Beyond Bravo

Should You Invite Your Boss To a Dinner Party at Your House?

It's a sticky situation, and one workplace expert has the answer.

Grabbing lunch at work is one thing. Having your boss over to dinner at your place is an entirely different scenario. 

Is your place nice enough? Clean enough? Will they think you don't need a raise when they see your nice flatscreen TV?Should you cook? What if the food is terrible? Order in? Should you drink? What will you talk about? Should you talk about work? Will they like your cat? Who doesn't like cats? Probably your boss. 

Workplace expert Alison Green says that it’s common to have second thoughts about inviting your boss and their significant other over to your house or apartment for a nice evening meal, especially if you have not socialized outside of the office at non-business events much before.

While inviting a subordinate to dinner could be seen as an unwelcome work obligation, inviting the boss could be seen as sucking up. But what if you really are friendly?

Alison says keep it in the office. 

“Well, some people do this kind of thing and all parties involved seem to enjoy it,” Alison says. “So it’s definitely a thing that happens. But I still wouldn’t. Your boss might feel obligated to attend, or awkward whether he does or doesn’t.”

It also blurs the line between the work and social lives of your employer and yourself, and that may not be a good thing.

“It’s blurring the boundaries in a bit in a way that isn’t great—ultimately, this is a work relationship, not a social one,” Alison says. “Your boss needs to be able to, for example, give you tough feedback and it’s going to feel a lot weirder to do that if he was a guest in your home a week ago. So I say no, and just continue to appreciate the relationship for what it currently is, which sounds pretty nice as it is.”

If you do invite your boss and they decline, politely say you understand and stick to having a pleasant work relationship. 

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