excuse for anything other than networking. You’re only making yourself look bad.