LinkedIn Request From the Past-Take It or Leave It?

by Stella Fayman on June 30, 2011

This morning I got a LinkedIn request from a vaguely (and I mean very vaguely) familiar name. I can’t tell you how much it irks me to get LinkedIn requests from people I don’t know, but I decided to follow my hunch and investigate this individual.

Upon seeing her picture, I began to remember meeting her once a few years ago. At a career fair. She was in a power suit, a big smile on her face, and pearls around her neck. I was a meek college senior, with no idea what to do with my life and defaulting to that profession which is accepted by many, many Northwestern students: consulting.

I remember approaching her booth shyly and looking at her with fervent admiration. She was a consultant at Bain, a place that conjured up images of thunder, lightning, and excellence. I worked up the courage to talk to her…something about admiring her shoes and how I aspired to work at Bain. She gave me a quick smile of pity and flicked me away as if I was a fly in her face. I managed to get a business card out of her before ducking away to let the next aspiring idiot in.

She never returned my follow up emails (obviously). So I moved on.

Thankfully I found my try calling (entrepreneurship) and have been working on some cool stuff (go FeeFighters! go Entrepreneurs Unpluggd!) since my college years. So seeing this LinkedIn invite sent me spiraling back to my insecure formative years.

It looks like now this girl also has a startup and most likely just wanted to network. Well guess what? If you treat me crappily in the past, there is a very low likelihood I will jump to help you in the future. When tables have turned, it’s important to realize every interaction you have forms the basis of a relationship with a person, no matter how fleeting the interaction.

Which takes me to my life motto: treat everyone the way you’d want to be treated. If this girl had been just a tad nicer and more responsive (obviously I don’t expect much from her…it’s a career fair) maybe I would be more inclined to accept her LinkedIn request right now.

What would you do? Be a bigger person and move on…or treat someone the way they treated you?

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  • Gman

    What irks me honestly is when people complain about getting LinkedIn requests from people they ‘Don’t Know’ when they can set up their LinkedIn account to only accept requests from people that at least know their email address. Which to me, doesn’t make sense to do on a networking site, but there you go. It’s easy to find blogs where people are on networking sites that complain about people asking them to network. But you can certainly set up LinkedIn to only allow your ‘inner circle’ of address book contacts to connect with you, if you are of that persuasion.

  • Josh Tsui

    be the bigger person, you will always win

    • Tim Jahn

      Well said, Josh. Love it. 🙂

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