Should You Be Facebook Friends With Your Boss?

Are you comfortable “friending” your boss on Facebook? What should you do if your boss sends you a Facebook friend request? On the contrary, should you take the initiative and send a Facebook friend request to your boss? There are no easy answers to these questions and a lot would depend on the kind of rapport you share with your boss.

Robert Half Workplace Survey

The recently concluded Robert Half Workplace Survey indicates 43 percent of those surveyed were not comfortable with being connected with the boss on social network sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, while 47 percent of managers were uncomfortable with it.

Further, only 26 percent respondents said they use Facebook to connect with their colleagues. Interestingly, only 3 percent believe that friending colleagues had a direct negative impact on their workplace relationships. However, nearly one-third are critical of their colleagues being friends with their boss on Facebook.

Only Thirteen percent respondents said Facebook had helped better develop their work relationships. Based on the above findings, the verdict is clear – most Kiwis are not comfortable with the idea of being friends with their boss on Facebook.

More importantly, the survey highlights a pressing need for businesses to provide more emphasis on creating and defining social media policies in the business environment, which are currently either unclear or non-existent.

Should you?

Coming back to the original question – should you be Facebook friends with your boss? I wish there was a one size fits all answer to this question but unfortunately that’s not the case. It entirely depends on the kind of relationship you share with your boss. If it’s very formal and purely professional, I’d advice against risking a Facebook friendship. However, if you share a good personal rapport and you often discuss personal issues with him/ her, it may well be worth being Facebook friends.

Be mindful

For most people, Facebook is an open book about their lives. One quick look at their profile, wall and pictures can reveal a lot about a person. Do you really want to share all these details with your boss? Be mindful of the implications involved before you take a decision either way as there’s no stepping back.

If your boss sent you a Facebook friend which you declined or vice-versa, it can be interpreted as a wrong signal. Be mindful of what’s out there in your profile about you, take time to adjust your privacy settings, and carefully evaluate what you contribute to online conversations.

If you are aware of the implications and you act accordingly, there’s nothing wrong with being Facebook friends with your boss. In fact, it might just help better your working relation with your superiors.

Are you friends with your Facebook boss? Did it have a positive, negative or neutral effect on your working relationship? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment below this post.

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  2. Gabriele Maidecchi

    It’s kind of embarrassing to receive a request from a colleague you don’t like, even if it’s your boss. I mean, you don’t know if saying no is ok, or it’ll have consequences, or it’ll be odd to say yes… That’s probably one of the reasons why I don’t use Facebook other than to admin pages. Less to worry about.

  3. Bobfoley127

    No! That’s like relationship George meeting independant George. You don’t let the boss infiltrate your personal world.

  4. Kevin Mcadams

    It depends on your industry and company. I was typically open about my home/social life with bosses before facebook, so if they really want to see pictures of my Sunday morning bloody mary I’m OK letting them see. If it comes up, they’ll hear about it in the office anyway. They pay me for what I produce in the office and if they care about what I do on my own time they may lose a valuable resource.

    On a similar note though, should you Facebook friend your kids teachers? I think that’s more of a line to cross for parents. I wrote a blog last week on this topic –

  5. Damien Ledoux

    If you are proactive with your privacy settings, you can restrict what people/coworkers/your boss can see. Facebook demands a certain responsibility too; if you are a professional, Facebook must be professional; it’s not the place for you to “kick back” on the internet. That kind of place simply doesn’t exist, except off-the-grid.

  6. Cindy

    Should you accept a friend request from a competitor?

  7. Charltp5

    No you connect with your boss on LinkedIn and Facebook with you friends and family… IMHO

  8. Ricardo Cobos

    my rules for FB “friends” is simple – if I saw you on the street would I recognize you and would I know you well enough to know what is likley to be happening in your life and care enough to ask. second – would have you into my home for dinner, if I cant answer yes to both, then no “friend” status.

  9. Guest

    Absolutely not. I don’t even friend coworkers. That’s what LinkedIn is for. I don’t have something to hide, but there is way too much you can’t control on facebook. Such as photos that OTHER people decide to post of you – . Or interesting tidbits that they put on your wall like “Good luck at your job interview”.

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    If you’re friends with your boss and you go home from work “sick” and they see your post about going to a party that night, what can you do?

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    The simple, unequivocal answer is NO, don’t do it. Keep your private life private! 

    The most frightening (slightly related) thing I’ve come across recently is an employee who left their phone on their desk and went off to do something. The boss picked up their phone, accessed the employee’s Facebook and posted a message to the employee’s girlfriend. I have no idea in what universe the boss thought this would be ok!! (This was not at my work I hasten to add!) 

  13. Eburkard

    I was friends with my boss for about two weeks and then she unfriended me, but I think it’s mostly because of the stupid policies at work.  I’m surprised she friended me in the first place.  I understand so I’m not upset by it and we still have a great relationship at work!!! 🙂 And I guess I’d rather not be friends with her because then I can say whatever I want on FB and not have to worry about every little thing that could go wrong with what I say.

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