6 Ways To Maintain A Safe & Healthy Friendship With Your Boss
Befriending your boss has become more common these days. Especially in an organisation that has a casual-working environment, the line between being a friend and an employee can easily become blurry. If you have become friends with your boss and are wondering how to balance between being a friend and an employee while maintaining your friendship, this article will shed some light on some dos and don’ts to ensure your friendship with your boss works; inside and outside the office.
1. Set ground rules
Every relationship needs healthy boundaries. No matter how close you are with your boss, you need to inform each other about your boundaries. Decide when and where personal conversations should take place. One rule I have always practised is to avoid talking about our personal lives in the office. There was a time when my boss wanted to vent about her relationship, but since we promised each other to never talk about it during our working hours, she asked me if I would be available to take a longer lunch break or have dinner with her that day. This rule works, as not only did we manage to keep our personal lives separate from the office but we also respect each other’s boundaries. Personal ground rules are important as it helps you in maintaining your position as an employee while also being a reliable friend.
2. Avoid venting
Keeping your emotions in check is a hard thing to do, but it is not impossible. Try your best to be aware of your emotions. Bad days are unavoidable and sometimes, a little friction can happen in the office. On a bad day, your other colleagues might have gotten to your nerves. Before you complain about your colleagues to your boss, remind yourself that you are indeed complaining to your boss. The things you say about your colleagues might make them look bad as an employee and your boss would be compelled to take necessary actions even though your initial intention was just to vent out your feelings as a friend. Moreover, you should never use your close friendship with your boss to worsen any situation or conflict in the office. Stay neutral and objective when conflicts (whether or not it involves you) arise.
3. Oversharing is not cute
One thing that I have learned from being friends with my superior is to always remember that they are your superior first and foremost. As much as I love sharing things with my boss or as much as I trust her, I will always try my best to filter out the things that I think could make me look like a bad employee. For example, do not tell your boss that you only did the report half-heartedly because “you just didn’t feel like it.” This will make you look bad. Regardless if you guys are friends or not, your boss will take offence to that and it will make them second guess your work ethics. Apart from that, you also need to remember that you are still entitled to keep certain parts of your life private. Remind yourself that you still need to see each other every day for work. Sharing every single detail about your life will make it harder for both of you to keep it professional because you know more than you should about the other person.
4. Never expect special treatment
Sure, your boss talks to you more than the rest of your colleagues, you go out for lunch together every day, and sometimes, you guys even see each other on the weekends. However, this does not mean your boss needs to compromise on anything when it comes to work-related matters. So, do not expect your boss to give you special treatment just because of your friendship. Avoid assuming that just because you are friends, you can slack off once in a while or hand in a report later than the rest of your colleagues. Even if your boss does not mind, it is not fair to the rest of your colleagues and it will affect the overall drive and motivation of the entire office. Be professional. If you mess up, learn to take the criticism professionally. You should not expect your boss to go easy on you, nor should they go easy on you.
5. Remember your boss is human too
You might think that life is sweet for your boss because they are in a higher rank in the company. However, remember that the higher up you climb, the more responsibilities you will have. Chances are, your boss’s responsibilities are much heavier than yours. Sometimes, to maintain their professionalism, they might also need to keep some of their work problems to themselves. In this case, be empathetic. When you see your boss stressing out over something and you know that they cannot tell you, respect their space and offer to help them with minor tasks. It might not seem like a lot, but this will help to take some of the load off their shoulders. Let them know that you are available if they need to talk things out as a colleague or as a friend. One simple way to do it is to just be there and practice active listening. It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way.
6. Don’t break trust
Nothing is worse than having your trust broken. No matter what the relationship is, it all starts and ends with trust. The same goes for your friendship with your boss. So, whatever your boss tells you should stay only between the two of you. Stay out of gossip that revolves around your boss and of course, do not gossip about your boss either. There’s a reason why your boss tells you about their personal lives; they trust you. When the trust between two people has been broken, it’s hard to mend things back to the way they were. If either of you breaks trust, things will get complicated, to say the least. Plus, your personal and work relationship with your boss would be destroyed in one go.
Though being friends with your boss is not something novel these days, there are still some rules you should follow. Practising these rules will ensure that the friendship you have developed with your boss will not affect either of you in the office. Are you friends with your boss? Share your tips on how you keep your friendship healthy.