When to Unfriend a LinkedIn Connection

Unfriend LinkedIn Connection

by Donna Svei on January 9, 2014

When should you unfriend a LinkedIn connection? Almost never. I have only had cause to remove/delete two people since I joined LinkedIn several years ago.

 Who and Why

The first was a U.S. national who kept sending me messages about finding him jobs in the Middle East. Over and over. I don’t recruit for any clients in the Middle East and I don’t recruit in his field or industry. I told him this. The messages continued.

I wrote a snarky blog post about someone who behaved just like himprobably definitely the funniest post I’ve ever written. However, I started feeling bad about having written a snarky post about another incredibly annoying human being and took it down. I disconnected from him. He stopped sending me messages.

The second was a person who was scraping my content and reposting it online. I asked him to stop scraping. He didn’t. I reported him to Google as a content scraper and disconnected from him on LinkedIn. I don’t like unrepentant content scrapers.

That’s it. Unfriending can be a bridge burning act of rejection. I save it for egregious behavior.

An Alternative to Unfriending

I do, however, hide people from my LinkedIn Pulse stream if I don’t find their posts useful. They don’t know I’ve hidden them. I keep my stream interesting to me. We both benefit from being able to contact each other through LinkedIn and from sharing our networks. It’s all good.


Consider hiding before you unfriend. Don’t make frenemies you don’t need.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at donnasvei@gmail.com or call me at (208) 721-0131.

Image: © Arto – Fotolia.com

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Bernard January 10, 2014 at 10:28

The only time I disconnect from someone is when I figure out that there sole purpose for connecting with me was to blast irrelevant marketing InMail messages to me everyday. These people typically have 0 or 1 connection, invite you to connect in sets of threes (like three people all with the first name starting with the same letter). Besides that, I almost never disconnect with people.

Hi Kathy,

Thank you for this. I mark those people as spam. That seems to keep them away too.

Good to see you!


Joe Hertvik March 9, 2014 at 20:20

There may be other reasons for removing a LinkedIn connection, but I seldom use them. The problem with removing a LinkedIn connection is that it’s almost like a death penalty that should be used sparingly. It’s permanent from their end, they won’t know they’ve been removed, and they won’t be able to reinstate another connection with you: you’re the only one who can reinstate the connection.

So I usually think long and hard before removing someone. You never know when you’ll need to be connected again.

As you said, it’s much easier to hide their status updates so you don’t get plagued with updates from the Uber LinkedIn poster. It’s much easier to add someone back when you need to see what they are posting nd there isn’t that air of finality that you get with removing a user.

Good post.

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