Not long ago a message appeared in my e-mail inbox:


LinkedIn suggests we may know each other. Must be because of the mutual relationships. Would be glad to invite you to Link In if useful to you.

LinkedInIntrigued, I searched the sender’s name and discovered that we did indeed have a few connections in common. I should note, have a personal policy of restricting my social networks to people I know personally. Normally I would have ignored the unsolicited message, but because our common connections are individuals I respect and count as some of my most trusted colleagues, I responded and tried to build rapport.


Thanks for your note. I don’t believe we have met, so it must be a result of the friends we have in common. I’m pretty close to —. How do you know them?

Oddly this was the response I got:


If you saw my profile on LinkedIn, and it’s not useful to you …. for me to have reached out, we can just drop it.

Happily, I’ll do just that, but first let’s consider what can be learned from this exchange.