We are NOT Friends.

by rishil on June 13, 2012

I am genuinely tired of getting linked in requests from people I don’t know or have never spoken to.

linked in

Lets get one thing right:

OK so linked in doesn’t make it easy for you to connect to people and “friends” is the easiest option to connecting to someone. But using just the generic message to reach out? No.

We are not friends!

We are not Friends! Source: Reddit

But it gets worse!

You know what is worse than the “I‘d like to add you to my professional network“?

XYZ has indicated you are a Colleague at Bullshit Company Never Heard Off Limited.


ABC has indicated you are a person they’ve done business with at Another Bullshit Company Never Heard Off Limited

Connecting me to you using either one of those two options is basically fraud. You are indicating that I am connected to you in some way professionally in real life. It is a lie. Stop it.

It should be easy

If you want to reach out to me and connect, here are a few things you could try:

  1. Speak to me on twitter. It is fairly easy. Even a polite “Mate do you mind if I connect with you on linked in?”
  2. Use the “friend” option, but customise your message with:
    • How you know me
    • Why you would like to connect
    • Who you are!

It is that simple. Stop spamming people on linked in  its supposed to be a professional network, not a Facebook type popularity contest.

As you were.

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Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Lyndon Antcliff June 13, 2012 at 9:13 am

It’s not the method of wording which bothers me, it’s more the intent and quality of the person who is doing the contacting.

Nearly all my contacts have happened through the very same method with sends you into an angry rage. I couldn’t give a toss as long as the people connecting make it worthwhile.

I don’t know anyone who hits up on Twitter first. I wouldn’t want people to have to jump such hoops to simply connect.

But I hear what you are saying about spam.


Yousaf June 13, 2012 at 9:23 am

I think LinkedIn should do a better job at “screening” invites, that is where half of the problem is.


Rhys June 13, 2012 at 9:39 am

I had somebody (a recruitment consultant) add me as a friend on LinkedIn.

I suggested things that friends do – go for a beer, watch a movie, that sort of stuff. They declined.

With friends like that, who needs enemies?


rishil June 13, 2012 at 9:52 am

Screenshots or it didnt happen!


Andrew Isidoro June 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

@ Rhys – This will now me my standard response! Love it!


Peter Handley June 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

I’ll admit, I sometimes take the lazy option you describe here and just press the “friend” button, though nearly always with people that I actually have met. I guess I know I should change the message around a bit, but I usually think “they know me, it’ll be fine”.

That said, I do like it when I receive more personalised messages, so I should learn from those examples.

The amount of recruitment agents that want to be my “friend” though, irritates the hell out of me


damian June 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

I find the report spam option to be immensely pleasureable – afterall, they’re probably going to try to sell me something I don’t want, anyways


IrishWonder June 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

Been through this countless times. Sometimes rather than connect request they just send their spammy offers through the LinkedIn mail system.


Jane Copland June 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

As anyone who has the misfortune to follow me on Twitter knows, it’s the recruiters who get to me. They blatantly ignore all contact settings, and often word their contact requests to sound like you *owe* them your time.

Then there was this gem: http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/330636_10100256654763863_1800915960_o.jpg

Not specifically via LinkedIn, but that company had bothered me on there before. They then had the balls to email me, saying “you hadn’t been subject to a mass mail to thousands of people. The two mails you received were similar, but had relevant content for any well respected search community member.”

If that only qualifies as *similar* in your book, I hope that detecting duplicate content is not part of your job…

They also managed to grossly underestimate the number of times they’d spammed me. FFS. GO AWAY.


Joff June 13, 2012 at 10:07 am

For me, LinkedIn just doesn’t work as a networking tool as it implies you know or have met the other person.

There should be another option on their site when “adding to a professional network”, something along the lines of “I don’t know you, but I think that our businesses would mutually benefit from talking to each other”.

All of these downright (LinkedIn-enforced) lies make the inviter look like a moron and the invitee angry.


Joanna Butler June 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

Agree with Joff to a certain extent – I think LinkedIn’s priorities simply don’t lie in improving the social side or user experience. There are some core things they seem to refuse to focus on. A redesigned group page would help them… improved spam filters… better verification of who people are… better connection with other platforms to provide a better professional resume… etc.

But back to the contact requests. Rishi, I had the same moan about this a couple of months ago. Recruiters, fake profiles of link building companies, you name it. I absolutely frickin’ hate the standard message, but I’m a hypocrite when I’m tired and can’t think of something better. I usually at least edit the message with the person’s name and a brief unique opener, though.

LI just won’t get round to improving this. They are too focused on generating revenue and are no longer passionate about the core offering. IMO.


Alessio Madeyski June 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

I share all the comments against recruiters. I even talked on my blog once: http://www.alessiomadeyski.com/recruiters-you-are-doing-it-wrong/ :)

LinkedIn is annoying really. OK, I don’t have 72 people who wants to connect with me, but the standard message really annoys me and let me down. Why? Because someone could use that message to say something funny or simply be REAL.

I wrote once on twitter: if you want to connect on linkedin, at least write me “I want to connect because you’re a jerk”. But at least it’s something real.

I admit I used the standard message sometimes, but now I tend not to anymore for the reasons above.


Jane Copland June 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

Agree with Joanna on how LinkedIn feels nowadays – like they are more focused on revenue than on the core offering. Seems a little cart-before-the-horse at the moment.


Liam @ Zaddle June 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Yep – get these requests all the time

And every single one gets reported as spam – (I am under the assumption that LinkedIn has a low spam reporting threshold but I may have dreamed this).

Even worse is when I get asked by “connections” to give them a full blown testimonial, despite the fact I have never used their services #awkward


Matt June 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm


I use LinkedIn as a Rolladex that keeps itself unto date, I used to do a lot of networking on groups but the spam and BS that was sent my way would of taken me a week to filter through.

LinkedIn should get a grip on this, they don’t seem to be doing a lot of listening.



Michael J. Kovis June 13, 2012 at 2:49 pm

While I agree with the many of the points made here in the comments, I do disagree that it is solely LinkedIn’s fault. I believe it lies within the user because they lack the knowledge on how to use social networks properly and productively.

Much like most of us understand proper table manners, there is such a thing as social networking manners. The majority of the users lack that. They don’t realize there is such a thing because they don’t understand how to effectively and properly use the social network to create new connections.

I receive tons of these generic “network requests” every month. Sometimes I respond, sometimes I don’t. I believe from now on I will just reply with a link to this post. Especially when they add me as a friend and use the generic message. :-)

A little bit of education can go a long way.


iPullRank June 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Amen to this.

*sends Rishi LinkedIn request*


Geoff June 13, 2012 at 9:36 pm

This is great. Linkedin doesn’t bother nearly as much as Facebook – Although the requests from really spammy folks do bother me, even on Linkedin.

Also, I love that you incorporated Stephen Colbert.


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