You don’t have to have an ulterior motive to network

Go on, go ahead and RSVP to that business invite. You never know where it may lead. 

Some say that the most exhausting part of networking is -- networking itself.  Most of the time people do it the wrong way or for the wrong reasons. That's why they then see it as a task rather than an experience to enjoy. Imagine constantly trying to impress people with things that you offer, trying to make them buy your product or service. Or finding a reason why you should go out of your way to meet them? Why can’t you introduce yourself just for the simple fact of saying Hi?  

So, If you put it that way, then yes, networking may sound tedious.

You can engage with others socially, just to be nice. Without trying to sell them something or expect something in return. But-- Isn’t that a waste of time or expended effort?

Networking builds friendship and to build a friendship you must develop a certain level of comfort with the people you engage with. After all, they are interviewing you and sizing you up and down just as much as you do, them.

One of the most admirable traits of my husband is that he connects with people easily. He is very interested in their stories and genuinely listens to what’s going on in their world. I found that he does this naturally and cultivates a strong bond between the people he networks with. He looks to offer of himself first, before ever thinking of what he can get in return. People he meets see this quality straight away, let their guard down and connect with him instantly. 

This trait hit a nerve, watching him networking without trying, and building genuine friendships in the process. (He also finds out a lot more of what is going on than I do)

 Following his example, I found it easier to engage if I really put myself into the conversation. I can spend a few minutes (or hours) exchanging stories, gain a new friend and end up learning a new thing or two. Win, win!

I have also found that doing small favors without asking anything in return genuinely makes an impact on people, as well as allowing me to feel useful. When someone asks  a work related how-to kind of question, I usually have that written in a guide somewhere and happy to share. Simple, no strings attached.

So, to answer your question, no, it’s not a waste of time. Because these friendships/connections/relationships that you are just starting, evolve over time. Worst case scenario, it is a case of swinging doors in each others lives and at best, potentially a new GOOD friend you make.

You will be surprised how many new friends, or valuable connections and yes even  business opportunities can come knocking on your door through these strong bonds that you create without really trying.

Go on, go ahead and RSVP to that business invite. You never know where it may lead.