When you spend so much time in the same office, with the same people, five days a week, it is normal to form strong bonds and friendships. After all, it’s very beneficial for your work performance to have friends in the office. However, sometimes boundaries get crossed. For example, when your manager tries to be your best bud and starts telling you all about his private life and how his wife is a raging alcoholic.
How do you react to that? You do nothing but listen to him, it is your job after all, right? You never knew this was going to happen when you signed that contract- $2000 per month to do your job not listen to your boss’s pathetic life.
You can’t do that forever, though. So, if you feel like your boss is trying to push you to be his bestie, and you are uncomfortable with it, you should take the following steps right away.
If everything started with a friendly chat by the watercooler about the weather outside that turned into your boss calling you into his office to cry about his date going wrong, then I got bad news: you have a problem.
Well, not you really, your boss is the problem, and he is crossing boundaries by beginning this intimate and close friendship on his own. It is up to you to remind him of the line that he carelessly crossed.
All you need to do is create a distance right from the beginning - we are not saying you should be rude and cold, be warm with him but from afar. So, when this happens just say something like “Sorry to hear that” and with the first instance shift the chat onto a different topic; this should give him a hint that you don’t want to be part of this conversation. But, if this subtle approach doesn’t work, you may need to be more blunt.
You have a different relationship with your friends than the one you have with your boss and wouldn’t talk to them the same way, right? Similarly, just keep all the non-work casual conversations to a minimum when talking with your boss.
By avoiding talking too deeply or too often with your boss about your personal life outside of the office, you will let him know that there are boundaries that you both shouldn’t cross. If you do talk to him about your current dating problems or the issues you’ve been having with your flatmate then you are forming the basis of a friendship - if you talk to them about your problems, they will assume it is okay for them to do the same.
Just bear in mind that even if your boss is oversharing his personal life, it might not be ok for you to. If you talk to him about your obsession with alcohol they might subconsciously think you are not the right person for an upcoming promotion.
Draw a Clear Line
Of course, you can have a close friendship with your boss without crossing the awkward line of your boss wanting to be your bestie.
So, for example, you are invited to grab a drink after work with a bunch of others from work - that’s okay. But if you are invited to a Taylor Swift Concert or an upcoming movie then you need to think of an excuse to say no because that’s not okay and completely unprofessional. If you still want to spend time with them, you could change it to a more professional event such as an upcoming conference or seminar - you can still hang out and have fun while keeping it professional.
See Also: 3 Golden Rules of Workplace Friendships
Do you have a creepy boss that wants to be your bestie? How do you handle it? Let us know in the comments section below.