Boss, doctor, ex. In that order, those are the top three words that come right after you type in “friending your” on Google. Never mind adding the phrase “on Facebook” after, it appears as though these are the three types of people to keep far at bay from knowing much about you online, beyond what you present on the surface, of course (the productive worker bee, definitely eating healthy 24/7, and you know, being fabulous post break-up).
But what happens when you decide to seek out your boss and friend them on Facebook? Willingly at that? Over the last year, I’ve friended the CEO of the company I work for and actively sought out that Facebook friendship. During the course of our timeline regulated relationship, this has been a great match and one I certainly don’t regret doing. Friending your boss, or if you prefer to start small and friend a coworker, isn’t something to be deathly afraid of and is indeed worth doing on Facebook.
Just keep the following tips in mind when it comes to befriending the hand that feeds.
To Thine Own Self (And Status Update) Be True
My own self online is hardly all that different from my IRL (in real life) self. I am much better at writing my thoughts than saying them aloud. That being said, not all of my status updates are eloquent. I have a tendency to rattle on about ‘90s boy bands a lot. But that’s fine with me because I’m comfortable with who I am online- years of blogging experience have proven she’s not much more different than the girl offline.
Know yourself and what you post before deciding to friend anyone you work with is key. A lot depends on the relationship you have with your boss who, it should be noted, still deserves plenty of respect and reverence even if on a social network. Don’t feel the need to bombard them by writing all over their walls in the hopes of getting a pay raise. (And fyi, if you’re friending your boss on Facebook just to get a raise that isn’t a good idea either.) Do like a photo or write a comment if they post something you like. As corny as it sounds, just be yourself. If you don’t want your boss to see a side of yourself that you aren’t prepared for them to see, don’t request to be their friend.
Remember- Your Relationship Will Change
Your boss won’t be your boss forever. It’s been said that we change our careers up to seven times and transitioning to a new job is inevitable. Being friends with your former boss on Facebook is a great way to remain staying in touch and up to date on what they’re up to once you’ve left the company.
Note: this is written on the thought that you willingly left a job position with no hard feelings on either side. Should something happen and that not be the case in the end, the idea of whether or not to continue a Facebook friendship is one that you need to make using your own sound judgment.
Getting to Know ALL About You
I never forgot the day that one of my former coworkers and I became Facebook friends because she came up to me at work and said, “So… we’re Facebook friends now. I just wanted to let you know that you’re the real deal.” She then proceeded to list off a series of interests we had in common and how much she liked the blog posts I’d put up on my wall. I couldn’t believe it- she took the time to read my posts?! How awesome!
This is one of the great things about being friends with bosses and coworkers on Facebook- checking out what they like and seeing what matches up. Facebook’s “favorite music” and “inspirational people” sections prove that there are more dimensions beyond just being a secretary and helps create a quick and easy rapport online.
Unless you wind up friending a coworker who didn’t fill out those sections. Then you have to go the old-fashioned route and ask them what they like. In real life.
Heather Taylor is a social media enthusiast, freelance writer, and blogger who writes and muses on social networks, business, and fashion and the occasional combination of all three. She has had her written work published with Yahoo! Shine, BettyConfidential, HelloGiggles, The Huffington Post, and more. Contact her on Twitter @howveryheather.