Should You Accept a Friend Request From Your Boss

Mon, Mar 5, 2012

Internship Information

Being that 1 in every 13 people in the world have a Facebook account, there’s a really big chance that both you and your boss have one. Now, when it comes to deciding if the two of you should be “friends”, that requires a bit more guesswork.

On one hand, if your boss makes a friend request and you don’t accept it, it may send the message that you have something on your profile to hide; on the other, because it is your personal page that is connected to your private life, shouldn’t you have the right to not feel bad (or guilty) if you don’t want to make your boss a part of it?

If you have a “higher up” that has found you among the sea of Facebook profiles, he or she has sent a friend request and you’re not sure what to do, here are three things that can help you make the best decision:

Discuss it with your boss. There are many articles out about the fact that employers deliberately spend time on their employees profile pages to gauge a few things: how they present themselves, the kinds of things that they engage in and if they are utilizing their time on Facebook when they should be busy at work. There are even reports of people who have been fired for reasons like saying that they were sick and then talking about how much fun they are having at the beach on their status update. Therefore, you are wise to be curious about why your boss made the request. Don’t be afraid to ask why. It can put a lot of potential speculation (or paranoia) to rest.

List the pros and cons. The truth of the matter is that there may not be a ton of benefits to having your boss as a Facebook friend, but the reality is that if they really wanted to know what was going on with your page, there’s a possibility that they can just connect to a mutual friend or employee and get a peek into your personal social world that way. In other words, if there’s something that you really don’t want them to see or something that you feel would bring about some conflict on the job, you may want to remove it for safe measures, anyway. But, because Facebook is also used for networking purposes, one plus could be that if you, for instance, do freelance work, based on how you present yourself on your Facebook page, they might be interested in connecting you with additional business opportunities that they may have. Of course, in all reality, if that is truly the case, referring them to your Linked In account might be smarter. Either way, you don’t need a conflict resolution degree to come to a resolve and coming to a decision doesn’t have to be a major point of contention. Make a list of why it could be a beneficial and why it may not and let the side with the upper hand win.

Know that it’s your decision. These days, there are actually companies that require access to your Facebook page before even scheduling an interview. Even then, you have the right to accept or decline. But if you are a good worker, you’re honest and responsible and there’s no reason for an employer to question your work ethic, then if it’s not written in the employer handbook (in other words, if it’s not a job requirement) for you to be connected through social media with the people you work with, then don’t feel pressured to do it. At the end of the business day, when you go to sign in to your profile, it’s your page and your decision.

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