Dear Prudence

Help! My Boss Won’t Follow Me on Social Media Despite My Multiple Requests.

I work in the world of social media management.

Woman holding her head, with an upset look on her face. A social media friend request floats next to her.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by maruco/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Q: Ugh Social Media Is the Worst: I work at a company where coworkers and bosses also become friends and it’s overall a decent work environment. My field is in the world of social media management, my boss and I frequently send each other memes and TikTok through text, sometimes related to work and sometimes not.

We’re both on the younger side and in general, the rules are very lax about folks being friends on personal social media accounts. I’ve asked if my boss wants to be friends on our personal social media accounts (sometimes it’s just easier to send things that way) and they declined saying, they prefer not to be friends on social media with current direct reports. This boss is friends with other colleagues and previous direct reports albeit no other current direct reports—until now.

We recently added someone to the team, Brooke. She had left the department/company and applied for a job on the team I’m on. Throughout the interview process, I saw that they were friends on social and they remain friends on social, even though Brooke is now a direct report. I asked my boss if we can be friends on social media now. They still declined and have said that since they were friends on social media with Brooke beforehand then that’s different. My boss said that they do limit the things Brooke sees on their account and that I shouldn’t take it personally. How can I not take this personally?! This really bothers me and also makes me worried about favoritism and exclusion as our team moves forward. What should I do?

A: Recently, several months to a year late, I learned what the command “touch grass” means. Allow me to share Urban Dictionary’s explanation: “Used when someone is doing something weird, stupid, or pointless. It means they need to come back to reality, they need to get some fresh air and get back in touch with how the real world works.” They include the phrase used in context: “Been keeping track of my crush’s snapscore. she’s most active on Friday, least active on Monday.” “Dude. You need to go touch grass. Get a job or somethin’, damn.”

You always know you’re really, really behind when you have to rely on Urban Dictionary for help. But anyway! It seems my education came just in time to respond to your question.

Touch grass. You’ve got to let this one go.

It’s really unprofessional to bother your boss about this. Next, if they do follow you, you’ll be complaining that they don’t watch your Stories or give you enough likes. Sure, if I were advising them I’d say, “Follow everyone or follow no one.” You are correct—that would be the right thing to do. And if you are truly worried about exclusion and favoritism you should be applying to new jobs and making a plan to get out of there. Absolutely. But for now, like I said, touch grass.

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