Every day we continuously build upon our strong ties. We talk to our boss, we grab coffee with a co-worker sitting next to us or go jogging with a close friend. These habits and rituals can be comforting, but they can also be restrictive only exposing us to limited ideas and ways of thinking. When we limit ourselves to interacting only with our strong ties, we prevent ourselves from the benefits of weak ties.
Weak ties is a sociology team referring to surface-level relationships or acquaintances. These are individuals we might see on Facebook, but never really talk to or get to know. They are the people in our office who work on a different accounts or the person you sit next to at your volunteer meeting but never actually engage with. When we intentionally build connections with weak ties, we expose ourselves to new things, different ways of thinking and have the opportunity to create a more dynamic and creative life.
Once you graduate college, your access to new people and new experiences can seem limited. That's why it’s essential to work on getting to know new people, trying new things and broadening your worldview. Here are a few key elements to building weak ties and expanding your network.
Look For Weak Ties You’re Interested In
A weak tie can be anyone you don't know well. Thanks to the Internet, you can now find almost every detail about a person. Look into your friends of friends, relatives or those (sometimes random) recommendations on your social networks. You can also try kickin' it old school and talk to the girl sitting by you at the coffee shop reading an interesting novel. Each of these people has the potential to add value to your network and enhance your life.
Put Your Interests Out There
Someone might have a great person for you to connect with, but they have no idea that you have anything in common. Make sure your strong ties know your interests, and what kind of people you’d like to meet. If you’re looking for a new hiking buddy or you need to meet someone who knows a few things about WordPress, let the people in your life know. It’s amazing how many people will want to help you find a connection.
Find A Reason To Connect
You don’t always need an excuse for a backyard party, but strengthening your weak ties and building your network is a really great one. Plan a get-together, and be strategic about the individuals you invite. You want to invite guests who will enjoy each other, and maybe even expand their own networks. A good house party or happy hour is a great first step in building a great relationship.
Be A Connecter
There is a very real concept called networking karma. The more people you make great connections for, the more people who are willing to connect you. If you do a great job finding survey participants for your friend at a university, they will probably return the favor and make some introductions when you’re looking for your next job.