Green tree frog on branch with green leaves

I hate networking events.

Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people. In fact, in my “business” meeting new people is a must.  As an entrepreneur, correction as a “solopreneur” (which just means I am a lonely entrepreneur) I’ve got to get out and meet people to keep myself from going crazy.

The phrase "I hate networking but love meeting new people" reminds me of one of those logic equations I had to solve in college philosophy:

If all frogs are green and all trees are green, then are all frogs trees.

No, you idiot, frogs are not trees.  But then again depending on who you are debating against, someone, somewhere, has certainly proven that yes, all frogs are actually trees. Likely it involves quantum physics and how everything is energy and energy never dies and its always moving so therefore if a frog has perched on a tree.....can I say perched? Do frogs perch? They don’t necessarily look like they are perching — that’s a bird, right? So, what do frogs do?  I don’t know so for right now and for this argument we’ll say perched.

So, if a frog has perched on a tree AT SOME POINT in their lifetime then somehow, and in some way, they have exchanged energy and therefore one could say if our entire string of DNA is contained within each cell, and the frog and the tree have exchanged energy in some weird energy intercourse, then yes my friend, all frogs are trees.  (Okay all of you sciency people please don't tell me how I am wrong about strings of DNA, etc. This is comedy. I am allowed to bend the truth a bit aren't I?)

What were we talking about?

Oh yes, networking and how much I don’t like it.

I hate the act of networking. Generally, I find the events bland, boring, boorish and full of surface conversations that mostly revolve around sports, the weather and the latest Netflix series because everyone is avoiding politics. 

But I love people. I love finding out about people, knowing where they came from, what makes them who they are today. Not in a strange invasive like tell me your whole life story so I can then either a) use it against you or b) make you a word search puzzle for your birthday wouldn’t that be fun? Nope, that’s weird. Like your Weird Uncle Jake who every Thanksgiving must show you his World War II memorabilia in his basement, which smells of old magazines, socks and mold.

But I digress again.

Ok, me loving people. I find them interesting. Fascinating.

I’m also a “WOO” on the Strengths Finder if you’ve ever taken that test. It means I’ve never met a stranger. I am that person who talks to everyone in the Starbucks line or the grocery store. Like today, suddenly, I was hearing about this woman’s Mom who insists that she moisturize all the way down into her boobs so that she doesn’t get those weird wrinkles in her “décolletage”

For those who don’t know French, décolletage is a woman's cleavage as revealed by a low neckline. So, for those of us over 50 this can be a problem.  All of a sudden, we look like Great Aunt Bunny who we used to visit in Florida. Lesson: Moisturize all the way down in between your boobs ladies.

I wouldn’t have learned that if I hadn’t been the person eavesdropping and chiming in.  And gentlemen, I’ve now schooled you on a new word. Use it in a sentence such as: “Honey, I love the way that blouse shows off your décolletage. It’s so sexy.”  Yes, women do want to hear that kind of things.

See what you can learn by eavesdropping, I mean networking?

So, what’s the difference?

Well in the networking scenario I feel like I “have” to meet new people — like the time my Mom forced me to eat all my peas when I was a kid.  I had to drink two whole glasses of milk to get them down just to eat two Keebler Pecan Sandies for dessert.

Pecan Sandies, at the time, were my favorites cookie and because of all the starving kids in the world we had to clean our plates to get dessert.  Well I taught my Mom a lesson, I ate my peas, drank my milk, ate the cookies and then promptly threw it all back up on our kitchen table. Oh yay.  That’ll teach you.

(And to be fair to the peas, the only reason I didn’t like peas was because my brother liked them, and I didn’t like my brother. I do eat peas now in case you are interested.)

Where we were?

That I feel like I “have to” network. The truth is, I don’t.

I can sit at home in my pajamas for days and write and coach people and never leave my house. In fact, I have done that. I’ve gone a few days when I haven’t left my condo because I’m busy working and there is a gym in the building, so I can work out here.

But you know what? I get stir crazy. I come to a point where I have got to get out of the house and be with people.

In fact, just last week that happened. Thankfully I knew about a networking event happening the next day with an amazing group of women.

I went and had a great time introducing myself and finding out what made them tick. Each one was so passionate about what they were up to, it was truly inspiring. So inspiring in fact I’ve put these networking events in my calendar so I don't miss them.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, how much I love people.

If you want me to come to your next networking event, just give me a shout. I love those things.

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About The Author

Jen Coken's picture

Jen Coken is an author, life coach, and comedian who wants to live in a world where you’re free to be yourself and achieve your soul’s purpose—a vision that has driven her work as a Coach, Speaker, Author, Comedian for more than 20 years.

Drawing on three decades of experience as a non-profit leader and grassroots organizer, Jen helps CEOs and entrepreneurs overcome their self-made limitations and do their heart’s work.

But Jen’s impact doesn’t end there: She spent six years on the Denver stand-up comedy circuit and brings a sense of humor to every topic she addresses, including the experience of coping with her mother's diagnosis and death from ovarian cancer.

Jen’s book, "When I Die, Take My Panties: Turning Your Darkest Moments into Your Greatest Gifts" chronicles that experience and shares Jen’s core message that everything that comes our way is meant to teach us about ourselves.

When she’s not crafting bestselling books or speaking to audiences around the country, you can find Jen eating Nutella by the spoonful in the nearest grocery aisle. www.jencoken.com

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