Attending an Event When You’re Feeling Anti-Social

Posted February 28, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Networking Buzz

Whether you’re the kind of person who loves networking or hates it, someone who adores getting dressed up to go to an event or one who wishes she could stay at home in her sweats, we all have days where the last thing we want to do is strap on our networking shoes and head to a big event. Even for someone like me, who usually loves networking and thrives off of it, these days are inevitable.

I had one of those days last weekend when my husband, some friends, and I had tickets to TEDx Windy City. I’ve wanted to attend a TEDx event for a very long time. I fall asleep nearly every night listening to TED Talks. You’d think, then, that I’d jump out of bed Saturday morning ready to TED out! Wrong! After a very busy week including a fantastic Career Girl Network Sweatworking event in Chicago, and many, many meetings, all I wanted to do was catch up on my sleep. Instead of staying home, though, I went, and just felt a bit anti-social all day. But that’s OK.

So what do you do at an event if you’re just having one of those anti-social days? There are ways to get value from the event even on a low energy day:

  • Focus on learning. We go to many events to meet people, to hand out business cards, and to make relationships. Instead, when you feel anti-social, look for opportunities at an event to learn rather than connect.
  • Take time to reflect. Especially if you’re attending a professional development event or a conference, there’s often little time to reflect on what you’re learning because instead, you’re networking between sessions. Take the time to sit quietly, read, journal, and reflect on your learning from the day.
  • Have one or two targets. Meeting new people can be exhausting when you’re exhausted, so instead of getting in the quantity mode, get into quality mode. Check out Facebook and Twitter for the event and see if there are any key individuals attending you’d like to meet. Take time to seek them out and develop a meaningful connection.
  • Take a pal with you. On Saturday, when I felt tired and a bit sick, I was so glad to have my husband and one of my dear friends on either side of me, both of them totally supportive of the fact that I felt 50% of my normal self.

So instead of cancelling the next time you’re just feeling anti-social, try to go and get something great no matter your mood. I did, and I had an incredible time at TEDx, and even a few breakthroughs in my thinking!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."



    This came at the perfect time! I have an event tonight that I’m feeling very “meh” about. I can definitely learn a lot just by going – no need to be super social.

    Thanks for sharing!


    I agree with the learning and trying to just connect with one or two people. Actually, that’s probably better if you meet the right individuals because you can get to know them better than just flying around a room.

    Depending on how you “reflect” at an event though, you could come across as standoffish, and that doesn’t leave a good impression.

    Unfortunately, I don’t usually have a pal to drag along, but it would definitely be helpful, especially, when one feels anti-social.

    Nice to know others feel that way at times.

    Kristen J. Zavo

    I find that attending social events is a lot like working out. Sometimes it is the last thing you want to do after a long day (or a long week!). But if you commit to just 10 minutes on the treadmill, you are likely to feel good and work out longer. In a similar way, I find that if I tell myself I only have to stay for a certain period of time, I actually end up enjoying myself and am so glad that I went.

    Thanks for your honesty, Marcy. I think everyone feels this way at times, even if they don’t own up to it!


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