Last Monday as I was coming into work I glanced at my phone and found I had a new friend request on Facebook. As I delved further I discovered it was from my manager. Uh oh, I thought.
I did nothing about it then, wanting to think about it more. It was an inconvenience. No matter what I decided – to accept the request, or reject it – it was an uncomfortable and awkward situation.
I’m friendly with my manager, but then I’m friendly with most people. I might have a reputation for being a hard arse, but separate to that I’m pretty affable, and occasionally expansive. She has said before how she enjoys my banter, which really is not much more than some outspoken cheek with a bit of wit. I think she likes the sort of man I am. For the most part we get on fine, but I wouldn’t describe her as anything close to being a friend.
I had resigned myself to accepting her request when I went back to my Facebook at lunchtime. Knock her back and potentially I put my manager offside. Accept her request she gets access to my updates and contacts, but, I thought I could curate that perhaps, and anyway I don’t post much to Facebook (these days it’s not much more than updates of my Quora posts). On reflection, accepting her request was possibly the lesser of two evils – except when I went to click on accept the request had disappeared.
Interesting, I thought, she’s withdrawn her request already. It was as if she was herself uncertain as to whether it was appropriate to friend me and decided it wasn’t. It let me off the hook.
From there though I seemed to be in the bad books. There was a distinct change of attitude towards me, as if I had rejected her. I wondered if I was imagining it, or if there were other reasons. Then in a meeting on Wednesday I contradicted something she’d said. She’d been saying it for weeks and I’d let it go not wanting to make a big deal out of it. Then I was asked directly about it and I was honest, dismissing what she had said and explaining why it was wrong. It was perhaps not the most diplomatic thing to do, but none of it was incorrect.
After that I was in no doubt that I was in trouble. I cocked an eyebrow at that, but let it go.
Then yesterday browsing Facebook I saw that the request had popped up again. Was it a new request? Or was it the same one – it seems to me sometimes that Facebook appears and disappears things randomly. I faced the same dilemma all over again. I sighed. I waited an hour or two and accepted it.
Today I’m back in the good books. Maybe it’s just because it’s a new week. I don’t really believe managers should engage in social media with their staff, but then maybe that’s just a sign of how old school I am. We’re buddies now and that’s all there is to it.