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I haven’t seen my college boyfriend Ryan* in 10 years. Last time I checked, he had blocked me on all forms of social media—probably because the last time I saw him, I shouted: “I can’t be in this relationship! You just don’t understand me! I need to focus on my career!” (Raise your hand if you, too, went through an emo stage…).
But recently, I found that I needed to talk to him ASAP for work. I was writing my book, Twenty Guys You Date in Your Twenties, which features short blurbs about 20 of my exes, including Ryan. I wanted his input…and, okay, also secretly hoped we could reconnect after all these years, à la a rom-com-styled Hallmark movie.
When I searched for him online, though, I only found two leads: his LinkedIn profile (the one app he didn’t block me on) and a baby registry.
Falling in love again was crossed off my list . I sent him a message via LinkedIn anyway, and almost immediately, he followed up with an email. After talking a little bit, I learned that he had moved on (specifically with a new lil goo-goo-ga-ga monster) and it was time for me to as well. Case closed.
Then, I reached out via LinkedIn to a handful of my other exes who had also blocked me on all forms of social media (I’m not crazy—really!). Sure, I had the excuse of writing the book as a reason to slide in, but really, the closure I received from all of our conversations was so refreshingly satisfying that I really can’t recommend it enough. Don’t trust me? Trust Sydney*, 32, who has also used LinkedIn to connect romantically:
“I used LinkedIn a lot for dating, especially during the recession. Like, if you have a job, I’m interested. I used it to reconnect with a long-term Tinder date that had fallen off. I had a business proposition for him that turned into drinks and sexy time. LinkedIn is the only networking site my long-term ex hasn’t blocked me on. My coworkers make fun of me for how many guys I’ve dated that I’m friends with on LinkedIn. I literally used it as a dating app.”
And if you’re still not convinced, allow me to explain the pros:
- Sliding in via LinkedIn has way more chill than a random “You up?” text.
- Also way more chill than sliding into IG DMs when you don’t even follow them. Yes, they notice.
- If they are in a relationship (or have an effing baby on the way), it’s friendly, professional, and harmless.
- If you know they’re in a relationship, this form of communication is most respectful to their partner. You really just want your scarf back (sure, Jan!).
- You get to expand your network on LinkedIn! Networking, baby.
- You get to weird-flex that you’re connected with someone who works for a super-cool company.
- If it does help you reconnect, you already have proof of their employment and can assess their finances.
- It’s low stakes, totally profesh, and not as daunting as seeing they opened your Twitter DM and left you on read.
Now that you’re convinced, here’s exactly how to execute sliding into an ex’s LinkedIn:
Wait at least six months post-breakup before you slide in
Sorry, but if you broke up once, you’re probably going to break up again for that very same reason. That is, unless you’ve given the breakup significant time to heal and each person has had an opportunity to travel, sleep with other people, and move on with their lives. A person can change a lot from when you dated them, ya know?
Keep your messages to the point
“I would send a message along the lines of, ‘Hey, how are you? I see that you’re working here now. I was thinking of you, glad to see things are going well. Let me know if you’d like to catch up sometime!’ and then let them reach out,” says dating coach Daliya Karnofsky, host of the Not Your Therapist podcast. “Just be direct. Don’t get into emotions before actually meeting up.”
Don’t ask about their relationship status
Bottom line: If your ex is in a relationship with someone else, they’ll tell you. “LinkedIn is a less presumptuous way to reach out to an ex because of the network’s professional status,” says Karnofsky. You can always blame you reaching out on something work-related, so the stakes aren’t really high at all.
Be prepared to let it go
If your ex doesn’t get right back to you, no need to follow up like you would for a job. “No response is an answer and a sign you should move on with your life,” says Karnosky. But hey, at least you tried?
For whatever reason you may want to reconnect with your ex—whether it’s to snag your charger back, gain closure, hook up one last time—LinkedIn is the best way to do it while also keeping some of your dignity intact. Think about it: Instead of looking thirsty for that D, you just look really ambitious for that direct connection—and that’s a logic I can personally subscribe to.
*Name has been changed.