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“Linked In has the lowest barrier to entry and is the least ‘risky’ social platform to connect with someone,” she says.

“If you get rejected, you can always default to, ‘Well, I just wanted to connect for professional reasons.’ This is why I think people use Linked In to ‘test the waters’— they view it as less aggressive than a Facebook or Instagram request.”If it is a certifiable trend, it's both interesting and problematic.

He was using Linked In to cover his tracks since it’s a professional website.”This further muddies the waters: After all, if these people are using the platform’s professional focus as a way to hide their flirtation, a gradual shift toward more common dating use would probably foil the plan.“I had a man pursue me on Linked In, strike up an email correspondence, and talk about having a personal relationship, and then I figured out he was married,” says Ashley B., 26.

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If someone reaches out to you on Linked In and you don’t have any certainty of their intentions, how do you know if it’s a date or a networking opportunity?

Alice Jones, 23, says she had one such confusing interaction. Still unclear.”Steve Dean, an online dating consultant and founder of Dateworking warns against the overlap of professional networking and dating: “Calling Linked In a dating platform would poison the well, metaphorically, leading to an exodus of users who have neither the time nor the emotional stamina to fend off barrages of unwanted suitors.”But it’s not always a bad thing.

She took to Linked In to build her professional network, where she found Dave.

“He worked in music, beer/alcohol, and marketing—all of which were target industries,” she says, then admits, “But mainly, his profile picture was utterly captivating.”Eventually, she reached out.

But when we spoke to both male and female Linked In users who claimed they had been approached on the site, most of them also expressed that they no longer saw it as a safe space devoid of sexual tension.

Which is fair: Once the line between what Linked In is designed for (professional networking) and what some people seem to be using it for (dating) becomes blurred, things can get pretty complicated.

Such might be the case with Linked In—which, at over 450 million members, is the world’s largest professional networking site.

Though its intended purpose is to help users keep tabs on their career connections and facilitate networking with people in their field, over the last few years it has, for some users, also become a place to troll for dates.

Likewise, Linked In does not tout itself as anything other than a professional networking site.

Doesn’t that make it sort of inevitable that it would be used for other kinds of networking?

“The hottest guy from my high school slid into my Linked In DMs. For Emilia and Dave, Linked In was the first step to finding a long-term romantic relationship.

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