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THE SJSU MA DIARIES

  • Vanessa Pelen

The Social Aspect of Building Relationships


How many of you sometimes have so many thoughts, concepts, and ideas that pop into your head but you have trouble putting them into words? I know I do.


Whenever I used to be put into a social situation, I had trouble trying to express my thoughts because, well, I think too much. Sometimes my thoughts aren’t even the problem—I just don’t know what to talk about and I start to panic inside my head. Knowing that I was like this, it was difficult for me to wrap my head around networking—especially as a freshman back in 2018.


How do I even do that?


Why do I need to do that?


I was too shy to do that.


As I developed myself both personally and professionally over the years in college, I learned that networking is not just about business and it’s not always performed just so you can get something out of it.


Networking is the social aspect of building relationships. It helps you:


Make connections with other people

This in fact is the most obvious when it comes to networking. It can allow you to find something you have in common with other people. Are they alumni of your college? Are they the same major as you? Do they have the same concert plans over the weekend? Are they from the same hometown? Do they have the same aspirations as you? Start with that conversation and you will gradually make a connection.


Hone your social skills

Since you are consistently talking to people and talking about yourself, you can really improve your social skills when you network. You learn to be a better listener and a better storyteller. You learn to be more concise with what you say whether it be your elevator pitch or something funny that happened to you over the weekend. You will gradually become a little more comfortable in social settings. I’m an ambivert so I do feel for both sides. Despite this, I am a few percent more on the introvert side. Yes, my energy levels do in fact deplete when I am socializing with other people for long periods of time. To introverts out there, even if you think you can’t last a while networking, practice makes improvement.


Grow yourself

Learn about other people and share your experiences with them too. Networking helps you gain insights and wisdom from other people’s journeys. You can gain inspiration from them and figure out how you want to overcome your challenges in your own way. Growth takes place outside of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself by networking with other people, attaining knowledge from them, and sharing your own knowledge and reflections with others.


Connect within your community

Networking allows you to connect with members of your own community. You can share insights, empower each other, and support one another. Making connections within your own community can give you a sense of belonging and can even lead to close friendships.


Connect outside your community

Meeting and connecting with people outside your community is another great aspect of networking. When you connect with people outside your community, you become more open-minded and become more exposed to different views, experiences, or beliefs. You can acquire help and insights that you may not have gotten from people within your own community.



Just like you trade Instagram handles with a new friend you’ve made, don’t forget to do so with new networks you have established too. This semester, Marketing Association has partnered up with HiWave which has exposed me to an easier way to connect with people. HiWave provides people with small round stickers meant to be put on your phone, wallet, water bottle, and wherever you want—the limit is endless. With a simple tap of a phone from the new person you have networked with, you can easily share your social media or even your portfolio website link. It’s like a business card that’s always handy. If interested, you can get your own HiWave sticker for free at HiWave.co.


Networking doesn’t have to be scary. Be authentically you and participate in the social aspect of building relationships whenever you can.


Photo: Hivan Arvizu via Unsplash.