SURVEY SAYS: “Friends” with the Boss

August 19, 2013 ( – Last week I asked NewsDash readers how comfortable they would be with someone from the workplace “friending” them on Facebook.

The readers who responded were nearly evenly split between those who manage other people (48.3%) and those who do not (51.7%). The majority said they would be “very uncomfortable” being friended by their managers (63.5%), people they manage (62.3%), clients (61.3%) and vendors (61.9%).  Nearly 32% each indicated they would be “very uncomfortable” or “somewhat uncomfortable” if a co-worker friended them.

One-quarter of responding readers would be somewhat uncomfortable if their managers friended them, as would 18% of readers if the people they manage friended them. Nearly 23% reported they would be “somewhat uncomfortable” friended by a client, while 17.5% said the same about being friended by a vendor.

The most comfort with extending a “friendship” outside of work would be among co-workers, according to the survey responses. Twenty-seven percent indicated they would be “somewhat comfortable” if a co-worker friended them on Facebook, and nearly 8% would be “very comfortable.” Eight percent would be very or somewhat comfortable with a manager friending them, as would 11.5% if someone they managed did so. Nearly 10% expressed some comfort level with being friended by a client, and more than 11% expressed some comfort level with being friended by a vendor.

In verbatim responses, most agreed Facebook is not for connecting with people in the workplace; many pointed out that LinkedIn is for that. Some readers indicated comfort depends on the content that is posted on Facebook. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “This issue is one of the main reasons that I’m a Facebook holdout. Many lunchtime conversations involve mocking co-workers’ Facebook postings.”


Many of my friends are former co-workers or managers, but I try not to friend current co-workers. We see enough of each other at the office.


I try to be very guarded on who I allow on my Facebook page. The only exception I have is my current boss because we worked together in a prior life and connected while we were not working together (neither one of us are frequent posters on Facebook any way). Other than that, Facebook is only for close friends and family. For friends at work, I make sure I know them very, very well before accepting any invitations. LinkedIn is where all other professional connections can be made including vendors.


That's what LinkedIn is for


It all depends on who. Some of my best friendships are formed at work so there is a point when a coworker becomes a personal friend. Until that time, however, please don't friend me on FB.


I am "friends' with managers in my company, just not my direct supervisor. Although I never put on FB anything I would not say in person, I do think that out of work I would prefer a level of privacy.


I make it a rule to not be 'friends' with people that I work with. My Facebook page is for family and friends outside of the workplace.


Personal life and professional life just do not mix. YIKES!


As a general rule, people learn how boring I am. I was shocked to receive a request from my boss's boss. It seemed imprudent to "deny" the request - and I'm finding he is rather a pest, prone to making snarky comments. But what can you do?


This issue is one of the main reasons that I'm a Facebook holdout. Many lunchtime conversations involve mocking co-workers' Facebook postings.


I think only if there are personal friends outside of work...maybe not even then. The whole thing makes me feel like living in a small town....everybody all up in your business! Ick!


Current co-workers, managers, or people I manage: NEVER. While friendly, HR doesn't get to have "friends." After termination: of course!

Verbatim (cont.)

Not on Facebook- too public, no privacy-ever and Facebook owns you once you post.


I prefer not to mix work with Facebook.


I like to be selective about what information I share with people at the workplace.


People of the same age group and "rank" within a company I feel comfortable friending on Facebook, but superiors or subordinates is not a good idea IMHO.


No problem, unless I am upset at something at work and then could be a problem!


They already know everything about you at work do you really want them to know everything else about you? NO


I don't even have a Facebook account, so I don't have to worry about privacy from coworkers.


Not a good career move.


I'm just uncomfortable with Facebook. It's one thing to say something stupid or inappropriate in a room full of your friends, but to be able to post a photo or comment on the internet that you may later regret... it's a responsibility that some folks just shouldn't be allowed to have! Like Uncle Ben said in Spider-man: With great power comes great responsibility. 'Nuff said.


I already know plenty about the people I work with. I don't really care to know more about their person lives, or they mine.

Verbatim (cont.)

Not on Facebook. Like my privacy.


I had a Facebook account but when I realized I only accepted friend requests for family, I closed the account. I am old school in that when I go home from work, I don't invite coworkers, managers, vendors or clients to join me, even electronically!


LinkedIn should be used for any professional contacts in the workplace or with clients and vendors, not Facebook. In my mind, Facebook is for friends and family.


Just say no. That's what Linkedin is for.


I prefer to use LinkedIn for these types of relationships and keep Facebook limited to family and very close friends.


business contacts are not "friends" by definition. Personal and business should always be segregated.


I have strict rules: Facebook is personal friends only. LinkedIn is for professional contacts. No exceptions.


did it. big mistake. Unfriending was painful.


I vow to never utter the words..."when I was on Facebook"...Facebook is for my teenage kids, it is not for adults. It is a complete waste of people's time and it generally leads to problems. General rule should be that Facebook is only for people under the age of 30.


I have a strict policy to not interact with co-workers (of any level) on FB. I do connect with them on LinkedIn.

Verbatim (cont.)

I try very hard to keep my Facebook page limited to my real friends and steer work mates towards my LinkedIn page. I don't want my staff or manager making comments about something I did on my personal time - I'll share what I want when I want


Being in HR I don't believe that it's appropriate to be "friends" with employees. I need to remain a neutral party.


IMHO, work and FB friending do not mix well. I give my best efforts to the company I work for, and at the end of each day I have made money for it...a great business exchange. I like meeting up with coworkers after work or special person. I protect my personal stuff from everything else. Although I rarely use social media to connect with people, I consider it an extension of my personal life, which is off limits to work and those connected to that work.


I make it a practice to not friend anyone connected to my work life.


I am ok with being "friended" by people at work I'm actually "friends" with, which means about 2 or 3. As for the rest or a boss - don't even bother asking. Thankfully, they haven't!


I'm old enough to remember "party-line" telephones... seems we haven't made much progress.


We can be friends when one of us leaves.


I don't accept friend requests from anyone I work with or do business with - that's what Linked In is for - all business relationships are connected on Linked In.


A former boss friended me on FB. I didn't accept until he left the company. Although I rarely post to FB, also having your boss know what you're up to outside of work is just WRONG. I also don't want to know what my subordinates are up to outside of work.


It's not all or nothing. My comfort level is completely dependent on the individuals involved, not their relationship to me via work. A lot too depends on how one uses Facebook. Remember the old maxim about things you don't get into at work - sex, religion and politics? If you do that in Facebook, it's just as potentially harmful to those relationships. And don't think your boss won't hold your politics against you just as much as those inebriated pictures from your senior year of college!



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.
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