What The Weirdos Know

Have you ever known someone who is well connected in defiance of all logic? Maybe they’re a little weird, a little abrasive. Maybe they are awkward and lack social graces. But they seem to know everybody anyway, have no trouble finding people to work with and play with. How the heck do they do that?

These people have mastered one thing that will build a network more surely than any other. It’s more important than charisma, mingling skills, or being able to introduce yourself effectively. You can succeed at it even if you’re socially awkward, abrasive, or even a little obnoxious. It’s something that a surprisingly small number of people actually do, even though it takes very little skill or knowledge.

What is this magic tactic?

Show up.

When I say show, up, I mean both literally and figuratively. Once you identify a person or group with whom you’d like to build ties, start showing up for them. Engage. Show up physically at their events. Show up virtually on their social media. Show up figuratively by keeping in touch, extending invitations to them, accepting their invitations, and just generally being in their lives/worlds. If they make any effort to contact you, get right back to them.

When you keep showing up for people, you start to grow on them even without doing anything spectacular. Over time, they get to know you and they start to appreciate your good qualities, especially those that aren’t glaringly obvious. A comfort level develops, and a sense of trust. They grow to believe that you’re there for them. And you become part of their community.

Don’t Be a Creepy Jerk

It should go without saying that this only works if you are a well-meaning person. If you’re a selfish jerk who keeps showing up, it’s not going to endear you to anyone. But as long as you mean well and do your best to be a positive part of whatever you’re showing up for, it’s a pretty foolproof plan.

It is possible to overdo this strategy. If you just met someone and you start messaging them every day, showing up wherever they go, and commenting on everything they say on any social media platform, that’s too much. It is possible to cross over from showing up to stalking.

Showing Up Is Brave

But most often, we err too much on the opposite end of the spectrum. We hang back. We get wrapped up in our own thing and forget to pay enough attention to others. It’s easy, too, to hang back and wait for others to come to us. That way, we avoid the risk of rejection. It feels much safer. Safer, easier, and a heck of a lot lonelier.

So be brave – send a message, initiate an activty. Go to an event that’s being put on by someone with whom you’d like to cultivate a better connection. It’ll pay off, I promise.