I worked at a few coffee shops when I was younger. There was one - actually two, owned by the same guy - that I was most fond of: Campbell Coffee and Fred's Coffee. The guy, Fred (not his actual name), was a genius when it came to business.
There was one comment he made to me that I haven't been able to shake. I had asked him about coffee cards - you know the ones: buy ten coffees, get the next one free - and why he thought they were so popular.
"People want to belong to something."
I think about that alot these days. Whether its email newsletters or local meetups, "people want to belong to something". While we can define "something" differently, I can't shake the idea that we actually don't want to belong to something.
Or, maybe, we don't want to be labeled as belonging to something.
Networking is hard for some of us. And rethinking it as just "trying to find new humans to love" is a good start. Maybe networking is like that old coffee card - we're all just trying to find something to belong to that is better than what we have today.