Why is it that the very skills that make us so adept at navigating the social and professional worlds fall apart the minute a whiff of potential sexual tension enters the arena?
The very skills that have us put a table of folks at ease seem trite or insufficient when meeting a new 'prospect'.
Recently, after much prodding by my kid and my family, I agreed to get back into the dating world.
I was mortified to uncover that... I avoid connecting! I'm like a feral chipmunk at the end of your deck... willing to eat the food you leave out but not if it means getting close enough to be petted. (grin)
I'm puzzling through if there really is a difference in connecting, regardless of intent. There shouldn't be. Mentoring and networking are just like dating.
While I try and see everyone I meet as a potential friend, I suppose folks might see that as a consolation prize vs. a place to start? :-)
It goes back to removing the transaction from the connection. If you can surpress the urge to shout "Take Me!" when creating a connection of any sort - professional, personal or 'really' personal - then you can forge a bond (or not) before moving forward.
Some folks may argue that biology hinders us when applying networking principles to the dating arena. However, if my dates can conquer their urge to bonk dinner over the head and cook it over open flame on a first meet/greet, then I can overcome my urge to hide behind a rock or run away. I can have a conversation and see what happens without trying to steer the course of the universe.
I am allowed, however, to remember that I really am the Reluctant Networker!