Facebook friend request

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.

The dirt on digital dirt

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!

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Working Mom 3.0: Build your online presence

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Comments

Comments on "Should you friend your boss on Facebook?"

Cassandra July 21, 2013 | 7:02 PM

I am friends with my boss on Facebook. She has a policy where she'll accept an employee's friend request, but won't add an employee as a friend. I like her as a person and have nothing to hide, so why not?

Amy May 07, 2012 | 4:05 PM

I advocate for online accountability. Most Facebook users use their real name and photos thus creating a virtual representation of their true, real-life selves. Here's the thing, however - if you don't want something embarrassing about you being exposed, then don't post it on Facebook. If you wouldn't say something ridiculous or racy in public, why would you write it on your Facebook page? Posting something on Facebook is the same as saying or doing it in real life. If you write or post something regrettable, it is going to come back to you. As long as you practice accountability and responsibility on Facebook, you should have nothing to worry about, and you can friend your boss knowing that he or she isn't going to see another side of you that contradicts the side of you he/she sees at work.

Brad May 03, 2012 | 11:01 AM

This is why I have two facebook pages - one for business, and one for pleasure. I keep one account for my work contacts and professional acquaintances, and another account for my more personal and casual friends. It is hard trying to be everything for everybody, so I find it easier to compartmentalize my friendships. What a great piece!

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