Social media play an important part in everybody’s life nowadays. It is you who decides how much information to reveal about yourself. You also choose how much of your personal life you want to show with your colleagues and bosses at work. Whether you call him or her your boss, supervisor, manager, line manager or just colleague, that does not matter, you determine which stories you will tell them. But, what do you do with social media such as Facebook? What if your manager invites you to become a ‘friend’? Then he/she can see all your personal photos and he/she gets a look into your private life. Maybe that changes his/her view on you. And besides, do you need Facebook messages from your supervisor? Especially when your manager invites you while you do not really feel like it, it can be very uncomfortable. And if you do not want it, how to deal with that? Follow the handy tips below and find out if adding your boss on Facebook is ok.
“I was shocked when my supervisor sent me an invitation to become a friend on Facebook after my first week of work. Especially because before I started working I secured all my profiles and even changed my name. But apparently he found me. Horrible. He really does not know what I do on my weekends. I had no idea how to handle this and just ignored it. I hope he does not say anything more about it. “(IT specialist, woman, 34y)
“I think it’s great to go out with my supervisor. We are very good friends and do everything together. And the photos then come on Facebook, just like it happens with other friends. I think that’s the most normal thing in the world. “(Consultant, man, 44y)
“My employer recently created a Facebook group and looked up all employees on Facebook and added them to this company page. I do not have Facebook myself yet, but I was kindly asked to create it “so we’re all on Facebook last week”. Can I refuse? ” (Sales team member, woman, 30y)
What exactly are the advantages of being friends with working relationships? People who add their supervisor on Facebook experience the work as more pleasant, are usually more loyal to their boss and show more respect. For example, a friend request can lead to a more positive view of the work climate. In addition, Facebook can also be seen as a place where the network of an employee can be expanded. This fact may also play a part in accepting the friendship request. As a result, the boundary between work and private life is becoming increasingly blurred.
Yet you can also limit the “damage” when a colleague or supervisor has become virtual friends with you. For example, you can block content for certain friends: you can choose to only make status updates visible and, for example, not show photos. The motto of Facebook, however, remains like and share, and you can filter everything out: do you want that? Always remember that, in the end Facebook is pre-eminently a means to boast about your great life.
Refusing the friend request from your boss
There are also people who feel that work and private life must remain strictly separate. Colleagues are not your friends, but your colleagues. You present yourself at work in a different way than when you are in the pub with your friends. You often behave differently when you are among different groups of people. This is also called the onstage performance and this is different per social situation. The counterpart is the offstage performance: for example, you are hanging in a training pants in front of the television, not too flattering. The most positive version is presented on Facebook. Yet you can check with yourself if you want to see if your boss sees those nice party pics. This can of course influence your onstage performance that you have in the workplace. It is possible that you would like to add one colleague as a friend. However, it may be to your advantage to determine where the boundary is. Is it okay to add one colleague, but reject the request from others and your boss? After all, they can look through the network site that you have become friends with that one colleague.
Friend requests can also raise questions about privacy violation. Certainly when accepting a friend request this could be under pressure. Suppose the situation described above becomes a reality: you become friends on Facebook with one colleague. As a result, other friendship requests from colleagues are flowing in and you are being addressed about your work. In this way you are more or less forced to become friends with your co-workers. Making everything invisible to them is impossible: they are very open to each other and talk about their activities on Facebook. In order to prevent situations of this kind, it is important that you clearly draw a line. It is also good to check with yourself how your behaviour on social media is. Are you someone who likes to complain about your work? Or someone who posts everything online in drunken moods? Then it is quite clear that you do not have to be virtual friends with co-workers. This prevents particularly uncomfortable situations and you remain the perfect employee.
What else can you do
There are a lot of things you can do, before making any decision. Here is a list of guidelines to follow:
- Do not react too spontaneously, but check what you think about your manager’s request
- Check with colleagues what the customs are in your group and organization
- If you prefer not to be friends on Facebook with your supervisor, you can simply ignore that request. You can also explain your motives. The latter is the better way, because you invest in your relationship.
- Your response also depends on the way you are invited. Via Facebook (which is an indirect form of communication) or does your manager ask you personally? In the latter case you can say that you want to think about it, because Facebook is private for you.
- Keep to the feedback rules if you say something about it to your supervisor. “Thank you for your invitation. I see it as a token of friendship on your part. However, Facebook is private to me and a little separation between work and private life is important to me. ‘
- Preferably use humour, do not make it too heavy.
- Invite him/her to LinkedIn and say that you want to build your business network
You probably have seen in the above that there is a fine line between going on Facebook with your boss or not answering the request. For some people it will have benefits, for others it doesn’t. I think it mainly depends on your personal relationship with your boss. When it is purely business, then leave it that. When it is more personal, you can consider his/her friend’s request. Share your experience here in the comment boxes.
I personally would never be friends on Facebook with my boss, even if this would adversely affect our relationship (which of course it should not). You need a healthy balance between work and private life. If your boss would try to break this balance, maybe it is time for another job or even better, start your own internet business. Read here my full review of the world’s best internet business support program.
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