According to studies, being friends with your co-workers is a good thing. It improves work productivity and job satisfaction, and gives you a sense of belonging. Besides, how can you not be friends with people you spend most of your waking hours with?
However, does this extend to your boss? Should you try to be friends with your boss? Or should you keep your relationship strictly professional?
Surprisingly, the short answer is no. There are several disadvantages to being friends with your boss. These include the disappearance of boundaries between you two and the optics of an inappropriate boss-employee relationship.
Here are other reasons why being friends with your boss isn’t a good idea.
Being Friends With Your Boss Blurs the Boundary Between Work and Personal Life.
Friendships are supposed to be an equal relationship between two people. But what if one person has authority over the other? This is the kind of relationship you will likely have if you’re friends with your boss.
Whenever they ask you for something, no matter how small it may be, you’re more inclined to follow through with their requests. After all, you wouldn’t want to sour your relationship with the person who signs your paycheck, right?
Because you two are aware of each other’s private lives, it becomes difficult to remain professional with one another. This could lead to instances where your boss inadvertently gives you preferential treatment over your co-workers.
Your Friendship Could Alienate Your Co-Workers.
Your close relationship with your boss will surely raise some eyebrows amongst your co-workers. This can create tensions within the team, as they’ll suspect your boss of favoritism and be hostile towards you.
Instead of acknowledging and congratulating you for your achievements, they’re likely to think that you’re just using your friendship with your boss to get ahead.
On the other hand, because your boss doesn’t want to appear to be favoring you, they could become more strict with you instead. They’ll give you more tasks, be more critical of your work, and sometimes even deny you promotions or salary increases.
You May Share Too Much Information With Them.
Just because you’re friends with your boss doesn’t mean you can talk about any topic, especially if it concerns your work. Think about it, would you share your work frustrations or plans to leave with your boss?
This goes back to my first point about losing work and personal life boundaries. Because they’re your friends, it’s easy to feel too comfortable about sharing your thoughts with them.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re still your boss. You may not mean to offend them, but if you gripe about your company, who are you indirectly criticizing as well? Sharing certain secrets with them can thus be to your career’s detriment in the long run.
Your Boss May Share Too Much Information With You.
On the flip side, your boss can also share too much information with you regarding themselves and the company. These information can include potential salary reductions or the many challenges faced by the company. Wouldn’t that ruin your motivation to keep working there?
In addition, being friends with your boss may also entail having to help them deal with their work stress. This can become problematic, especially if you are also stressed out from work.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
There’s nothing wrong with being friends with everyone, your boss included, especially if your boss shows signs that they want to be friends. That said, you should also be aware of the disadvantages of being friends with your boss, and thus tread carefully.
If you’re looking for a remote workplace where it will be easier to keep things at a professional distance, head to Remote Staff. Our job portal has plenty of available online jobs you can apply to, and it’s regularly updated.
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