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How can one build a close network?

How can you build a close relationship with someone, and come across as more responsible, memorable, and outgoing?

How to meet new people and start a conversation?

What do friends normally talk about on a daily basis, in contrast to a coworker?

How do you make friendships that will last?

Thank you so much!

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Subject: Career question for you

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Nicholas’s Answer

This is a really great question and something that is incredibly important in starting and building up a career. The more people who you can talk with and connect to, the more opportunities you are going to have to enjoy your job and also move up in whatever career path you choose. I have found that the best way to come across as memorable and start developing relationships is to ask people about themselves. Ask where they grew up, where they went to school, what interests they have, why they are in the career they are, and so on. Asking people questions about themselves and showing genuine interest makes people feel important and heard. The next step is to find something in their experiences, activities, or things they like that you can connect with. Maybe you share the same hobby or they grew up near someone you know. It can be literally anything, but this will help the person feel more of a connection with you. After meeting someone for the first time, it can be easy to cross it off your list and not remember the person. It is vital to continue to interact and talk with this person to establish a friendship. Reaching out consistently, not too much, but enough, shows the person that you want to learn more about them or that you enjoy being around them. This is also an important step in building friendships that last. I hope this helps a little!
Thank you comment icon This is such amazing advice, and exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so much, Nicholas! Would you have any tips regarding how to ensure that you are reaching out consistently, not too little or too much? Lisa
Thank you comment icon I am glad that this is helpful for you Lisa! This part is a little tricky and it really depends on the situation and your feel for the person. If you are both really engaged and seem to hit it off right away, you may want to reach out a little more to show that you find them interesting and want to talk more often. However, it is important to not be pushy so if your connection is not reciprocating your enthusiasm to talk, maybe back off a bit and let them have some space and go from there. This is kind of a personal preference thing as to how you go about this process, but whatever you decide to try, make sure that you are aware of the other person and how they are reacting when you are talking. Nicholas Lust
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Megan’s Answer

Consider the following: each person you meet becomes a part of your network. Some members of your network are on the far outer edge since you meet them once and don't keep in touch. The more time and energy you wish to invest in someone, the closer that person becomes to you, and thus becomes a part of your inner circle.

When I meet new people, I usually ask an opening question depending on the setting we're in. A good question (other than the weather) is asking a person about themselves. People generally like to talk about themselves, whether that be passions or achievements.

When I was going through recruiting, I tried to be memorable by having one particular piece of conversation stick out to the other person and find something we bond over. To one person, I'm the "cupcake girl" to another I'm "the working mom who had that crazy haircut." You mean different things to different people based on interactions and experiences.

Meeting new people can be really challenging! Some opt to find people online but have a fear of being catfished. Some opt to go to in person networking events and try to work up the courage of approaching a stranger. My suggestion is to go online and search for a common interest group that you like. Read? Join a book club. Hike? Join a hiking club. Starting to get into pickle ball? Join a local athletics group. Start by bonding with people over mutual interests and then slowly learn about them throughout the relationship building process.

Friends don't have to talk on a daily basis. Now that I'm a working mom, my time and priorities have greatly shifted. I find my closest friends to be the people who are open to having good, genuine conversation on an as-needed basis. There is something heartwarming about freely giving and receiving communication and emotion without expectation. Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Megan! I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Do you have any tips for conversation starters or topics? Thank you! Lisa
Thank you comment icon Hi Lisa! I usually ask a pointed question based on our environment - ask about a hobby, sport, weekend plans, vacation, work projects, personal projects, home projects, books, podcasts, Netflix shows - to find something to bond over. Megan Nerad, CPA
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Ryan’s Answer

Hi Lisa, I love this question and it's incredibly relevant in today's culture where we're seemingly more connected than ever but also so incredibly distant. I believe the gap is intimacy.

Building a close network takes time, it can't be rushed because it includes TRUST. Getting to trust has to include being vulnerable because it displays to the other party or individual that you're willing to be seen fully and completely and allows or opens the door for others to do the same.

Close relationships start the same way. The foundation of vulnerability and trust mixed with genuine curiosity. A lot of times people join groups with people of similar interests as a way to connect and build relationships. I feel that commonalities with people are a bridging agent but the core driver to building relationships with someone involves people who are vastly different than yourself. I find people with opposite world views, politically, religiously, and culturally, and I find that not only do I learn so much but my curiosity is limitless. There's really no end to trying to understand ways of life beyond your own. But be ready for difficult and candid conversations... which can be the most eye-opening and heart-opening experiences you can have.

Here is a list of basics:

1. Be genuine and authentic: Be yourself and show genuine interest in others. People appreciate authenticity and are more likely to connect with you when you are true to yourself.

2. Be a good listener: Listen actively when someone is speaking and show empathy. Ask questions to show that you are interested in what they are saying.

3. Show up and follow through: Make plans with people and stick to them. Being reliable and consistent will help build trust and deepen the relationship.

