I feel like network should be more noun than verb. I get on better with people at professional events who are just being people (not collecting them).
Do I want to grow my network? Yes yes, of course. I want an upward career trajectory, and to grow the audience for the things I make. I want to meet interesting people and learn from them. But I’ve always tried to build my network without inflicting networking on other people.
I tune out as soon as the pitch starts. You can hear it coming. Who wants that? I don’t want that. I don’t want your business card. I don’t want to hear the pitch. I probably don’t even want you to have my business card.
Let’s just be people.