Join the Discussion: Building your Network vs. Enhancing Current Relationships

Photo cred: D. Sharon Pruitt

One year ago, I was just graduating college.  I had only really been networking for a few months, so it was still very new to me.

Every day, I’d meet someone new, who would introduce me to someone else, and so on…  Before I knew it, I had a healthy sized network of trusted professionals that I could turn to.  Many of them have became close friends over time.  Others not so much.

The problem is that all connections, even those connections that you have become so close with, can fall out of touch over time.  There are a number of reasons for this happening…

  1. We all have jobs to do which means less time to “catch up”.
  2. As our networks grow, we can’t commit as much time to keeping up with current connections.
  3. The worst reason but one that needs to be addressed: You just don’t need those people as much as you used to.
  4. Sometimes you just go different ways.  It happens with friends too.

It happens, but I don’t like it.  I feel terrible some days when I see someone cross my twitter feed and realize how long it’s been since I’ve spoken to them.

I understand that it happens…but I also feel like I can do more to enhance my current connections, instead of focusing only on expanding my network.

Have you faced this dilemna?  Please, share your thoughts in a comment.

You can also join us for a full discussion on this topic at the #u30pro chat on Thursday (May 27th) at 8pm est on twitter.

6 thoughts on “Join the Discussion: Building your Network vs. Enhancing Current Relationships

  1. I think we grow and if we acknowledge that, people are understanding. I did end up with someone very angry at me who was older, and thus in the workplace before me. She got busy. I understood. But then when I got busy, I got all kinds of hateful messages. I hadn’t heard from her in months and because I am not available the one day she is, I’m a horrible friend? On the other hand, I have other good friends who hope to see me in town, but really we’re in a comfortable place where a note here and there suffices.

    Professionally, it might be a bit different. I think if you have a mentor available to you, you’re probably going to stay in touch longer than perhaps a coworker you liked to go to happy hour with. You’re going to be more picky as well, wanting those meaningful people who you know will email you back if it’s been a couple years.

    1. Thanks for sharing Emily. It can definitely vary on a a case by case basis. I have a good friend from school that’s always bugging me that I don’t come visit him. (He shouldn’t have moved to Ohio!). I really want to, but it’s just hard with all the work related things I have going on.

      Professionally you’re right, there are different kinds of relationships. You’ll stay in touch with a mentor a lot longer than a random person you met at a conference for 5 mins in most cases.

  2. I agree with number 2 especially. With the overwhelming size of networks emphasized through social networking and the people we meet day-to-day, there’s no way a person can keep up with that many contacts. Even if you have 100 awesome people that you want to stay in touch with, a person can only commit so much time to maintaining relationships.

    It definitely is not a good feeling. I moved from Chicago to Texas and my network of professionals and close friends I clung to is slowly dying out because it’s a lot of work to maintain relationships the right way.

  3. David, I find I do this WAY too often. My life and work have taken all my engagement and blogging time away thus far this year. Thankfully I got to have that call with you that one day…but it’s surely not as much as I’d like.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about priorities and values. You’ve got to spend your time with the people and projects of highest importance to you. That’s what really matters…from there, it’s all gravy.

    Oh, and by the way, let’s have another chat again soon!

    @JasonSprenger

  4. I have to agree with Jason, it is really important to keep in touch and keep throwing lines out to those who matter the most to you and the projects that are highest on your priority list.

    I am a recent college graduate and I hear it all the time “Networking! Networking! Networking!” But it seems that it is an insane juggling act and although I am on my way to forming an awesome list of contacts and such, I wonder how to maintain all of these relationships. It seems nearly impossible.

    I try to keep in touch as frequently as I can though. I devote some time each week to catching up with people or shooting them an email or note to let them know I am thinking of them. Esp. those who are really important to me outside of the networking world.

    Great discussion.

    Best,

    Hannah Katy

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