4. Join groups or clubs: Joining groups or clubs based on your interests is a great way to meet new people who share your passions.

5. Attend social events: Attend social events and be open to meeting new people. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone new.

6. Stay in touch: Keep in touch with friends by calling, texting, or meeting up regularly. Make an effort to maintain the relationship even when life gets busy.

Ryan recommends the following next steps:

When meeting new people, try to find common ground to start a conversation. You can ask about their interests, hobbies, or work. Be positive and open-minded, and try to find something you have in common.
Friends often talk about a wide range of topics, from current events to personal stories and experiences. They might discuss their hobbies, interests, relationships, and goals. In contrast, coworkers often talk about work-related topics, such as projects, deadlines, and job duties.
To make friendships that last, it is important to invest time and effort in the relationship. Be supportive, be a good listener, and stay in touch regularly. Be open and honest in your communication and be willing to work through conflicts or challenges that arise.
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Damien’s Answer

Building a good social network can be very simple! A few tips:

Damien recommends the following next steps:

Show up (to conferences, lectures, special events)
Be memorable - think about who/what YOU remember after a night of networking, ask others what they find memorable if you need help
Follow up quickly - when you meet someone interesting, shoot them an email/text/call within a few days to cement the introduction
Keep in touch - this is true ESPECIALLY when you're not asking for anything, share something insightful, ask a question, just keep it going!)
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Dee’s Answer

In asking this question, you've possibly initiated a conversation starter :)
Being an introvert, I've found it challenging to start conversations, and felt like I needed to feel the environment more before being able to warm up to people - and I'm still learning despite being in the workforce for decades, and overcame this through making the first move.

Getting (or giving) the first handshake (or fist bump nowadays) is a good start - be genuinely interested in the person you're having a conversation with, being open with what your hear and sharing your thoughts as well. If you decided that it's someone you would like to have conversations again - just do it, have a coffee time and get to know each other better.

Even in commercial engagements, it is possible to build strong networks - there'd be some people that you could hit off immediately and rise from there, and some others that would need time to understand their perspectives and engage deeper to build the positive vibes with each other. People do appreciate it when you could support them with challenges they face at work - it could be your own professional experience, or a solution that your company can help with.

Having said the above, there would also be some connections that would just remain, a connection for the moment - make wise choices on who you want to be associated with and build a deeper relationship (or friendship). There may be values that you embrace, or boundaries that may challenge what you believe in - get to know more about others, be open about possibilities of outer limits, and most importantly, enjoy the company of the people you chose to build the relations with.

I've made really awesome friends through work as well, and would encourage you to put yourself forward to get to know people, and also allow people to get to know you!

All the best, Lisa! :)
Thank you comment icon This is amazing advice, thank you so much! Lisa
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Archived’s Answer

This is a good question. In my career, I've noticed that some of my colleagues have a good professional networks. So that when one in the group loses their job or just wants to switch jobs, others in the group help them if the can. This is a very good thing but most people (from my observation) are not in such a professional group. I'm retired now, but if I was starting again, I'd try to build a professional group of colleagues (not necessarily close friends) from the time that I was in college and continuing throughout my career. One thing that can help is Linkedin which helps with making professional contacts.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Stephen! Would you have any thoughts on tips and tricks on how one could build a professional group of colleagues? Lisa
Thank you comment icon Start an informal lunch meeting with colleagues, with the expressed intent of at least touching on career related topics. Could be once per month or once per quarter ... Archived User
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Elaina’s Answer

Building relationships can be easier than you think! You can try to get in contact with those whose work intertwines with yours and set up "shadow" sessions to learn how they complete their tasks. This opens up a doorway to have a person to ask when you have questions that are not within your department which can turn into coffee breaks, lunch breaks, etc. Conversations can be started by asking them how they got into their current role and where they hope to be in a few years.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Elaina! Lisa
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for sharing. This is a good question.
In the working environment, we usually work in teams. We may be members of multiple teams given we may involve in multiple projects at the same time. So , the collaboration in different teams in important.
Below are my suggestions :
1. Attend courses teaching some techniques on the collaboration
2. Friendly
3. Polite
4. Open Minded
5. Keep a smile on the face
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
Thank you comment icon Rebecca, thank you! Lisa
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Lorraine’s Answer

Hi Lisa,

The key to build relationships that last is to be personable and authentic. Make sure remain true to who you are as you build and foster those friendships. You can learn a lot from your friends and co-workers so always have open, respectful conversations so that you can hear and understand diverse perspectives. If available, look into social groups in your community, are there any sports leagues? Groups that host trivia nights? I would encourage you to volunteer with different community organizations so that you can no only be involved, but also meet new people with potentially similar interests.
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Debra’s Answer

Thank you for asking these important questions. Building close relationships can be difficult if you are naturally a shy person. If you have common interests with people it makes it easier to start making conversation. That's why I like the Meetup social network. I attended a WordPress group in Memphis, TN and after the Speaker gave his talk, there were lots of people to talk to about his presentation and about WordPress in general.

