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On making friends and networking

Vulnerability has turned up a couple of times in the last few days, as a way to get people on your side. Self-deprecating humor has tremendous value in business relationships. When you're planning your image, think about using your weakness to make friends.   Tq-120828-hd

Penelope Trunk: Networking Means Making Real Friends, 2012-Aug-23

You cannot connect with people if you cannot show them where you’re weak. People don’t have a capacity to care about someone who is not vulnerable. So there is no point in networking with people you won’t connect enough with to show a weak side of yourself.

The Atlantic: Why do so many pretty female comedians pretend they're ugly?, 2012-Aug-23, by Ashley Fetters

...why are we laughing at Diller and Fey for their shabbiness, their sofa dependence, and their chronically sad love lives? Why do these well-loved, impressively accomplished women invent incompetence to fuel their comedy?

Barreca, a humorist herself, puts it simply. "Women lead with their vulnerabilities," she says. "This is how we get men and other women to like us."

Humor, Barreca explains, is in itself an act of power and aggression; audiences are known to be intimidated by comedians, especially at live venues. (That's why nobody sits in the front row, she says.) "When women in are in comedy, there still needs to be a certain mitigating factor for the ferocity that goes with any kind of effective humor," Barreca says. "So if we show someone our neck, rather than our squared shoulders, we'll be more appreciated--and they'll permit us into their company."

Robert Lynch, a cultural anthropologist from Rutgers University and a part-time stand-up, agrees: "Maybe women have to go overboard with the self-deprecation because comedy can be an alpha thing," he says