Withdrawing Invitations to Connect on LinkedIn

One of the best ways to begin building your LinkedIn network is by connecting with people that you already know in real life. LinkedIn makes it easy to do so by uploading your address book to LinkedIn – that way you can see who you already have contact with in the ‘real world,’ which of those contacts are already on LinkedIn, and you can easily send them an invitation to connect with you.

However, when uploading your address book to LinkedIn, use caution. One drawback to using this feature on LinkedIn – especially if you’re using the LinkedIn app on your tablet or phone – is that LinkedIn encourages you to then invite all of those contacts that you just uploaded to connect with you on LinkedIn, and they do so with prominent buttons. But if you’re like most lawyers, your address book will contain email addresses for adversaries, competitors, family members and others that you may not necessarily want to connect with on LinkedIn. In addition, by sending this “mass invitation,” you’ve lost the opportunity to add a personal message to your invitation. Too many people find out too late they’ve clicked the wrong button and invitations have been sent to every single person in their address book.

Thankfully, there is something you can do about it – if you act quickly, before the person you invited takes action on the invitation. LinkedIn allows you to withdraw invitations that have not yet been accepted. To do so, take the following steps:

  • Go to your LinkedIn Inbox and click “Sent” to see the invitations you have sent
  • Find any invitation that has not yet been accepted and click on the subject line of the message
  • Click “Withdraw”

If you don’t see a “Withdraw” button when you click the subject line of the message, you won’t be able to withdraw the invitation. But if you do withdraw, the recipient won’t be notified.

If it’s too late to withdraw and the individual has already accepted your invitation to connect, you can always disconnect from them. Again, they won’t be notified that you’ve disconnected, but they may realize if they go to your Profile and see that you are no longer a first level connection.

To disconnect from someone on LinkedIn, simply find their name in your list of LinkedIn Contacts (under the Network menu). When you hover your mouse over their name, you’ll see a number of options – Tag (to add a tag to their contact information), Message (to send them a message through LinkedIn) and More. Click the down arrow next to More and then click “Remove Connection.”

Featured image: “Closeup portrait of young man thinking daydreaming” from Shutterstock.

About Allison Shields

Allison Shields

Allison C. Shields is President of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc. She provides practice management and business development coaching and consulting services to lawyers and law firms in the areas of practice management, productivity, client service, business development, marketing and social media. A former practicing lawyer and law firm manager, Allison knows the unique challenges faced by lawyers today. She understands the law firm environment and the daily pressures faced by lawyers trying to manage and build their business while practicing law and successfully serving their clients.

Allison is the co-author of Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers and LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers, both published by the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association in 2012. She writes and lectures frequently for legal organizations and bar associations nationwide, and contributes to several blogs, including her own Legal Ease Blog. Her website provides resources and information for lawyers to help improve their practices. Contact her at Allison@LegalEaseConsulting.com or (631) 642-0221.

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  • geoff.

    In my case, I find that no less than 332 invitations have apparently been sent in my name and certainly without ‘explicit’ knowledge or approval from me. The problem with the withdrawal process is that it appears to operate only on a ‘one by one’ basis. Withdraw one, and you then you have to back to ‘sent invitations’ and start over again. In my case, over 300 times … life is too short and there is too much else to do! Is there any way of withdrawing these en masse? Though I don’t suppose ‘Linked In’ would want to make it easy ….

  • sundar bala

    If there was one thing that would make Linked In UNPROFESSIONAL, it would be this aggressive method of connection-creation. Its worse than facebook wher you can control who sees what, etc.

  • AK

    i agree, linkedin is very poor in this

  • foulan
  • Wm. Cerniuk

    Through getting interrupted by and forthwith dismissing secondary screens (internal linked in marketing) while trying to get to my linked in home page quickly, I managed to click on something that invited everyone I knew (maybe from my system address book of over 4K people). The end result was LinkedIn sending out 100’s of invites that I did not want to send. Fairly certain that it was the intent of putting the internal marketing up.. to capture the connections for the LinkedIn analytics.

    In any regard I found the instructions above to withdraw my LinkedIn connection requests which were a little dated and did not match LinkedIn’s web interface today. Today this is done by:

    1 – Log in to LinkedIn

    2 – Click My Network at the top row of white buttons

    3 – On the section below the home button it will say “Invitations (##) Manage All”, click “Manage All”

    4 – On the section below the home button there will be “Received” and “Sent”, click “Sent”

    5 – Click “Withdraw” repeatedly.

    Be aware that the list is partial and only refills if you withdraw everything you see in the list. In my case I just clicked “Withdraw” until the list no longer refilled. You can’t leave any legit connection requests there or it will not show you any more until you click “Received” and “Sent” which is not feasible when deleting several hundred erroneous connection requests.

    For a visual:



    (thanks to foulan for the link)

  • Wael Elsin

    Just released the “AutoWithdraw For LinkedIn” software automation utility today (21-Sep-2017). Enjoy Everyone!