You may have learned to keep to yourself and say very little while you were incarcerated. Or you may have been taught this behavior as a child. You may even feel embarrassed to ask for help.

But the world runs on relationships, and networking is a life skill that can help you and others. Now that you’re trying to start over, whether it’s finding a job, figuring out the bus route, or looking for a place to stay, you need to reach out and talk to people. Someone you know may be able to help you. You may be able to help someone else in your network.

We’re social creatures by nature--it’s how the world works. So start talking to people. Let them know a little about you and what you’re trying to do or what you need. For example, you may find that if you let people know you’re looking for a job, they know of one, or they know of someone else who knows of one. Keep track of your network. Ask for business cards and makes notes on them about where you met and why the person is interesting. You may also want to print up your own cards to exchange.