Women using LinkedIn for dating
Where can you go to find professional men to date? According to some women: LinkedIn. Professional women it would seem are increasingly using LinkedIn for dating. They are certainly using LinkedIn as part of their background research on any prospective dates. These are not the women posting sleazy, boudoir selfies in their LinkedIn update feeds. They are ordinary, busy, professional women simply tired wasting time on the normal dating sites.
We all know that online dating is a minefield. Everyone says they love travel, and pets, and music. Nobody is quite as single as they claim. In most photos, the men are posing shirtless in a bathroom mirror. And they all seem to be about 22.
LinkedIn to find love?
LinkedIn attracts a more mature professional crowd than most dating sites and 56% of members are men, which makes it promising hunting ground for women who have grown out of their partying phase. “Even if you sign up to several dating sites you see the same profiles over and over,” notes Lucy*, 34, who estimates she’s had about a dozen dates since she started checking out LinkedIn for partners a year ago. “With LinkedIn, you can find men who might not be interested in signing up for a dating site.” She claims that she works long hours and is too busy to spend valuable time trawling through dating sites and then going on unsuccessful, mis-matched dates.
Lucy starts by making a professional connection. She is very clear that her approach is not cheesy or inappropriate. “I usually message them asking a question about how they managed some career achievement, like a huge project they’ve mentioned in their bio. Then if they’re responsive to that, I ask if we could meet for a networking coffee.” She sees it as a win-win situation: “If we get on well, then the coffee turns into another meeting or even a date. If not, then I’ve still got some career advice and a network contact.”
There’s even a new app, BeLinked, which allows you to search through LinkedIn by specific criteria such as location, essentially turning it into a Tinder-style database.
Most people tell the truth on their LinkedIn profile, since there are real-life repercussions to describing yourself as the managing director when you’re actually a shift supervisor. The photos are reasonably accurate and you can even check their income on Glassdoor, although height is obviously a variable that still can’t be verified.
If you have any doubts, LinkedIn users go by their real name instead of an online nickname, making it easy to do a quick background check. Before approaching a man, Lucy says she usually looks for him on Facebook or Twitter, allowing her to find out more about his personality – and check that he isn’t married.
Is this any different to meeting someone at a professional face to face networking event and hoping a relationship might develop? Is this strategic or inappropriate? Some would say, even though none of it is cheesy, it is the latter.
Seeking love through LinkedIn
Despite the practical advantages to seeking love through LinkedIn, Lucy seems to be in the minority. Most women are actively trying prevent men hitting on them through the site, and many LinkedIn members are loudly calling for people to stop using LinkedIn for dating. Read: How to block and report inappropriate contact on LinkedIn
We’ve only just grown out of the 1950s idea that a career is just a way for women to stay busy until they find a husband, and networking between women and men is still a fraught issue. We can’t have it both ways: if we want men to act professionally towards us, then we have to offer them the same courtesy.
However many tempting bachelors there are on LinkedIn, keep it for work purposes only and avoid LinkedIn for dating. Read: Single and Stuck – dating advice for the 30 somethings
For dating, that means getting back to Tinder and OKCupid and PlentyOfFish, with their endless scrolling feed of shirtless 22-year-olds posing in the bathroom mirror. LinkedIn can still be used for background checks! Sorry, ladies.