There's a lot of things we were never warned about when it comes to adulthood: how confusing taxes are, the proper technique for cooking rice, the fact that acne doesn't go away just because you're no longer a teenager.
But one of the biggest shocks has been how freaking hard it is to meet people as an adult. After all, you've heard it a million times - networking is the key to success, no matter what it is you do.
Unfortunately, even after majoring in communications for three years before switching majors at the last minute, we're still not great at mixin' it up with other professionals in seemingly random settings. This is especially painful when doing this on your own.
That's where Shapr comes in handy.
Shapr is the app that takes the headaches and awkwardness out of networking for the sake of networking.
Shapr's the app that takes the headaches and awkwardness out of networking for the sake of networking.
There's no more standing in a room full of people you've never met, leaving your business cards on tables, and trying to make a lasting an impression without coming off as a complete and total weirdo.
Shapr helps you build a web of individuals with whom you can exchange ideas, advice, tips and tricks, with no transactional strings attached, because, let's face it, more often than not, we're networking for some end game.
Meeting people is hard. Shapr not only makes it easy, but also allows those interactions to take on whatever meaning you want. Professional, casual, strategic, whatever. It's all about making the most out the moments where you discover something or someone new.
Read on and commiserate with all of the struggles of networking alone. Then, download Shapr and start taking some of the work out of networking.
1. Approaching more than one stranger just to talk to one
Not only did your mother spend your entire childhood adamantly warning you about stranger danger, but the concept of going up to a human you don't know and striking up a conversation is just straight up terrifying.
This is especially true in New York City where almost everyone is rocking a serious bitch face, which, in their defense, is completely necessary here. To make matters worse, when you go networking alone, you generally run into gaggles of people who've gone squad deep (or at least gone in pairs).
Approaching someone one-on-one is one thing, but introducing yourself to a group of three or four people who immediately dissect you, well, that's pretty overwhelming. And that's without the dubious intentions of "Okay, so what do you want from me?"
Shapr eliminates this idea by letting you match with people you're actually interested in both for what they know and what they're interested in. It's not merely transactional where you're both looking for something out of each other. Also, it's not limited to a cocktail mixer.
You can meet people you match with wherever you agree to go. It doesn't have to be a bar, or a hotel ballroom cleared out for high top tables and not-so-great coffee, but it could be.
2. Movies/TV shows are wildly unrealistic
Every single rom-com set in NYC will lead you to believe that people meet serendipitously on the streets of New York every single day. That's not how people meet, and that's not how you should approach networking solo.
You shouldn't take a lap around the room expecting to just make that one connection that will forever change the direction and destiny of your professional life.
And no, don't go around altering hallway blackboards like Matt Damon in Goodwill Hunting (terrible title btw), and no, don't bring around a Rubix cube in the event some kind of hotshot broker wants you to solve it while you foot the bill for his cab ride like in Pursuit of Happiness.
Also, don't go crazy with your business cards. Gone are the days (if they were ever actually there) when people sat around a conference room table fawning over one another's business cards like in American Psycho.
Then again, if you're using anything from that movie to inform any decision you make in your professional life, you're already doing it wrong.
3. Internet safety blanket go bye bye
Unfortunately, while the internet has connected us in unimaginably incredible ways, we're kind of losing that human touch. The transactional approach to meeting new people only compounds that struggle.
Whether we're using apps for dating or finding a new roommate, we've become a little too comfortable with the idea that we're only going to interact with someone offline either by accident or because we need them for some reason.
Then we go into a networking situation on our own where there are hundreds of people doing essentially the same thing, we enter the situation like a robot, or, worse, we are too uncomfortable with our interpersonal skills to make any interaction with anybody at all not exceedingly strange.
And while the context of those interactions is still important, the transactional coldness of meeting someone for the sake of getting something out of them is gone. Shapr isn't just for people looking to get ahead by kicking ass and taking names.
It's for people who want to connect with someone for some end that leaves them a changed, well-rounded individual. You know, like a fully functional human being. Networking shouldn't feel so stilted. It should feel like meeting people. It should feel natural.
4. Checking yourself
It's a real thing.
When you go networking on your lonesome, you don't have anyone other than the new people you meet to tell you that your breath is rank, your collar is ruffled in a weird way that only someone else can help you fix―the potential for misery is endless.
There's tremendous safety in numbers.
5. "Networking events" are actual hell, solo or not
The majority of the time, these types of events feel forced, cheesy, and are just plain miserable.
Our carefully thought-out business cards are clamped in your sweaty palms, yet you just feel so awkward you can't bring yourself to hand them out to anyone. And holyfudgenuggets, you just noticed a typo.
You now have to spend the rest of the evening listening to people who are way more qualified than you without anything to show for yourself, before it's finally over and you escape to eat tacos in the peace and safety of your bedroom.
After all, tacos will never judge you for not having Master's degree.
6. Small talk is even smaller alone
Is there anything more cringe-worthy than an awkward round of obligation small talk? Ugh.
No. No, there is not. Even if you have no qualms about the person you're talking to, it's just always sort of uncomfortable.
It's like we're programmed to talk about the weather, and that talk comes so naturally, nobody even bothers to mention that it has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation you're maybe building towards.
Pair that with not having a sidekick to defer to in those moments of awkward silence, well, you're doomed.
7. The regret of wasted time
Let's be honest: this is New York, the majority of us are working a survival job while hustling towards what we actually want to be doing on the side.
Hence the reason why 99% of all waiters look like an extra on Gossip Girl. (That's more of a sweet science than a hard math rule, either way, it's 100% true and factual, so there you go.)
At any rate, you have that dare-to-be-great moment of inspiration, and you go to a networking event on your own hoping to make great connects, dip out in style, and change your life forever.
But then you don't meet anyone you were looking for. It all feels like a waste. You shared no common ground with anyone there other than the fact that you were both in the same room at the same time. It feels like a waste of time.
With Shapr, you match with people based on your common interests, professional or otherwise. Whatever time you put in is what you get out of it. The same can't be said of crapshoot networking events.