Should You Be Friends With Your Boss?

Should You Be Friends With Your Boss?

Being friends with your boss can be a bit of a grey area – is it right or wrong? And what will others think? We asked Lou Goodman, marketing director for, how to navigate this tricky relationship.

Be Conscious of Your Colleagues 

We spend the bulk of our time at the office, so it’s only natural that you might become friends with the people you work with. This includes your boss and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, these friendships need to be treated differently to your typical ones, so it’s important to set boundaries and be conscious of how your colleagues may feel about your relationship. If you’re not conscientious of those around you, you could be at risk of upsetting people.

Play the Relationship by Ear

Like with all relationships, you’ll be able to get a sense as to whether or not they actually want to be your friend from the way they act around you. If it feels natural, see if they fancy getting lunch or a drink after work. But if they say no, don’t push the matter as it may end up making things very awkward.

Set Boundaries

Whether you’re socialising with your boss outside of work or catching up over your lunch break, you should always remember that they are your manager first, and your friend second. When you’re together try not to gossip about colleagues, or complain about work. And always avoid getting drunk with your boss – a few drinks are fine, but you still want them to see you as a professional. Social media also plays a part in this. If you’re comfortable with it, you can accept a friend request, but try to avoid tagging them in posts and pictures as your relationship will become less professional and it may make your colleagues feel uncomfortable.

Don’t Exclude Others

Like you would do with any other friendship, don’t make your colleagues feel left out by forming an exclusive clique and instead try to include them. If you’re going for Friday night beers or going to get lunch together, see if others want to join. By doing this, you’ll avoid any upset while also showing that you have a genuine friendship with your boss.

Don’t Involve HR Unless You Need To

This will depend on your employer and their policies. Most organisations won’t be too concerned about whether you are socialising together outside of work, as long as it’s not causing any issues inside the office. But if it does start to cause problems with your colleagues then they should be told, however, this should come from your manager as they’re the one in the position of responsibility.

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