Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: I hate my job, introvert, networking, numbers
Megan McArdle wrote a good post about “networking” which is hard to excerpt but a key part is:
[Good networkers are] people who like other people, who talk to other people because they are interested in them, [...] Other peoples’ lives are interesting, even if they themselves aren’t fabulous raconteurs. A good networker is someone who starts out on the presumption that you must be interesting, and looks for the things that make you so.
Struck me as words of wisdom. Also brought up something that I usually suppress and try not to think about too much:
I don’t really like other people, and I’m actually not that interested in them.
I don’t mean that in a bad way, or anything. ;-) Certainly I don’t mind most other people. I think they’re fine and ok. And there are, of course, some I genuinely like. But the vast majority of people, while I’m sure they have details and stories and attributes and likes and dislikes that I could get into if I were forced into a conversation with them – that all just seems so tiring. And in the end, after all that effort of having a conversation, it’s just been my experience that there are very very few people who would have told me or revealed some truly ‘interesting’ thing that I would’ve found worth the trouble. Like, you have a sister in Duluth? Wow!
Everyone has details. And everyone’s details are slightly different. But that’s not enough to make them interesting, not to me.
It’s like the jokey “proof” of the statement that All (Integer, Positive) Numbers Are Interesting. 1. Surely there are some Interesting Numbers (and you list some: 60=seconds in a minute, 9 = months in a pregnancy, whatever). 2. If you claim that not all numbers are Interesting, that would mean that if I listed all the non-Interesting numbers, one of them would be closest to zero. 3. So it would be the Smallest Positive Non-Interesting Integer – but that would make it Interesting. 4. So there can’t be any non-interesting positive integers. QED. (And this proof could be expanded to negative numbers, etc. in the standard ways.)
That proof is a joke. A nerdy joke, but a joke. In reality nobody thinks all numbers are interesting. And so I have a hard time believing a person who claims to think all people are interesting – but if there are such people, then God bless ‘em. But it doesn’t work for me.
At least when I was younger and not married, there was an obvious incentive involved in talking to other people, or trying to, or finding them interesting, or pretending to, or even (at least) paying attention to them. That being: to get chicks. I might want to talk to a chick for obvious reasons (because she was a chick), or, at minimum, I might want to talk to a dude because he might know such-and-such chick.
Period. I’m not entirely joking when I say that I don’t even recall any other reasons for ever wanting (truly wanting) to talk to a person.
But now I’m taken, and so even that incentive is gone.
A corollary is that I’d probably be a better networker if I weren’t married. But only because then I’d be talking to and pretending to be interested in people more often.
Anyway, this would explain why I’m not a good networker, and apparently, never shall be. As Megan says later, it can’t be faked. There are times when I have to try to fake it, and there’ve been times when I thought I should work on it more, but it’s nice to know that it actually can’t be faked – takes the pressure off.
Phew. I feel better now ;-)
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