I get great opportunities to people-watch and observe quirky human behaviour at networking events that quickly derails into something spectacularly stupid after said humans consume alcohol.
Such networking events aren’t something a natural introvert like myself would feel overly compelled to attend. On many nights I prefer reading something or, you know, study something (Asian people aren’t as smart as we used to be).
Though on occasion, I’d feel an intense pressure from the quixotic expectation which I benevolently impose on myself to expand my professional network and therefore my practice in financial planning. Those are nights where I would spontaneously decide to ditch my quiet evenings, jam a hanger into my mouth, mix in some artificial sweetener to complement my very artificial smile, and go get some networking done!
Okay, I’m not that introverted. As most of my friends would say, I’m an introverted extrovert. I’m in fact perfectly capable of being vivacious and exuberant. Which left me wondering why I despised networking events with so much passion.
After pondering about it all night, it dawned on me.
Most millennials are so smooth at networking.
Smooth as frickin’ sandpaper.
The dreadful jamming of name cards from strangers I hardly got a chance to greet within the first five minutes of a typical networking event is usually enough for my brain to start crumbling.
If not a dramatic episode of So You Think You Can Shove The Most Name Cards, then I’d be in a room filled with people patting each other’s backs and hearing the sentence “How’s it going bruh” repeated like a broken record, echoing around the room.
You would think that if I could survive the first five minutes, until everyone in the room got everyone else’s name cards, that I could start enjoying myself and get some real networking done, think again.
Phase two was not going to be kind. Nope.
gloating of empty achievements, relentless preaching of startup work-life balance, sentences that include a semblance of the phrase “…disrUGHptive Blockchain technology that would revolutionize..”, and conversations so artificial it makes Splenda taste like a mutated artichoke conversations begin.
These mindless conversations could potentially send me lapsing into a full-scale psychological meltdown on the inside.
I would be very proud of myself if I survived phase two unscathed.
Right about now, my hands would be full with name cards and my brain repleted with mind-numbing conversations, and I’d still be trying my hardest to sit through a
boring panel of experienced founders lowkey gloating sharing their, um, experiences.
Thankfully, alcoholic drinks were flowing by this time.
I’d be contemplating on my next best strategy, which would be to either dramatically drink so much my brain would implode and some form of superficiality could ooze out of my body, or to get the people in the room so drunk everyone leaves as each other’s best friend (also a phenomenal skill of mine), an event that would be delightfully coined and remembered as a “One Night Friend”.
Most of the time, I kind of sit back and wonder how much lovelier such networking events can really be, if everyone chooses to be a real and simple edamame, instead of trying to be this wonderful pake (pie + cake — it’s real) coated in impossibly thick frosting.
I wouldn’t mind an actual pake now, though.