Quit Your Job

My Boss Is My Friend and I Want to Quit – How to Leave Without Damaging the Friendship

Consider yourself lucky if you’re friends with your boss. You can enjoy open communication, trust, support, feedback, understanding, and the list goes on. 

However, a good relationship with your boss doesn’t guarantee that you’ll love your job and want to stay forever. No, you might feel that it’s time to quit your job and pursue better opportunities. In fact, a recent survey showed that a whopping 85% of employees want to switch careers this 2024

But this leaves you with a dilemma – “My boss is my friend and I want to quit but don’t want to damage the relationship.” Well, I’m here to show you how to leave a job on good terms with your employer. But first…

Read More: 7 Tips On How To Resign From A Narcissistic Boss

Why Quit Your Job When You Like Your Boss?

“You’re crazy! You don’t know how lucky you are that your boss is a friend.” This is probably what you thought when you first considered quitting. And maybe you’re right. 

A PR Newswire survey saw at least 57% of employees quitting because of a bad boss. Moreover, a Psychology Today research says around 60-75% of managers and bosses are incompetent and poor leaders. A good boss who’s your friend is a rare gem. 

So why leave? Kathi Elster, the Co-Owner of K Squared Enterprises, says:

The great resignation was more about individuals realizing they wanted a job that was permanently remote, or they were seeing opportunities for more money.

To spell it out for you, here are some reasons why workers quit a job even when they have a good boss or manager:

  • More pay. As prices go up, it’s only natural to want a higher salary. I mean, you need to find ways to provide for yourself and your family, right? 
  • Better work-life balance. Today, a healthy work-life balance is one of the top considerations when looking for a new job. If your current position is very taxing, you may want to find a more flexible, less stressful job that will improve your physical and mental health. 
  • Career advancement. If you’re seeking new challenges, you can feel limited or trapped in your current job. So despite your friendship with the boss, you prioritize your professional development and career growth. 
  • Mismatched values or company culture. If you find that your personal values or work style no longer align with the company or team, it’s wise to consider your departure. This is because, if this happens, the workplace may no longer bring you satisfaction or well-being. 
  • Looking for change. Sometimes, people just get bored of their jobs. As simple as that. They want to transition to a new industry or location. They want change. If that’s your case, then not even a good boss can stop you from broadening your horizon. 
  • Professional differences. Despite being friends, you and your boss may have professional differences or disagreements when it comes to work expectations, leadership style, strategic direction, etc… If you want to remain friends, then maybe it’s better to keep your distance before there’s a breakdown in the working relationship. 

How to Tell Your Boss You’re Going to Quit When You’re Friends

“My boss is my friend and I want to quit without damaging the friendship.” If you’re in this situation, here is the best way to tell your boss you’re quitting:

  • Talk it out face-to-face
  • Make your final decision
  • Finalize your exit 
  • Follow the termination notice

Talk it out face-to-face

The worst thing you can do is to say you’re leaving the job without any notice. To your boss’s surprise, you suddenly hand in your resignation letter. What do you think they will think of you?

Of course, as Maurie Backman from The Motley Fool puts it:

You’re not obligated to let your manager know that you’re looking to switch jobs until you’ve made your decision official. But if your boss is an actual friend, he or she probably deserves more of a heads-up.

Plus, it’s a good idea to talk it out in case they can make some changes for you. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with trying. And your boss will most likely try to convince you to stay.

Another thing. When you’re talking about something as unpleasant as quitting, it’s a good idea to hold a face-to-face meeting with your boss. It will feel more genuine if you talk to them instead of just sending an email. 

Make your final decision

After you’ve discussed everything with your boss, give yourself a few days to think about the conversation. Were they able to offer a solution? Even if they did, are you willing to stay in that job and miss out on new roles and opportunities?

You should also consider that your next career might land you a toxic boss. You’ll have to come up with an exit plan, too.

There’s a lot to think about. Our expert Kathi Elster says:

This decision can take many people a while – up to six months. But some people are quick decision-makers, and when they know, they know.

Finalize your exit

Let’s say you decided to push through with your original plan – you’re quitting your job. It’s now time to have that official resignation conversation. 

Yes, it’s never easy. But if you’re sure it’s the right decision, then no one can stop you. Now, if you don’t want to damage the working relationship with your boss, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t blame your boss. Let’s say, during your ample notice to your boss, they didn’t make much effort to resolve your issues or concerns. Don’t make it sound like that was your reason for finalizing your decision to quit. That might not go down well with your boss. 
  • Don’t treat it like a negative thing. Workers quit their jobs all the time. In fact, an average worker goes through 3 to 7 careers in their lifetime. It’s not the end of the world if you decide to move forward – so don’t treat it like that. For the most part, your boss will understand your decision. 
  • Don’t be dissuaded. At this time, your boss might still try to convince you to stay. But if you already made your final decision, you shouldn’t go back on it now. Remember, you have to do what’s best for you. 
  • Be careful when talking about your new job. It’s a good idea to have a new job on the ready before you leave. If so, then tread lightly when you talk about it. I say don’t open it up unless your boss asks. If they do, make sure you don’t say anything that might hurt their feelings.
  • Plan your departure. The best thing you can do for your boss now is to help them find a replacement or assist the new person in your role. 

Follow the termination notice

You most likely have a termination notice on your contract. Well, if you don’t want to burn bridges (and get in trouble legally), you’ll have to follow the termination notice you both agreed upon. 

Usually, this will mean handing over a 2-weeks notice. During that time, you need to finish up your work, help your replacement pick up where you left off, document important processes, procedures, and job responsibilities that may not be well-documented, and tie up loose ends. 

If you complete everything you’re supposed to do and more, you’ll be able to bow out gracefully. And no doubt, your boss will appreciate all that you’ve done to help them get ready for the transition. 

Final Words

“My boss is my friend and I want to quit.” This is never an easy situation. So if you’re facing this dilemma, you should first have a good reason for leaving. From there, you can tell your boss you’re leaving and not damage the friendship if you:

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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