Having worked remotely as a software developer for 4 years, I've developed great relationships with the customers who I've written web applications for. Being honest about development timelines and listening closely to their requirements and concerns and being available helped establish their trust in me.

My husband and I moved to a new town last year. We've made friends by joining a local Church and the American Legion Post 77 (for my husband) and the American Legion Auxiliary (for me). There are year-round events that we've attended, such as the Clothes Closet give-away, the Possum Festival, and the Memorial Day crafts fair. It's been fun working together with local folks and getting to know them.

I still talk frequently with friends from Memphis and a friend from Sarasota, Florida that I've known since college days. We talk about our jobs, the struggles we're going through and how we get through them, as well as about hobbies we're enjoying, and about our hopes for the future.

I hope these comments have helped you and wish you all the best in the future!
Thank you comment icon Your advice was so helpful! Lisa
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Jimil’s Answer

Hi Lisa. You should read a book called how to win friends and influence people. It explains how subtle social cues can make you more likable. For example, giving people something like cookies will make them like you. Or calling people by their name more consistently when you address them, because everyone likes hearing their name. Also, get involved in sports, clubs, and other hobbies that involve working with a group or team. When you are doing hobbies, there is less pressure compared to work, and someone might spark a conversation with you. Also, be nice. say please and thank you, and ask people about their opinion on certain topics where you have a common interest. Exercise sends more oxygen to your brain, which allows you to fire on all cylinders. What I mean, is that you will be able to respond faster and more eloquently in conversations if you are active and do a lot of cardio. Taking care of yourself and looking good also makes your more likable. It shows that you care about the way you present yourself, and that you will likely care about your actions and your surroundings. Also care for others. A conversation is just a series of back and forth questions and answers. Try not to talk about touchy subjects like religion or politics, and instead just find a common interest. If you meet playing basketball, then talk about basketball. Learn about your hobby more, and the people around you will influence you to like the hobby more because you have someone to talk about it with.

Building a close network of relationships can take time and effort, but there are a few things you can do to make it happen:

Be open and approachable: Smile, make eye contact, and be willing to initiate conversations with new people. This helps to show that you are friendly and easy to talk to.

Show genuine interest in others: Ask questions and actively listen to what the other person has to say. People tend to remember those who are genuinely interested in them.

Follow up: Keep in touch with people you meet and continue to build the relationship over time. Send an email, text or a message every now and then.

Be reliable and responsible: Follow through on commitments, keep your promises and be on time. This will help to establish trust and build a strong foundation for a relationship.

Participate in events and activities: Attend networking events, join clubs or groups, and volunteer for community events. This can be a great way to meet new people who share your interests.

Be outgoing and confident: Speak up, share your ideas and take initiative. These qualities can make you come across as more interesting and memorable.

When starting a conversation, you can find common ground by asking questions about the other person's interests, job, or other topics of interest. Small talk can be a good way to build rapport, you can ask about the weather, current events, and other topics of general interest.

In regards to friends and coworkers, friends tend to talk about personal topics such as family, relationships, hobbies, and interests, and coworkers tend to talk about work-related topics such as projects, deadlines, and office gossip. However, these conversations can overlap, as friends might ask about work, and coworkers can ask about personal life too.

To make friendships that last, it's important to maintain good communication, be reliable and supportive, and to be open and understanding with each other. Showing that you


Also don't leave people on read haha. People don't like that.
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Gary’s Answer

Good morning Lisa! Genuinely take interest in others and determine what they want. Put that above your agenda and you will Win Friends & Influence People. This is a book written by Dale Carnegie...it's a very short read and I think it will help you with networking.
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Amanda’s Answer

Networking is extremely important. It will not only help you for current jobs but even future jobs. I recommend getting involved locally. There are usually a handful of events like a Young Professionals Group, Networking Roundtables, or other Networking events in a community. If someone is concerned about sparking a conversation with a new person, I recommend reaching out to the host of one of these events. They will usually pair you with someone so you don't have to be concerned the first few times you attend. People enjoy talking about themselves. Ask them what they like/dislike and you will be headed toward a great networking conversation.
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William’s Answer

Hi Lisa,

Engaging in group chats, forums and blog discussions. Blogging is one of the best ways to build a professional network.
LinkedIn is a good professional network platform for all.

Success.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Lisa
Thank you comment icon What could we blog about, and how can we avoid being dry and uninteresting? Thank you so much for your advice! Lisa
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Neil’s Answer

Relationships are something to work on and improve. Many of the friends and close relationships that I have now were found by being passionate about something and finding a way to be a part of that. There are often groups or communities of people who have a similar interest as you. Many of the friends that I have now I met through our community group and volunteering with it. I have also found connections through online communities and used those to meet in person. Sometimes you only talk about the topic of the group but often times you meet people who have other interests as well. When you interact with people, be honest and willing to help. Listen to them and find ways to make the time they spend with you meaningful.
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