Twentysomethings say “I hate networking”

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

A big issue, and the resistance to diversifying one’s social circle feeds into almost all of the other problems that the USA faces, including racism and the concentration of wealth. Maybe the problem is that when folks are in their 20s any mixed gender get together feels like a date?

When I encourage twentysomethings to ask their weak ties for favors or coffee dates, there is often a fair amount of resistance: “I hate networking” or “I want to get a job on my own” or “That’s not my style.” I get it, but that doesn’t change the fact that new things almost always come from outside the inner circle. Twentysomethings who won’t use their weak ties fall behind those who will.

I once had a fortune cookie that read A WISE MAN MAKES HIS OWN LUCK. The single best thing we can do to make our own luck in our twenties—and in a tough economy—is to branch out and cultivate our weak ties. Research shows that our social networks narrow with age, as careers and families become busier and more defined. So this is the decade to be connecting, not just with the same people having the same conversations about how work is lame or how there are no good men out there, but with those who might see things a little differently. The urban tribe may bring us soup when we’re sick, but it’s the people we hardly know who will swiftly and dramatically change our lives for the better—in our 20s and in the years to come.

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