Sarah, who is the boss Oldje

Is it a good idea to be friends with the boss or should you leave it?

When Tina *, 33, started her job as social media director at a start-up in Washington D.C. started, she was right on the same wavelength as her boss - let's call her Sarah. Sarah was friendly and funny, and the two women immediately felt connected because they were the only black women in the company. “When she walked into a room, she lit it up; her energy was infectious, ”Tina told me. But at some point Sarah's behavior made her feel uncomfortable in the stomach area.
When Tina had only been working for the company for a few weeks, Sarah started calling her after work to let off steam - "At first only about work, later also about private matters." they are also doing well with their new boss. But then it got uncomfortable: “She often called me to gossip about her superiors or her employees who she didn't like. Once she even said that she would like to force one of her colleagues out of the company, but didn't know how ”. It wasn't long before Tina realized that something was wrong here.
Just like Tina, a lot of people try to develop a relationship with their boss - but sometimes that's not a good idea. On the one hand, a deep friendly relationship can help career and lead to better communication and collaboration. On the other hand, it can become a problem when the lines between professional and personal relationships become blurred. So the question arises: where exactly should you draw the line? May have a relationship with a supervisortoo tight be?
2018 led theOlivet Nazarene Universityconducted a study of 3,000 people to identify the new norms of boss-employee relationships. The result: one in three employees has already asked their boss for personal advice and one in four of all respondents has spent time privately with their manager. Even if the study showed that a certain level of intimacy (this includes, for example, getting to know the partner and the children of the other) can have a positive effect on the employee's satisfaction, this is not always the case Case.
29-year-old Juliane * also quickly made friends with her boss at a tech company in Austin, Texas. “She often invited me and the rest of the team to her house for dinners or parties,” she recalls. In addition, the two sometimes only met in pairs. During these one-on-ones, her boss began to talk about queer relationships that she had in the past. Juliane, who identifies herself as queer, was uncomfortable talking to her new boss about it. “It was as if she were hoping to build a close, friendly relationship by addressing our queerness.” And that wasn't the only time that Juliane felt uncomfortable about her boss's behavior: “Sometimes she worked from home and conducted video conferences with us, during which she sat on her bed - and next to her lay her sleeping, topless partner ”.
Even if Tina's and Julian's experiences with their superiors were in some cases anything but positive, there are also relationships that look different. Senior Account Executive Abby, 29, also made friends with her boss, for example, which was certainly not least due to the flat hierarchies in the PR agency. The two had brunch on the weekend and even went on vacation together! They helped each other with both professional and private challenges. But the two also set limits from the start: "We both believed that our friendship shouldn't have any influence on our careers."
According to Abby, being friends with her boss helped her work more productively and effectively. "Even if there is such a thing as a 'too close' relationship for some people, that was not the case for me," she says, adding that the two were super honest, open and respectful to each other. Just like good friends should do. “Our friendship made us work better together. In the projects that we supervised together, we were able to achieve better results in the end. "
What kind of relationship with the boss is perceived as appropriate and which is not varies from person to person. "As long as both are comfortable with the relationship, it's okay," says Ariel Schur, CEO and founder of ABS Staffing Solutions. Ariel began her career as a consultant for an Employee Assistance Program and she was also friends with a female boss. Even if it was a healthy friendship with her, she says, things can of course also be different. “Some may have the feeling that their supervisor would contact them too often and find that annoying when they just want to switch off after work. It can also be difficult to be friends with the boss on social media - not everyone wants the boss to know what to do after work or on the weekend, ”says Ariel. And that's exactly why she advises you to think carefully about what kind of relationship feels right for you and to communicate that clearly from the start. "If you don't set clear boundaries or really stick to them, you can quickly cross them," warns Ariel. However, sometimes that's easier said than done - especially with jobs that take a lot of time and effort. “We spend 40 hours or even more at the desk. So it is quite natural that we long for a feeling of solidarity with our boss. "
Aside from setting limits, Ariel recommends listening to your own gut instinct. "If something feels weird, you shouldn't ignore it," she says. “Don't be afraid to open your mouth and don't tell yourself that you“ deserve ”it for whatever reason.” Or to put it another way: It is not automatically your fault if the initially friendly relationship develops in a strange or dangerous direction . So keep your eyes peeled to avoid accidentally ending up in an unequal or even toxic relationship.
By the way, Tina only got out of the situation when her boss moved after several employees reported her for inappropriate behavior. But she still can't quite finish with the story: "It is naive to assume that your boss is supportive and professional and a good mentor - just because he or she is" cool " or has the same skin color as you. I have learned that the goal is not to become the boss's darling, but to do a good job and earn the respect of the other team members. "
As for Juliane: She was suddenly laid off because there was a large wave of layoffs in her company. At the moment she is unemployed, but the experience with her old boss helps her to find a job: “I look for certain signs during job interviews,” she explains. "I'm learning how important it is to trust my gut instinct - and when something feels weird, there is usually a good reason for it."