Last night I received a message from a connection that read, “Bob; Good day. We spoke a couple of years ago about possible synergies. I want to speak with [one of your connections] about possible joint venture opportunities given our similar investment banking backgrounds. I was wondering if you could introduce me to [name]? Not a recommendation, simply a referral.”
I didn’t recall the connection, so I looked further back in Messaging and found our last transaction. It read, “Bob: I apologize for [blowing you off] a client call came up. I had a chance to think about our pre-holiday conversation. I don’t see a lot of synergies in our businesses for referrals. I think I will say best of luck!”
I had been ghosted. Not only that; my connection’s message reeked with arrogance and was poorly written. The good thing about this transaction almost a year ago was that it gave me the idea to write an article called, When ghosting is just plain wrong and invited him to read it. Apparently it made no effect on him.
From this intrusion last night, I decided to remove him from my network without guilt. I’m not one to act on impulse; it takes some thought before dumping someone from my network. But his bold request without apology for ghosting me in the past made it all so easy.
I call rudeness one of the reasons to remove someone from your network. To some this might seem a bit harsh on my part, but I believe making a request to introduce you to another LinkedIn member requires etiquette. How do I know this person won’t be as rude to my connections? I don’t.
In a poll I conducted yesterday, one of 1,533 who’ve voted called me “petty” for dumping this person from my network. Others asked if it was fair of me for not helping him. Check out what others are saying to: “Have you removed someone from your network?”Tweet
Here are other reasons why you shouldn’t feel guilty for removing connections from your network in no particular order.
Stalking and sexual harassment
It is unforgivable to stalk someone on a regular or daily basis regardless of gender. You wouldn’t want this to take place at work or in your daily life. Are you getting the sense that someone is following your every move on LinkedIn? Why should you put up with this on LinkedIn or any social media, for that matter? You shouldn’t.
Lately I’ve been seeing a prevalence of inappropriate advances toward my fellow female LinkedIn members. The offenders making the advances are mostly not in their victims’ networks; but if they are they should not only be removed, they should also be reported to LinkedIn.
My valued connection, Shelly Elsliger, has made it her mission to prevent bullying on LinkedIn. She started a #decidetobekind campaign, of which I’m a member. (I have my blue wristband.) You’ve experienced bullying if, for example, you’ve been abused verbally on LinkedIn or someone has spread damaging rumors about you.
My experience with bullying came in the form of someone who started off harmless enough until his rhetoric became increasingly more aggressive. It got to the point where he took pot shots at my LinkedIn profile saying my profession is trivial. Another connection of mine experienced the same behavior from him. We dumped him from out networks.
This is unforgivable. I’ve heard from valued connections about how the resumes they wrote for clients were duplicated by other resume writers. There have also been bloggers who have seen their writing show up on another blog without their permission, me included.
Universities would expel students who plagiarized. What makes it acceptable for professionals to do the same? Nothing. If I am going to include someone’s article on my blog, I will ask their permission and give them attribution for their work.
More on ghosting
Ghosting has been a hot topic as of late. Andrew Seaman, senior editor at LinkedIn, thought it was so important a topic that he interviewed me for an article. I said to him that ghosting goes both ways; job candidates get ghosted and hiring authorities get ghosted. It’s never right to do this to another person.
If you are a job seeker and a recruiter who you’re connected with doesn’t get back to you when they said they would, hold off on dumping them from your network. Give it multiple efforts of trying to reach said person before pulling the trigger. Being busy is not a reason for ghosting someone in the hiring process, either way.
Bait and Switch
This type of connection is short lived with me and other LinkedIn members. They will invite you to their network, and once you have accepted, or maybe after two correspondences, will show their true colors. They will ask for a phone conversation to discuss possible synergy. The bait and switch.
I recall one person who she wanted to collaborate on possible clients. She asked me to meet on Skype. No sooner had I joined here for the session, she asked me to go to a website for selling hygienic products for men and women. To make matters worse, I put aside valuable time to meet with this person.
Not part of your networking plan
Is your network comprised of like-minded people? I’m not talking only about people who do the type of work you do and in the same industry. I’m also talking about people in other industries where you share similar interests.
You might wonder why it’s important to have like-minded people. The answer is simple; the best way to help your audience is by understanding their interests so you can lead them to opportunities, provide the advice they need, and share valuable information.
My network consists of people in career development, bloggers, marketing, social media, education, and others of whom share my interests. I also have people of dissimilar interests who might be interested in reading my career advice.
Writing negative comments
Do you have a connection or two who criticizes employers, write about politics or religion, and otherwise embarrasses themselves? This kind of rhetoric is draining on me. And I wonder if remaining connected to what I call angry connections makes me guilty by association.
I have been very close to dumping one of my connections because of the negativity he spewed on LinkedIn. Others in my network agreed that this person needed to “reign it in.” He was hurting himself in his job search. What made me not remove him from my network is beyond me.
Similar to bullying, trolling is known as blatantly criticizing what most people write. Trolls pop up in the comments of LinkedIn influencers. And if the influencers try to fight fire with fire, they are no better than the trolls themselves.
Trolls can also be subtle. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been trolled. But what irks me most is when someone takes a subtle jab at my posts or articles. If you want to criticize my opinions, I welcome it as long as it’s done with respect.
You might feel the need to “prune” your network like a bush. This is similar to your connections not being part of your network but for a different reason. You might have reached your limit of 30,000 connections.
I connected with someone who told me that she first needed to remove people from her network in order to accept my invitation. LinkedIn Open Networkers (LIONs) collect connections for various reasons, so once they’ve reached the threshold, they need to offload some of them.
If I come across as a ruthless person who will drop someone from my network at a moment’s notice, this isn’t me. I have removed no more than five LinkedIn members from my network. In the poll I conducted yesterday on this topic, some of the voters were outspoken about how unfair I was.
This said, if any of your connections have committed the above “sins,” don’t hesitate from removing them from your network. It is your right and they won’t be notified.