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Should you friend your boss on Facebook?

Christina Haller works full-time in marketing, is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and lover of fluffy cats, dark coffee, ethnic food, traveling, and all things "Midwest" (you know, like hot dish, fresh water lakes, funny accents, plaid, a...

The dirt on digital dirt

Unless you are otherwise friends with your boss outside of the office, friending him or her on Facebook can put you in a sticky situation. Here's the low-down on your options.
Facebook friend request

You don't want your supervisor to see you in an unprofessional light, but if he friends you first, you can't just decline! What's a girl to do?

Why you shouldn't friend your boss on Facebook

  1. If you update your status while on the job, he’ll see it and know you're slacking off.
  2. You can no longer vent about what a bad day you had at work -- or what a naggy boss you have.
  3. Does your boss really need access to your Vegas candids, political rants or upcoming beer-pong tournament?
  4. You won’t be able to call in sick to spend the day at the beach and then share photos of yourself sipping margaritas.
  5. It will start a hideous trend. Soon your other co-workers will suddenly start sending requests. Including that creepy IT guy. Where does it stop?

3 Ways it could help

  1. A little brown-nosing never hurt anyone. Showing him that you volunteer at a soup kitchen on weekends or coach a Little League team could prove that you’re a real do-gooder in addition to a go-getter.
  2. Become buddy-buddy. Getting to know the boss via social media lets you in on his personal life. Does he have kids? What are his hobbies? If you have something in common, you have something to chat about.
  3. Show him you're a team player. All the other employees are friends with each other as well as with the boss; you probably should be as well.

What if your boss friends you first?

First, can we all agree? Awkward! Initially, you could get away with just "ignoring" the invitation, but after a while, your boss will be on to you. And declining the invitation wouldn’t be wise. You have a few options here:

  1. Go through your profile and delete anything embarrassing or especially inappropriate – in other words, everything fun. (While it shouldn’t be too hard to determine which ones are, perhaps, in poor taste, it might even be a good idea to get rid of those shots of you in a bikini ... and the shots of you taking shots in a bikini. Do you really want him eyeballing you anyway? Ew. Let’s not climb the ladder that way. )
  2. Accept the friendship and then immediately block him. He won’t notice unless he’s stalking you, which is just creepy.
  3. Accept the friendship and then add him to your "Restricted" list. This means he’ll only be able to see your public content or posts you tag him in (which will be, um, zero). For example, post that picture at the beach on your sick day and choose "Friends" as the audience. Then anyone on your Restricted list won’t see it. This can, however, be both annoying (to have to manage each and every status and photo) and risky (don’t forget to select "Friends only" or you're totally busted!).
  4. If you’re brave, go ahead and decline his Facebook invitation. Then send him one on LinkedIn. Hopefully, he’ll get the hint.

Now, if you are reading this and you are the boss, save us the trouble and don’t add us, OK?

Tell us

Are you friends with your boss on Facebook? Tell us why or why not in the comments below!

More social media tips

How social media affects relationships
How to take a great profile picture
Working Mom 3.0: Build your online presence

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