To Friend or Not to Friend: That is the Question

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Originally posted here.

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As nannies, we have unique personal relationships with our bosses and we face a controversy when it comes to whether or not to friend them on Facebook. I interviewed 30 nannies regarding the pros and cons of friending their bosses on Facebook. While some nannies prefer to maintain a professional relationship with boundaries, others think online friendship is beneficial to their relationship.

All nannies against friending their bosses on Facebook reported that it is important to maintain a professional relationship. They said your boss is not your friend and should not know what you are doing in your free time.

“Facebook is just for us. Once you open that door for your employer you have let them into every facet of your life,” says Taylor Greaves, a nanny in New York City. While you are always conscious of what you post, you have no control over the content that you are tagged in by friends. Greaves warns that “that picture of you having cosmos with your girlfriends from last weekend may not sit too kindly with your boss.” Greaves has a point. If you’re friends with your boss on Facebook, you can never complain if you had a frustrating day at work. You also may have personal information posted that you do not want your boss to know.

“It blurs the lines. There may be things I don’t want to share with my boss!” Anita Flynn, a London nanny exclaims. Your Facebook friends see many parts of your life: photos, posts, events, relationship status. The list goes on. Do you want your boss’s opinion of you to change based on what they can see on Facebook?

Julie Swanson, a sales and marketing associate at a media company, discussed why you should not friend your employer on Facebook, regardless of what field you work in. “I believe in keeping your professional and personal life separate,” she says. “This may be difficult as a nanny where you are in someone’s home and your personality and playfulness is a large part of your success. Even though the line is blurred, I would not recommend inviting the family you nanny for into your world outside of your job.”

Nannies who are in favor of being Facebook friends with their bosses also weigh in with their opinions. “Being Facebook friends with my MomBoss allows me to share pictures of her kids with her and her family. It allows them to keep up to date on their kids’ lives,” says nanny Kelsey Shores.

Another benefit reported by a nanny was the ability to check into places, which allows parents to know where you are with their child. It also serves as another means of communication to supplement emailing and texting. “We are Facebook friends because there is nothing for me to hide. We are like family,” reports Brittany Jefferson, a live-in Connecticut nanny.

743 people were polled in a survey on sodahead.com with the question “Should you be friends with your boss on Facebook?” 595 people (80% of those polled) said no and 148 people (20% of those polled) said yes. In a survey on theeducatednanny.com, nannies were asked if they were Facebook friends with their boss. Out of 35 nannies who participated in the poll, 21 voted no and 14 voted yes.

It’s clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this conundrum. Nannies, make the decision that is right for you. Weigh the pros and the cons to decide if it is better or worse to be Facebook friends with your boss. Do you want your bosses in the social media part of your life? Make an educated decision regarding whether or not to click the “add friend” button.

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