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Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 in Career Advice, Etiquette, Facebook | 2 comments

Friending the Boss on Facebook

Should you “friend” your boss on Facebook?

Simply answered “NO!” and here is why.

It is just as awkward for a boss to get a friend request from their direct report as it is when people get friend requests from their boss. Gen Y and Millenials may be all about networking and connecting (they tend to be transparent and not that worried about what people think of them) – this is a bad idea!

Your boss, no matter how cool or how young, will judge you if you have photos of yourself drunk, dressing inappropriately, or generally looking immature. It isn’t that your boss doesn’t want you to have fun, they just don’t want to know about it. They don’t want you calling in “sick” and then a few hours later see the photos of why you are sleeping instead of coming in to the office. Not to mention the fact that if you post anything during business hours your boss may notice and wonder why you are using company property to mess around on Facebook (not everyone has a job like me where it is normal to be on Facebook all day).

That doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with your boss via other social media platforms. LinkedIn is a great place to professionally stay connected, show yourself in a more adult light, and it creates an opportunity for you to make more meaningful relationships that could ultimately benefit your career. If you do create a LinkedIn account (or already have one) don’t make the same mistake that other people make. Keep your profile up to date, have a professional head shot, and be generous with the reviews of your peers.

Of course, what do you do when your boss friends you? The obvious thing to do is ignore their request, but that could have a long-term effect on your relationship. You know your boss better than me, so if brutal honesty will work best, just tell that you aren’t friends with people on Facebook that are your co-workers (and make sure you don’t accept friend request from any of your co-workers). Or just subtly ignore the request and see if they ever mention it…

If you keep your boss off of Facebook I believe that you  can continue to express yourself on Facebook (or Twitter) and be authentic with your friends and family. If your boss is your friend on Facebook, you might run in to situations like this (true story):

That alone should convince you that keeping your professional and private life separate is wise… and if not, you are bolder than me!


  1. Sounds like good advice to me. I’d also add that you’re often better off not friending people you do business with, such as your doctor, lawyer, etc. For example, I was recently selling my townhouse and I received a friend request from my realtor. From his point of view, it’s advertising. From my point of view, I use Facebook for politics, and I don’t want him to slack off on getting a good price if he doesn’t agree with some of my positions. So, since I don’t expect to be selling anything else any time soon, I waited until I closed the sale before I accepted his request.

  2. Excellent point! I hadn’t even thought to add that your politics/opinions can affect your relationships.

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