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Your BFF & Boss: How to Work for a Friend and Remain Professional

7/27/2016, noon
Can you be friends with your boss and still remain professional? Yes, it’s possible but you cannot cross certain boundaries ...

Can you be friends with your boss and still remain professional? Yes, it’s possible but you cannot cross certain boundaries in the workplace.

“Know the difference and separate the two. Despite your boss being your BFF, when it's time to work, know the difference and do just that. Never decide you do not have to perform because the person in charge is your friend. It's because of that you want to do an even better job to make certain they look good and you're not taking advantage of the relationship,” explains business coach/speaker Chantay Bridges.

In the workplace it’s always business, nothing personal. “Treat them as if they were not your friend,” notes Bridges. “Yes, even though the two of you hang out on the weekends and you know all about their lousy ex-boyfriend, you should still treat them with respect and honor. You would respond as if they were not your friend and you did not know those things. Work as hard as you would for any other employer.”

What’s said in confidence as a friend is not to be shared in the workplace. It’s a trust that should not be broken. “If the shoe were on the other foot, would you want your friend to keep all of your secrets? Would you desire for the person to show up to work on time? Would you want to not have to ask them again and again about an assignment? If your answer is a resounding yes, then treat your boss-friend the same way you would want to be treated,” offers Bridges.

Of course, there will be times that you disagree in the workplace on work issues, but never take it to a personal place. “When you disagree with company management, disagree respectfully--you are friends, but you also must recognize their authority at work,” says life coach Erica B. McCurdy.

Remember your place in the office. Your boss may be your friend, but that doesn't mean you challenge her authority. “Never forget who the boss is,” Bridges advises. “The person may be your forever friend, yet never forget, they are also your boss. Boss means they have a right to ask you things, tell you things and request things from you. Do not take it personal or become offended, they are only doing their job. That's what they are supposed to do.”

Don’t use your friendship or brag about it in the office. “Do not bring your personal relationship into the business environment - in meetings and other professional settings, allow your friend to be the authority. He/she is not friends with everyone. Don't make it uncomfortable for them by showcasing your special relationship in inappropriate places,” says McCurdy. “Never, ever ask for favors based on your friendship - a friend should try harder than anyone else because they are not only working for their own success but also because they honestly care that their friend succeeds.”