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One thing that I hate is getting a friend request and not having the slightest clue who the person is that sent it. What I like to see, and what I do for my own requests, is a brief summary of who I am, how we are acquainted (or what acquaintances we share), and some context to the request. Back when I was a young lad in those early days of Facebook, I friended pretty much anyone without much though, and the result was a bloated friend list of people that I really didn't know and had little incentive to interact with. I don't intend to make the same mistake on LinkedIn, and I won't respond to someone that sends me a generic request unless I already personally know them. The character limit on request enforces a "short and sweet" request, so I try to make every word count.