I received a connection request on LinkedIn from an old friend ...
March 28, 2015 6:57 AM   Subscribe

* Special snowflake advisory *

I've had 2 close male friends my entire life (I'm a guy as well). He was one of them, we were late teens, early 20s at the time. Now its 25 years later.

Looking back on it, I'm not sure how we were such good friends. I'm 2 years older than him (not a factor now obviously). Different schools. Very different personalities. He was popular, extroverted. Me not popular, extremely introverted ... (note, not shy, but to this day introverted, diagnosed high-functioning autistic ... I know, I know, everybody is autistic nowadays.) He married his high school sweetheart. Probably has several kids by her. My life has been a series of 1-6 year relationships. No kids. We've both moved from our hometown. Looks like we live about 1000 miles apart, so there's no actual meeting going to take place.

I am not a sentimental person. I've tried and learned it doesn't work. You can't go home again. What has happened in the past in situations like this is a few email exchanges, some catching up and then its done. There's nothing more to say. I don't see the point of this.

So, I can just ignore the request or reply … what do you think?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total)
There is almost no conceivable downside to having someone as a LinkedIn contact unless you have specific reasons why you don't want that person to be able to see anything on your profile. Otherwise, screw it. Just accept the connection request and leave it at that.
posted by Etrigan at 7:01 AM on March 28, 2015 [11 favorites]

LinkedIn is not like Facebook - it's not a social site for sharing pictures and swapping stories about lives and relationship and families, it's just a professional connection.

Sure, you can ignore if you want, but it really wouldn't do any harm to accept, either - I don't see anything particularly sentimental about accepting a LinkedIn request for someone that you knew in the past. I doubt that he will be fretting and saying, "oh no, anon didn't accept my request!"

So basically, it's no pressure. If you don't care, you don't care, and should feel free to ignore.
posted by firei at 7:06 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've done this even on facebook; I have friends from college where we've done the "here's my life for the last 20ish years" via messaging and now we just see each other's statuses (or not, I guess, depending on how we have lists and stuff organized). You don't have to go back to being besties with someone to have this kind of connection with them.
posted by rtha at 7:09 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Agree that a LinkedIn connections carry no expectation of ongoing personal contact. You can ignore it and no reasonable person would notice or probably care (when I ask for connections on LinkedIn, I usually do a big batch based on recommendations it gives me), but I don't know why you would.

Unless you have some reason to not want this person to have any information about your life, accept the connection and don't think about it.
posted by jeoc at 7:14 AM on March 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, LinkedIn isn't Facebook. There's no reason not to accept the request; it doesn't mean he wants to go back to being friends.
posted by holborne at 7:15 AM on March 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

You are WAY overthinking this. Accept connection, never talk to each other, move on with your life.
posted by pravit at 7:30 AM on March 28, 2015 [12 favorites]

I thought LinkedIn was known for automatically going through your contact list and sending requests, sometimes without your knowledge. So your friend might not have even sent it.
posted by gt2 at 8:12 AM on March 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

What has happened in the past in situations like this is a few email exchanges, some catching up and then its done.

That's fine! This case, he won't even necessarily expect that much. Even so, the minimal contact is a good thing. Don't feel bad if there's not more -- you're not necessarily doing anything wrong.
posted by amtho at 8:16 AM on March 28, 2015

I don't use LinkedIn because I object to some of their practices, but I've gotten LinkedIn requests from, like, sales people who worked for companies where I'd written to ask a question about, like, whether a product was in stock. Which is to say, this ties into one of the reasons I don't like it, but one of the major ways LinkedIn encourages people to make connections is by using their email account and just trying to match everybody they've ever written to. You've previously had email exchanges. You can add him if you want, but he's probably not going to notice if you ignore it because he didn't send it deliberately to you as an individual.
posted by Sequence at 9:16 AM on March 28, 2015

LinkedIn is the one place where I'm fine with connecting to people from high school I don't expect to see again and maybe don't want to. I feel no need to re-connect beyond the invite. But it's nice to see what people are up to. I say accept and move on.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:24 AM on March 28, 2015

My simple rule for LinkedIn contacts: have I worked with this person in a business environment?

Yes = make the connection.
No = dump it.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:40 AM on March 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

Nthing everyone who is saying that LinkedIn =/= Facebook. I have a few classmates from high school or college on my LinkedIn, but that's only b/c I'm curious to see what they're doing now. He probably added you via the feature on LinkedIn that goes through all your email contacts and asks you if you would like to add them all (unless you never at any point gave him your email. Add him back if you want, though I'm sure he won't be offended if you don't add him back either.
posted by lana0112 at 11:18 AM on March 28, 2015

LinkedIn isn't Facebook. It's a professional networking tool. Nobody I know of keeps track of old friends and their marriages, kids, or life events through LinkedIn. I do know of old acquaintances I've gotten back in touch with through LinkedIn, but don't feel required to do so. I don't usually link to anyone unless there's a professional connection, since it is a professional networking site.

Absolutely feel free to respond with "Hey! Great to hear from ya! Drop me a line, my e-mail is thatguy@gmail.com" if you wish to get back in touch.
posted by jgreco at 12:07 PM on March 28, 2015

LinkedIn is not a big deal. It's possible to have some limited interactions on LinkedIn, i.e. someone can wish you congratulations on a work anniversary or leave a comment if you've gotten a new job, but generally LinkedIn is just a site that says "hey, I know this person." You don't see updates from their lives, unless they just got a new job, and you don't talk to them or share photos or anything. LinkedIn is a place where I connect to work acquaintances who I would absolutely not consider "friends." It's meant for business contacts, not close relationships.

You can accept the request and say nothing, or ignore it, and it won't matter either way. It's also worth noting that LinkedIn has a mechanism to invite all your email contacts, which people who just signed up for LinkedIn do sometimes. So it's possible the friend didn't specifically even request to add you, but that it was automatic.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:27 PM on March 28, 2015

As pretty much everyone above has said, LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It's about getting jobs, keeping track of references, and being as visible to as many potential employers as possible. So, the more "connections," the better. Accept the request & you're done. If he contacts you, well, LinkedIn's inbox system is unreliable at best. I **usually** receive an email with the message at my personal email account, but not always, & have missed out on a professional opportunity or two, which stinks. Anyways, that gives you an out, if he contacts you & you don't want to respond. I doubt he'll try a second time. You can ignore it, but if you were as close as it sounds, he will probably notice & take it personally. Is it worth possibly hurting his feelings? I'd vote no, but I know others would differ.
posted by katemcd at 7:00 PM on March 29, 2015

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