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A Friend At Work

Thursday, March 08, 2018

We all need a best friend at work; someone with whom we can gossip and eat lunch, one who shares in our joys and sorrows. But, how about befriending your own boss? Trisha Ghoroi tells you how to overcome the barrier and become friends with your boss

It’s easy to befriend a co-worker since you have many things in common. Working on the same team and coming from the same academic background, you will find a connection through talks about college, you’ll help each other out with projects or you might even complain about your boss. Aren’t these the reasons we all have a bestie at work? But, there’s no reason you can’t befriend your boss. Yes, it is possible, and no, you won’t be labelled the boss’s pet. Here’s how to go about it.

GET TALKING

Conversations have a way of flowing, and if you’re trying to make the conversation casual, it’s better to let your boss take the first step. You can broach a clichéd topic like the weather or the cricket match that the whole country watched; all you need to do is get the ball rolling. And, after it becomes clear that your boss is open to the occasional non-work conversation, you can strike up a discussion with them more easily.

COMMON GROUND

It’s easier to befriend someone who shares common interests with you, but to know about your boss’s likes and dislikes, you will have to talk to them about something other than work. Broach casual subjects. Once you start talking, you’ll learn what your boss likes and you might even find that you have something in common. Maybe the both of you follow the same TV series or have a fondness for Italian food. Strike up a conversation every now and then about something they like, and in no time you will develop a good rapport with your boss. Slowly the lines of boss and employee will get blurred and new friendships will emerge.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

If you are friendly with your boss, it might be tempting to involve them in office gossip or share stories about the crazy weekend party you attended, but you need to know where to draw the line. They are still your boss and their decision may be final in matters pertaining to work. Refrain from discussing what other employees talk about behind her back or how everyone hates those silly jokes he keeps cracking. You don’t want to be the mole your boss uses to spy on the rest of the office, do you? Even when talking about yourself, don’t share too much information. It’s best if your boss doesn’t know that you plan to attend a late-night party on a Sunday. They would know exactly why you’re late the next day.

THE SOCIAL WORLD

Social media is one of the best platforms to make friends with someone whom you’re intimidated to talk to in person. You could follow your boss on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, but then you’ll have to be mindful about what you’re posting. If you leave office early for a “doctor’s appointment”, you might want to think before going on social media and “checking in” to the restaurant you’re actually visiting. Comments on Facebook are also visible to your friends, so think twice before tagging a friend on a ‘how to ignore your boss’ meme.

THE OTHER SIDE

So, you’re friends with your boss. That’s great! But how do your co-workers feel about it? Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy friendships on both the ends.

Sour grapes

Once you’re friends with your boss, you don’t want things to turn sour; your job could suffer. If your boss’s beliefs or morals are vastly different from yours, it’s best to avoid discussing such matters as this could lead to tensions at the workplace. It’s best that you keep politics and religious topics out of the conversation and think twice before giving an opinion.

Boss’s favourite

Your co-workers could make fun of you for being the boss’s best friend, but things can turn sour if you actually get perks for being on your boss’s good side. Make sure not to ask for favours from your boss or you could be the topic of office gossip next.

The middle man

Your colleagues or your boss could try to extract information from you about the other side. Whenever such a topic is on the table, excuse yourself from the conversation or simply refuse to leak sensitive info.

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