Your relationship with your boss can often seem similar to your relationship with your significant other—it’s a delicate balance of give and take. In both instances, you’re looking for love (well, in your boss’s case it’s more akin to approval and respect versus a good ol’ spoon-on-the-couch). It’s great to go out of your way to impress your boss, but you certainly don’t want to look like a kiss-ass. How do you make her fall in love with you without weirding her out?
Remember the time you snuck into your crush’s dorm room freshman year, and wrote “Sweet dreams!!! xoxo” on his mirror with your prettiest shade of Clinique lipstick? He wasn’t so thrilled, and it made sitting next to him through Intro to Modern Lit pretty awkward. You’ve learned a lot about love since then, so you should know it doesn’t take expensive gifts or over-the-top surprises—that time you ordered an explosion of flowers for your boss’s birthday made people stop and stare…and not in a good way. Keep your gestures small and subtle, and take your cues from her. It’s easier than you might think!
Be Thoughtful. You know how much your boyfriend loves to sleep in on Saturdays after a long week? Think of how happy he gets when you close the blinds and sneak out for brunch with your friends while snores away in a quiet apartment! When things are in overdrive at work cut your boss some slack. Chances are she’s got much more on her plate than you do, and needs all the help she can get. Think of what she may need before she has to ask. Hand in work ahead of schedule, or follow up on small details so she doesn’t have to worry about them. Hell, leave a grande cappuccino on her desk if you start to see bags under her eyes! Your thoughtfulness should win you as much appreciation and loyalty as they do with your boyfriend.
Be Respectful. When out to dinner with your fiancé and his work colleagues, would you launch into an hour-long rant about how impossible it is to find a decent bridesmaid dress? Well, I hope not. Being respectful of your boss can often mean knowing your place, too. You may think you’re helping by chiming in at meetings with ideas and suggestions, but you may actually be undermining your boss, or even embarrassing her. Let her present your work, and support her by showing up prepared and alert. If she falters, just help her out with a subtle reminder or a note. Recall last year’s fiasco when your fiancé had too many vodka tonics at his company party. You stepped in with a smile and a firm grasp, and guided him toward the coat check. Be that same source of silent strength for your boss, and she’ll be eternally grateful.
Be Aware. Keep in mind that your boss is human, too—and she’s probably got a lot going on that you might not know about. When you get home after a rough day at work, the last thing you need is to be peppered with questions and small talk by your boyfriend. Give your boss the same consideration! If she looks exhausted, don’t try to go over tomorrow’s to-do list or ask her how to fix something. If she’s moody or short with you, don’t take it personally. Just like in any relationship, most fights start over petty things, and blow over quickly. So jot down the things you need to ask her and save them for a time when she’s happy and receptive. Trying to impress your boss in outrageous ways is for amateurs. Understanding her needs and personality is the real key to winning her love—and a successful career.