imagesI had lunch with an old friend on Friday and I realized this morning that getting together for lunch qualified as networking. I hate networking but really enjoyed lunch. What’s up with that?

Until today I thought of networking as attending events and wandering around talking to people but what I realized is that I’ve been thinking of it all wrong.

I hadn’t realized that having lunch with old friends and spring-boarding from there to meet new friends is actually more what it is all about.

This has forced me to re-examine the whole nature of networking. What is the purpose of networking? Is social networking really networking? What’s the best way of doing it? Are you always networking?

One thing at a time. Perhaps first I better figure out the purpose of networking. I trolled a few sites to figure out what other people were saying. For some reason much of what I read came down to using networks to find a job or find a customer. That seems rather crass doesn’t it?

I would prefer to think of it as building relationships and learning. Over the past two years I’ve learned an incredible amount from the people with whom I’ve networked. Along the way, I’ve met new people, some of whom I’ve done business with.

In Seth Godin parlance, I’ve been finding my tribe. Maybe if I see networking in this new way, as a way of building relationships, I won’t hate it quite as much.