Last night I rather spontaneously went to a gathering of chicks I've never met, who work in technology. A big step for me - I hate going to social things by myself. Once I get started, I'm fine, but the thought of walking into a room full of people I don't know and then starting a random conversation with them scares the life out of me. My usual style is to take a wingman/woman and spend the entire time with them, which I realise defeats the object of networking but is infinitely less scary.
Anyway I decided to give it a go and promised myself a swift exit if my courage deserted me. It's the initial bit - the 'hi, I'm Zuzula, who are you then?' bit that brings me out in a cold sweat. Especially when everyone else is already happily chatting and you're interrupting a conversation. I have hung around hopelessly on the sidelines before now, unable to enter the fray.
Pathetic, I know - which is exactly why I ended up in a Soho bar last night, clutching a glass of white wine while women around me chattered on about their latest technology start-up ventures. I was on the verge of giving up on the whole thing after just ten minutes (I really am that crap) when I was rather fortuitously rescued by one of the token three men in the room. I have long believed that I get on better with boys than girls - perhaps an unconscious rebellion against my single sex education - and this to me proved my point.
The Chap and I chatted away happily but, as is always the case, word was spreading about where I work, and before long I was mobbed by a couple of publicity hungry scavengers and torn away from my comfort zone once more. The Chap left shortly afterwards but not before pressing his personal business card into my hand, having already given me the company one. It was all very flattering - even if I am inevitably going to have to send him in your direction, Ms Confuddled ;)
After he left though, I met some other truly lovely people - some who are definitely going to be contacts and others who I hope may also become friends. I am determined to force myself to do these things more often - ultimately, it's good for the soul. Although hopefully next time I won't find myself chatting to a cheerful techie (her opening gambit was that she doesn't know how to make conversation, must remember that one) only to realise that a former fling is standing right behind her, taking photos. What the hell?
That was a shock to the system and a stretched my already exhausted bravado too far. I did what any sensible lady would have done at that point - I hid.