5 Things To Do Right Away When Your Friend Becomes Your Boss

5 Things To Do Right Away When Your Friend Becomes Your Boss


The work dynamic has changed, be careful.

By Marianne Garvey

Your friend just got a promotion, and is now your boss. Think everything will stay the same? It’s won’t, so here’s what to do if the situation ever arises where the person you used to lunch and complain with is now giving you orders. What you discuss will also be under a microscope. 

Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore gives some advise on what to do if your situation changes and you find yourself in the awkward position of being your friend’s underling.

1. Suck up.

Not really, but be sure to say congratulations. “After all, it never hurts to stay on the boss’s good side,” says Whitmore.

2. If you are jealous, grow up.

Get over it. It just wasn’t meant to be. Make the best of the situation and make yourself indispensable.

3. Expect some changes.

Just be supportive and you will eventually be rewarded in the long run.

4. What if there is tension?

Treat it like any other working relationship—with respect and good judgement. Choose your battles and keep the lines of communication open.

5. Don’t whine to them, and don’t get too drunk.

Do you still confide in them about work complaints? Do so judiciously, but don’t be a whiner. It’s important to be social with your co-workers, but just know that you must keep it professional.

Career coach Pamela Weinberg says the underling should get in front of the situation right away. 

“Transparency and communication will be most important,” she says. “Sit down with your friend and discuss the ‘ground rules’ about how you will work together in your new roles.”

Jealously is normal and expected, but you must be respectful, she says, and deal with the relationship on a more professional level.

“Probably best to find another confidante about work complaints, but to be extra careful about complaints regarding your new boss/friend,” she says. “Others will be watching you and some more competitive colleagues might relish repeating your complaints to your friend. Wise to be extra careful.”

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