Should You Be Friends With Your Boss?

Even if you have a great relationship with your boss, boundaries are essential in the workplace. 

When the majority of waking hours are spent at work, it’s natural to want to create stronger bonds and friendships with team members and management. Studies have even shown that developing work friendships enhances professionals’ overall happiness and productivity. However, make no mistake: you should not be friends with your boss.

Here’s why:

It blurs the lines.

Developing a close personal relationship with your boss blurs your professional life with your private life. It’s great to go to the occasional happy hour with your boss. It’s even beneficial to keep your boss informed of things in your personal life which may affect your work. However, friendship is a two-way street where both parties share equal power. There is an inherent power imbalance between you and your boss. After all, your boss can fire you. Just think: if your boss texts you about something personal on a weekend, you might feel an extra obligation to respond because he/she is your boss and not because you actually want to. It could start to feel like work and you could start to grow resentful over time. So while you might have a great working relationship and even share personal things with each other, maintain a level of emotional distance so that the lines don’t get blurred. 

You may share too much and it could hurt your career.

Sometimes when we feel we’re friends with a boss, we overshare information about discontent at work or even being on the lookout for a new job. Professional boundaries are essential with your boss. If you have a tendency to overshare, your boss may take these sentiments personally and cut you out of professional development or promotional opportunities.

Your boss may share information that’s not productive for you.

Bosses can overshare too. Imagine receiving news of potential-but-not-definite layoffs, restructuring or salary cuts. These “what ifs” may not serve you. Imagine being privy to the intimate details of your boss’s levels of stress and then having to be the emotional caretaker. Knowing too much could cause you extra stress and make you less able to perform your job functions.

It could make others feel excluded or leave you worse off.

A deeper relationship could cause tension, hurt feelings, lack of respect or resentment between you and your colleagues. It could also be viewed as an unfair advantage. Conversely, your boss may overcompensate for your close connection. Your boss may be harder on you, or pass you up for a promotion or a raise due to office pressure or perception.


Remember: your boss is ultimately someone who, if told to fire you, would have to do so. Seek mentorship and leadership from your boss rather than a friendship. If you genuinely feel a connection, stay in touch after one of you moves on to another role.

The Tycoon Herald