Many people feel an aversion towards “networking” because it feels too forced. If this is how you feel about networking, then maybe it’ll make it easier if you just think about it as meeting people rather than “networking”. Networking doesn’t have to be about wanting to get something from the people you meet, you can make it about either helping the people you meet, or even just making friends for its own sake. In fact, I find that the latter two are often the best ways to think about networking. Meet people, see what you can do to help them, and then just see what other opportunities may come up in the future.
I’ve always been pleasantly surprised by how friendly other foreigners living in China are, and how willing they are to just strike up a conversation. If nothing else, you always one have thing in common: that you are both living in a foreign land. So one great way to expand your social or business network is simply to strike up conversations with a lot of people. You simply never know what will come of it, be it a long-term, close friendship or a long-term business relationship that wasn’t even conceived of when you first met.
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