My Boss Wants to Friend Me on Facebook. Now What?

A friend request pops up at the top of your Facebook feed, you click on it, and it’s your boss. Now what do you do?

Your boss has broken a Facebook rule: never friend anyone who works for you because it puts them in an awkward position. But they did it, and now it’s up to you to deal with it without damaging your career or your relationship with your boss.

1. Although it may be tempting, don’t ignore the request. This will send a message that can be interpreted by your boss in a variety of ways—most of them negative.

2. If you’re generally okay with sharing personal aspects of your life at work, you follow the rules of posting that we outlined in last week’s post, and you have a good relationship with your boss, then there’s really no harm in accepting.

3. If you prefer to keep your personal life separate from work, send your boss a note letting them know that you use Facebook to share with family and very close friends, but you’d love for them to connect with you on LinkedIn.

4. If you do accept a friend request from your boss, you may want to set up Facebook groups. You can sort your contacts into different groups, such as family, close friends, and friends. If there’s something you only want to share with close friends, for example, you can choose just the close friends group in the audience selector tool at the bottom of the post. But remember, it’s easy to forget to select the right audience so never post anything you wouldn’t be okay with everyone seeing.

5. You don’t have any control over what others may post on your page, but you can control who sees it. Set your privacy settings to allow you to review and approve posts to your page, so that someone doesn’t post something to your wall that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.

6. Before you accept, review past posts to make sure there’s nothing you’ve posted in the past that you might not want them to find. Review our article on cleaning up your social media feed for some helpful tips.

7. Don’t friend your boss and forget. There are countless stories of now ex-employees who friended their boss, forgot, and then posted something negative about their jobs that got them fired (not that you should ever post anything about your job on social media, even if you’re not friends with your boss on Facebook).