Should you be friends with your boss on Facebook?

My friend Sarah’s boss requested her friendship on Facebook.  The request was made months ago and she never responded.  She never knew how to respond.

Sarah has plenty of juicy drunken photos from the undergrad days that she definitely does not want her boss to see, not to mention posts she made while at work, but she still couldn’t make a decision so the request sat, unanswered.

Interestingly, when you type “friending your” into Google, “friending your boss on Facebook” comes right up without even mentioning Facebook, so I don’t think Sarah is the only one with this dilemma.

What’s your opinion?

Months ago when Sarah’s boss made the request, I told her to respectfully decline and just explain to him that she prefers to keep her personal life separate from work and offer to connect on LinkedIn instead (where it’s more appropriate).  She didn’t.  Then her boss confronted her and asked if she got the request.  Sarah played dumb.  Then she was really in a pickle.  A few weeks later the boss mentioned it again in passing and things started getting weird.

Why is this boss so adamant about the friendship?  Red flag?

But wait, it gets creepier.  Today, Sarah received a Facebook message directly from her boss saying, “silly, accept me.”  Whaaatttt??  Who does that?

She finally decided to talk to her boss tomorrow and explain why she never responded. How do you explain to your own boss that they are acting unprofessional?  Or is that professional now and I missed the memo?

Seems to me like friending or accepting friendships with bosses on Facebook (in most cases) is a lose lose lose situation.  You lose is you accept, you lose if you don’t and if you pretend like it never happened or wait too long to respond, well…you lose.

- H. Acito

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One Response to Should you be friends with your boss on Facebook?

  1. student says:

    Awesome post Holly… Big, giant, huge red flag. This boss is being completely inappropriate. Most companies are very clear that bosses should not actively try to ‘friend’ employees.

    There are strict (protective) rules governing the employees right to talk about working conditions with other employees.

    A good social media policy and some training for the managers would help this employee. I suggest she talk ‘off the record’ to HR if there is someone there she trusts. If something goes wrong… she’ll need protection.

    She is definitely not alone, unfortunately.