There's one of two things happening here:
- You are networking in the wrong place, or
- It's not other people, it's you.
If you're at the right place, but you still feel like you're always being sold, that people aren't friendly, or you're getting into a lot of arguments with complete strangers at events: maybe it's not them, maybe it's you.
We get back what we project out to other people.
- If you think other people aren't nice, that makes you unhappy, you appear unfriendly and then only the most Pollyanna people will listen to you complain about how unfriendly everyone is. Everyone else will seem to be unfriendly because they're avoiding you and your grumpy face.
- When you're only there to try to sell other people, no one will stick around long enough to develop any type of relationship and you'll probably get their sales pitch before they split.
- Opening the conversation with a complaint brings out the competitive nature in people and they'll respond with "Oh yeah? Listen to this!" You'll get nothing but worse and worse stories throughout the evening (because you'll have to top theirs, and so on).
- By skipping the small talk and forcefully going right to the vital causes in your life (politics, sports, religion) without establishing any rapport at all, you'll reveal three kinds of people. Those who don't want to debate the issues who will leave as soon as possible and avoid you, those who agree with you who will form a little permanent consensus cluster, and those who disagree with you (and have strong opinions themselves) who will want to convert you to their way of thinking. Then you'll have your argument.