And in the midst of all this, I have to wonder whether most people are populating their online networks with people they already know off-line, but not really having an existing off-line network is my problem in the first place. I also wonder about my own motives in networking; I'm always open to helping people if I can, but I've gotten every job I've ever had without connections, and I'm not marketing a business of my own. Is it coming from that fear of rejection and its flip side, wanting to feel (and see, on my computer screen) that I'm included?
Maybe I need to internalize another lesson - that networking takes time and patience, let this evolve more organically, and just relax (and not feel so needy). Or maybe there are other people who are just as ambivalent and afraid of rejection as I am, and we'll end up being part of each other's networks eventually.