Relationship with boss - ok or not?(15 Posts)
My boss is great in lots of ways and we get on really well. Today though, i couldn’t help wondering if he’s reading too much into our work relationship. I’ve worked hard to get to my position and I don’t want to jeopardise it.
Before I launch into the reasons, I’ll just add we never meet or communicate out of work and nothing has even happened physically to make me concerned. I’m very happily married, he’s not in a relationship.
He often tells me how great I am, how confident and competent I am at work and how he’s so much happier in his job since I joined the team.
He talks about our connection (work together naturally etc). He treats me differently from my team, he’s harsh with them but he’s never disrespectful or rude towards me! The team have commented that he’s nicer to them since I’ve been there.
He tells me I look nice - not constantly but sometimes and he notices haircuts etc.
Today he shared some really personal information . The relationship issues he’s experienced since. Is that ok?
Is this normal or do I need to run for the hills?
Has anyone got a view? It’d be helpful to get some perspective.
I think if you're worried he's reading too much into your relationship, you had better drop some clear signals about being happy in your marriage and never bring able to imagine cheating etc etc. In a kind of context where that should definitely put paid to any hopes he may be harbouring, without you actually having to outright say to him "you do know Im definitely not interested in you romantically, right?" and risking making things awkward.
I think apart from whether he was harbouring romantic hoped towards you, I'd potentially be concerned how differently he treated you to other team members. If its a consistent/noticeable difference it could put you in an awkward position with your colleagues re being subject to gossip/resentment.
Anything is okay if you are okay with it. If it rings a bell you know that either you are flattered by the extra and different attention and liking it or that there is perhaps a difference in the friendship on his behalf
I have a work husband and we are very close. There is nothing remotely sexual about it although I suppose to some observers it might look as though there might be.
I really hadn’t given it any thought until the whole HW and associated situation has developed. I’ve been left thinking whether my own situation is ok or not.
In terms of treating me differently, I had always just assumed it was because I’m in a different position to the rest of the team, I’m more senior so he relies on me more. Perhaps that isn’t ok though?
I can definitely start talking more about my happy home life! That’s a good idea.
Maybe I’m being naïve, but perhaps he just has a great affinity with you? This could be combined with the notion that he may think you’re the most competent member of staff in the team, and may be why he treats you in such a way.
It is really lonely being ‘the boss.’ Often most people detest them (for valid reasons or not), they cannot easily form friendships with those they are managing, for fear that they will lose professional distance and respect. There is a lot of competition and mistrust amongst other bosses and senior staff too, which means that they often don’t get to make friends with these either.
I had a male boss a few years ago, and he was the best I could have ever wished for. He was a consummate professional, and a total gentleman. He had been the boss (Headteacher) at the school for 2.5 years before I joined, and unfortunately, the many of staff couldn’t stand him. Quite a few of the ‘original’ staff had already left when I joined, but there was a real hardcore who would slag him off and gossip about him - and quite publicly too.
I’d just been teaching in a dreadful school with an abysmal, unsupportive Headteacher, and my new boss and school were the complete opposite. I felt a real connection (professional, and like a friend - nothing more) with him, and I hadn’t been there long when I decided to send him a thank you card, thanking him for everything he’d done for me so far. I had a meeting with him a few days later, and he thanked me for the card, and confided in me that he knows he isn’t popular, and that my support and recognition of him means an awful lot. He told me that his confidence had taken a real bashing, and to have someone who believes in him comes as a surprise.
We shared a real affinity, and whilst we never flirted or paid each other compliments, I could tell he appreciated my quite unique dress sense, but more than that, he appreciated and valued me.
I have given quite a detailed outline of my experience, as possibly a similar thing could be happening with your boss. I know that if my boss had have been one of my colleagues, we would’ve become the greatest of platonic friends - just like 2 male friends I have already. Damn the bitch that is professional distance from stopping a proper friendship! I really regret that I couldn’t have a friend-based relationship with him.
Your reference to HW puts a different spin on things: I assumed you were happy being friendly with him but were worried that he might be getting the wrong idea. But now I'm wondering if you actually feel uncomfortable with the level of friendliness/attention full stop? Would you rather just have a completely professional, cordial relationship with him and do away with stuff like the compliments re your appearance and personality?
If you are more senior to the rest if the team he is probably relieved to have a work 'friend ' at last. He may think he needs distance between himself and the workforce but as you are more senior he is relaxed and can be friendly.
As long as it continues as it is I don't see an issue. Keep it professional but if there is any chance he has a crush refer to things you do at home with your DH etc so he knows the score.
I think from what you've said it does sound like he's interested in more than working with you.
I would start maintaining a professional distance. Red flags for me would be commenting on your appearance and telling you about his relationship problems.
By maintaining a professional distance, don't allow yourself to be social positions alone with him e.g. going for lunch/drinks. Try to mix with your other colleagues more. Make it clear you are happily married. If he starts to veer onto personal topics, steer the conversation back to work ones. Don't drink alcohol at work events.
Be aware of how your colleagues might perceive your demeanour. They will notice if you're being overfriendly or beaming from flattery. I think if he comments on your appearance, look a bit affronted. Make it known he's crossing a line that's unacceptable. Imagine if you were someone else in the department. How odd it would be for him to comment on their appearance. Hello George, I really like your new hairstyle. It's not on.
You will be the first casualty if things escalate. Bear that in mind. Start setting some boundaries.
Thanks for the responses. I think the person who said perhaps he’s relieved to have a work friend, this is 100% accurate.
Also, lots of what Argeles rings true. I actually really like him as a person and we do click on a professional level.
He doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable with the comments, but on reflection it probably isn’t ok. I’ve perhaps thanked him or laughed them off and actually, I think with some of the comments I’ve reciprocated in relation to thinking he’s great, competent etc. I’ve always meant it in a work capacity but I do wonder whether I blurred boundaries.
I won’t drink at all at the work Christmas event and also, I’ll avoid being alone as much as possible.
As I said, he’s never behaved inappropriately. He isn’t that kind of person.
I can turn this situation around, at least I can see it a bit clearer now.
Sorry for being thick, but what's HW?
Just to piggyback on what Argeles said, I've been a manager before and it can be really lonely and pressurised, so when you have a member of staff who you can totally trust and rely on, and get on with personally, you sometimes grab onto them like a lifebelt! They become the person you go to for advice or a chat.
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