It’s a story we’re all familiar with: a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while messages you that they want to meet up and you agree because you think it’s about time you catch up. Once you’re there though, you realize it’s a networking meeting. You’re probably thinking “A W K W A R D”, but don’t worry, we know a few ways to navigate yourself out of an impromptu networking session:
1. I don’t have the time.
Let them know that you already have a job that you do full-time, or that your studies are taking up most of your life, and that you really do not want to take time and energy away from these things.
2. It’s not you, it’s this networking thing.
You might be scared of saying no to your friend, or making them feel like they wasted all that time on you, but if they’re really your friend, trust us, they won’t be offended if you say no. Just be polite about it. Say something along the lines of “I love you, fam, and I’m glad this is going well for you, but let’s try talking about something else, yeah?”
3. Take a stand.
Let them know that you’ve firmly decided no. Cut them off, with a firm, but polite “I’m really not interested and I hope you can respect that. I wish you all the best.”
4. I’ll get back to you.
If they’re still persisting, ask them to give you their contact information and let them know that if you ever come across someone who’s interested in networking, you’ll refer them. Do NOT under any circumstance offer the contact details of any friends that may seem interested without their permission.
Be confident in turning people down, but do so with all the politeness and grace. Learn all these at John Robert Powers.