My boss has added me on Facebook. Should I accept?
Nothing is more likely to discourage open sharing, which is what social media was meant to be for. On the other hand, they are the boss
It is hard to feel that this is a request you can refuse. No matter how circumspect you may be about Facebook friendship, your boss may hold it against you. But if you accept, theres a chance your posts could compromise your career.
Its rare that companies dont have a policy around this, but what actually happens will largely depend on your workplace culture. If yours is the sort of office that is full of friends first, coworkers second, it may not make sense to keep them at arms length on social media not even your boss.
I know of some who will approve employees as friends but wont request them.
This was obviously not the approach of a former manager of mine, who added me while we were both at work, about three metres away from each other.
Had he looked up after clicking Add as friend, he could have witnessed my stricken expression. As it was, he stared straight ahead, which was somehow more off-putting.
I sat on his request for a couple of days for no other reason than to send an implicit message that I wasnt that happy about it. But I eventually acquiesced, because I didnt feel like I could refuse then restricted his access in just about every possible way.
This is the happy medium: the semblance of friendship, at least insofar as that is communicated by Facebook, without any of the confidences that go with it offline.
Go to their profile, hover over Friends, and then uncheck every category bar Restricted. You can further finetune by clicking on the padlock in the top-right of Facebook on desktop, then Who can see my stuff?
View profile as … is an especially helpful feature.
You may be reassured to find youre not sharing anything that compromising even interesting anyway.
In the years since my former manager and I connected, Facebook has become more of a public platform for many, and the average number of friends has increased. With it has come so-called context collapse: because people no longer have a clear picture of their audience, many are sharing less about themselves.
This is why Facebook occasionally asks those weird little prompts about weather and sport and your mood to get you to open up the way you probably did in 2008.
The difference is never more stark than when you are reminded of your statuses On This Day if they are at all like mine, a daily retrospective of staggering banality that I would never think to post now.
Today people use Facebook mostly to share links. This may or may not mean the stakes in accepting your bosss friendship are lower it depends on the links you share.
If it is important to you that Facebook is a safe space in which you can be explicitly critical of your employer, or enthusiastic about the increasing normalisation of the neo-Nazi movement, I suggest you do not accept the request (though of course other friends may take screenshots and bring the posts to the bosss attention anyway).
If you hide or ignore request, your profile will continue to show Friendship requested, which may lead your boss to assume you havent seen it. I believe it is better to delete or reject a bosss request outright, because it shows you have considered it and refused it.
In either case, if he or she brings it up, deny everything. Say you must have missed the request, you were hacked, you have never had a Facebook profile, its actually your mum who prefers to post under your name and face because of hackers whatever it takes to get you out of what will doubtless be an excruciating conversation.
But if you decide to welcome your boss into the fold, just remember: you cannot expect your behaviour on social media not to inform or influence their opinion of you in some way.
With that in mind, I encourage you to like, maybe even love, their every post.