Developing friendships in the workplace is only natural. You spend five days a week with your coworkers, so you are bound to discover some common interests. Moreover, a great deal of career satisfaction is attributed to healthy work relationships—and there is nothing wrong with that!

Where things get tricky is when a relaxed manner of friendship begins to blur the lines of authority and respect due between a supervisor and their subordinate. Sometimes, it can sneak up on you without even realizing it. This happens frequently in situations where a coworker is promoted to a supervisory role and all the sudden your buddy is now your boss. This can be uncomfortable for both parties until the new reporting structure becomes more established.

Whatever your situation, it is important that you do not allow the unspoken expectations of friendship to override the respect, responsibilities and protocol of your relationship with your supervisor. He or she may not voice it, but they need you to assume your employee role at work so they can fulfill their boss role. Like it or not, they are in a position that requires them to be objective about your performance, accountable to results and impartial toward promotions. And, you as their employee should regard that as the behavior of a good boss, not a bad friend. 

It’s a good thing to have the boss for a friend. Just be cautious about confusing personal and professional expectations—and always show respect!