— Work It Out

These are the signs you have an unhealthy relationship with your boss — and what to do about it


Think about the most important relationships in your life and your boss probably doesn’t come to mind. You might think of your best friend, your SO or your mom, but make no mistake—your relationship with your boss is one that requires just as much attention and care. We’ve seen our fair share of movies and TV shows that depict a hilariously destructive relationship with a boss, like The Devil Wears Prada or Horrible Bosses, but although they made us laugh, the truth is, having an unhealthy relationship with your boss is far from amusing. It can really mess with your head and potentially wreak havoc on your professional life.

HelloGiggles spoke with Stacy Kaiser, Editor at Large for Live Happy, licensed psychotherapist, and relationship expert, who says this is a topic worth thinking about in a serious way. “Many of us spend more of our hours awake at work than anywhere else, and therefore it makes it extremely important that work is as happy and a peaceful place as possible,” Kaiser tells HG. “Your relationship with your boss has a great deal to do with that.”

If you’re unsure about whether you and your boss are on good terms, we’ve gathered some information that will be of great help to you. Because nobody should have to deal with crappy relationships at work.

Here are six signs you have an unhealthy relationship with your boss.

1You’re both highly critical of each other

A boss is supposed to help you improve your skills and strengthen your weaknesses. However, that’s not the same thing as constantly criticizing you, whether it’s to your face or behind your back. If you feel like you’re always under fire for your performance, or you feel as if you’re being too harshly judged, that’s a pretty clear sign that things aren’t great between you and your boss. The same can be said the other way around. Although it’s not your duty to improve your boss’s skills, being overly critical of them indicates that you don’t have much respect for them.

“Having the ability to appreciate one another for their skills and personality are important key factors to having a good relationship,” Kaiser tells HG. That certainly applies to your relationship with your boss. Not being able to see each other’s values means you probably don’t work together well at all.

2There’s a lot of distance between the two of you

You and your boss don’t have to be besties (actually, you shouldn’t be), but there should be a healthy rapport between the two of you. Kaiser says unhealthy conflict between two people can often result in isolation from each other, so interpret it as a red flag if you and your boss hardly speak to one another and it feels like you’re distant. “If this happens in the workplace with your boss it can impact your emotional well-being and productivity,” Kaiser adds. Don’t let the quality of your work decline just because you and your boss have some unspoken beef.

Kaiser recommends scheduling a sit-down session where you two can talk openly about what you’re experiencing. Make sure it’s in a safe space where you can be clear and direct—and don’t be afraid to have an unbiased third party come in as a moderator.

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