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Anne Zimmerman

Anne Zimmerman

December 22, 2014

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Being Friends with the Boss

My friend Amy loves her boss. She’s like a cool older sister who mentors Amy and tosses challenging projects her direction. In return, Amy shares the scoop on the hottest new restaurants and the best sales in the city. Occasionally Amy and her boss go to lunch and spill a bit about their personal lives.

Everything was great until Amy met someone really special and opted to keep the details to herself. Within a couple of weeks her boss was acting standoffish and Amy heard that she was miffed because Amy hadn’t shared her private news. Amy was dumbfounded. Sure, she loved her boss—but were they supposed to be best friends?
No. There’s a fine line between the boss and best-friend relationship, and it will serve you both well not to cross it—no matter how much you like your boss as a person. If you have become friendly, putting a little distance between you can be tricky. But if you handle it right, you’ll keep your professional and personal life intact.

Stand your ground. Even when it becomes apparent that your boss is dying to know more about your personal life, stay firm. Don’t be scared to stay quiet until you are ready to share. Above all, do not assume that just because your boss is your boss that you have an obligation to tell her anything (or everything).

Turn on the charm. Yes, you’re irritated by your boss’ presumptive behavior. But attempt to stay friendly and personable. Keep your daily interactions as normal as possible: Chat, grab coffee, and share funny e-mails. Just keep quiet about all that personal stuff you aren’t ready to invite into the cubicle.

Up your A game. Let’s be honest, part of the reason you may not want to tell your boss about things in your personal life is because you don’t want anyone to think you aren’t 100% focused on your job. If the gossipers at the office start wagging their tongues, refuse to engage or answer their questions. Keep your eye on the prize: securing the big deal, snagging a promotion, or just keeping your title as Office Star.

Nix the guilt. Remind yourself as often as needed that your personal life is your own business. You don’t have to share anything with your boss that isn’t related to life at the office. Just because other people at work practically send press releases about their weekend plans and recent dates doesn’t mean you need to be as forthcoming. Wouldn’t you like to be known as honest and trustworthy rather than the girl who tells all?