Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Work Relationships: Should You Be Friends With Your Boss?

Have you ever been told not to be friends with your boss? That work relationships are unprofessional? Well, hold that thought. A new study found that employers tend to hire people with whom they want to be friends. With that in mind, we’re giving you some tips for navigating work relationships and how to uphold professionalism in your office friendships.

Working in an office requires you take part in office culture; so it makes sense that employers are looking to hire not only qualified individuals, but people who will fit in with the company culture. However, just because you were chosen in part for your winning personality and likability to kick back a beer, does that mean you should?

Unless you have a preexisting relationship, I’d recommend against getting too friendly with your superiors. Often times things can be overheard, jokes misconstrued, or someone just plain makes something up. Keeping a strictly professional relationship with your boss can help prevent misconceptions around the office. Don’t find yourself in an awkward situation, or the object of office fodder; avoid getting drinks one-on-one with your boss or any other interactions outside the office with just you two.

Work relationships and professionalism get even trickier with the emergence of social media. Should you Facebook friend your boss, follow him or her on Twitter, Pin their favorite recipe? In general, Twitter and Pinterest remain fairly safe- as long as you keep your tweets and pins clean. Facebook is a different beast. While the social media giant has evolved into an advertising and professional resource, most of your content will probably be geared toward amusing memes, photos from various events with friends and inside jokes- not the bastion of professionalism. Even if your Facebook is relatively clean, the safest bet is to not request their friendship on Facebook (but don’t ignore one either).

These are basic tips for professionalism in work relationships, but when push comes to shove feeling comfortable is most important. Some offices promote a very open environment, plan office happy hours and encourage friendships. Others are more buttoned-up. If you are unsure of what is acceptable in terms of work relationships, speak with your HR professional and always err on the side of caution.

What do you think? Do you think it’s OK to be friends with your boss? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Janet 59

Jen Schiller

Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.