Neither am I. Although it’s generally advised to only connect with those you already know on LinkedIn, some of us benefit from keeping more of an open door policy and giving others a chance to express why they are interested in connecting with you. During the course of networking, encountering those with a PUA (pick-up artist) mentality becomes almost inevitable and, consequently, one doesn’t have to search very hard to find people speaking out about others acting unprofessionally on LinkedIn (see here, here, here, and here).
It’s not uncommon for debates to ensue regarding the impossibility of preventing others from seeking dates on LinkedIn. Those who deal with unwanted suitors are then asked, “Why don’t you just ignore, report, block and be done with it?” Yes, it only takes a few seconds here and there, but it all adds up to time wasted. Time, as you know, is a precious commodity as it can never be regained. Furthermore, as Meghan Casserly points out in this post, women are more inundated with date requests than men are on social networking sites. As someone who is only interested in using LinkedIn in a strictly professional capacity, I sympathize.
Attempts to shout down and bring an end to the actions of other people often encounters resistance and quickly goes nowhere. We must also recognize that some people seeking dates on LinkedIn may be desperate or insane and, hence, can’t or won’t recognize when to stop (even if LinkedIn were to set official rules against using the site to find dates). Clamoring for customizable spam content filters might be the way to go instead (giving added benefits of screening out other varieties of unwanted messages). The latter would allow us, from the first message and onward, to filter out people who use the usual “red flag” phrases:
- Do you have more pictures/photos to share with me?
- You have a beautiful smile.
- Various commentary signalling that they scrutinized your profile picture
I am all for individual freedom but I recognize when one person’s freedom infringes upon another’s. The solution I propose allows unwanted suitors to waste their own time sending messages that I will never see! Until the day steps are taken to address this issue however, my advice is to cut off communication as soon as it becomes apparent that you have an unwanted suitor (refer to the “red flag” phrases above). Extended communication only facilitates attachment and raised expectations for further communication. Though this is obvious to many, having been a late bloomer socially, I say this to benefit those for whom this is not already obvious.
That said, I couldn’t care less if a couple of people hit it off on LinkedIn and decide to become an item. I, like many others out there, would just like NOT to be stopping point along the way of those trying to find that special someone on LinkedIn. Let’s face it. It’s a waste of time for them as well.