You’re there to build your network, to foster professional relationships outside of your office, maybe even to talk your way into consideration for a job you’ve been eyeing.But when you sit down, the conversation steers away from your work interests and heads into personal territory.FORTUNE — You show up to a professional engagement, maybe a networking event or drinks with a former colleague.You expect to talk about your career trajectory or the other person’s.If the conversation seems to be veering in the wrong direction, try to bring it back to professional topics, or casually mention your significant other. According to Misner’s research, it is not uncommon for unmarried women to wear wedding bands to deter men from hitting on them in professional environments.) Clark and Misner both suggest bringing another colleague along to meetings to defuse unwelcome romantic tension.What if you’ve done everything you can to let the other person know your interests are professional and not romantic, but you still sense the person is looking for more? According to Clark, “This is where your gut instinct comes into play.” If the person is a lost cause, walk away.
“Your top goal in this situation is to try to ensure that the conversation doesn’t progress to the point of no return, meaning the person making an explicit pass at you,” Clark says.
The company recently launched a feature called BFF for platonic friendships, as well as a partnership that integrated Spotify listening habits into profiles.
It’s not alone in exploring friendship matchups — apps like Hey! But the options for networking are more limited, and Wolfe describes Bumble Bizz as a more casual and immediate alternative to something like Linked In, the current professional networking platform.
“When you’ve established a relationship, then taking it to the next step may be more obvious for you,” he says.
He would know — he met his wife at a Leadership Training held by his networking organization, BNI.