Can You be Friends with Your Boss?

The simple answer is of course yes, you can. The more complicated version of that is yes, you can, with certain limits.

Let’s say you have a good job and a great boss. You click with him and you feel great to chill over a cup of coffee or a glass of beer. You don’t mind hanging out after office hours. You are not just colleagues, you are friends. However, here’s a word of caution: It’s very hard for friendship and professionalism to co-exist in a business setting.

Your boss is still the one who will be giving you performance reviews and ordering you to do things and correcting you if you’re making mistakes. Taking an advice from your boss seems ordinary. But imagine taking these advices from a friend. The message may get tangled or even not received professionally, but personally.

So what kind of friendship is favoured between a boss and his employee?

boss employee relationship

1.     Not mixing business with personal.

When you are at work, business is business and it is not personal. Being friends is okay but once you step into that corporate setting, professionalism immediately kicks in. Don’t let your guard down because he is your ‘friend’ and you end up telling him every work issue you have in your life. Despite his empathy, your boss still wants to see that project finished.

2.     Not having too much discussion on personal life.

It’s really your call, but telling your boss about problems happening back home may have a slight chance of backfiring. Say that you’re struggling with 10 different family problems, thus not meeting your deadline (by judy). Your boss, knowing what you’re going through, gives you a grace period. The problem is, this favouritism may be picked up by other colleagues and soon, your boss’ authority and your own quality of work will be questioned.

3.     Not befriending each other on social media sites.

Or if you do, avoid posting anything that are meant for close friends and family.

To learn more about how to take your career to the next level, check out our Institute of Management training modules or visit our website at www.im.edu.au.