1

I have been working at this office for quite sometime. I would get a chance to meet my boss the next month, for the first time. There are chances that it would be a one to one meeting with him. I have prepared myself as to what professional talk I can have with him.

The main point is : I have heard from a very reliable source that he is getting married in the same month. I was wondering if I could congratulate him on that. He must be 33-34 years old. Will I be crossing my boundaries if I get this personal?

5

If the boss brings it up, then certainly congratulate him. If the discussion stays on work, then don't direct it elsewhere. That way, the boss gets to decide if he wants to talk about his personal life.

Some people do like to be more open about their life outside work, and some do not. By following the leading of the boss, you will also be able to keep him comfortable, no matter his preference.

12

Will I be crossing my boundaries if I get this personal?

I would say YES, if you have no specific reason to know he's getting married.

Congratulating someone on upcoming nuptials itself is not crossing a boundary. People get married all the time.

The potential issue is how or why you know this. If boss has not made it explicitly public news, you're in a real borderline situation since he might not care and thank you for your consideration -or- he might wonder why you're digging around in his personal life.

There's really no way to know upfront, especially since you've never met him.

Of course, if he mentions it, for sure, congratulate away. That would be the expected response.

You might be able to casually get him to mention it by asking some innocuous and unrelated question like "Are you vacationing anywhere fun this year?" But don't press it.

  • And I would certainly expect the boss to ask how you knew this information. If you wouldn't want to share your source, then definitely don't bring it up! – David K Feb 8 at 17:28
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I'd be very careful. It's a tricky issue. Perhaps say something like

Oh, by the way, I heard you may be getting married soon? If so congratulations!

However be prepared to say nothing about the issue. It is very wise to "plan everything you are going to say", as you have done.

But put this in the optional category in your planning.

Secondly,

"I have heard from a very reliable source ..."

Reliable sources define unreliable sources. :)

But it is totally OK if you ask someone else, to check beforehand.

So, you would ask something like

"Say Mrs Smith. I'm about to meet Steve Jobs for the first time, is it true that he is getting married soon?"

That might be you asking your immediate boss; Steve's secretary; a colleague of Steve's that you know; or another relevant party.

(You do not have to explain yourself ("...I wanted to avoid making a faux pas") as it is totally evident why you are asking and normal to prepare yourself in such a way.)

Good luck!


Note that if you "do" say this and it "works", that is a very positive thing. It's great to show that you are confident enough with business small talk, to "pull off" an incidental social comment like this. It is much to your advantage. But you have to judge on the day whether to leave it.

  • If you approached me and asked "I'm about to meet X for the first time, is it true he is getting married soon?" I would be very weary of you. You'd be giving the impression that you're a gossiper. I'd tell you to ask X himself. – Abigail Feb 7 at 23:34
  • it's a great point @Abigail - you'd have to be clear that you are asking to avoid any missteps, not to gossip. Also - I'd say - "getting married" is not a point of gossip, I don't think, it's a civil basic: along the lines of "Which city do they live in" "What is Steve's surname". (If you were asking do they have VD?!" for example that would surely be gossip! :) )\ – Fattie Feb 8 at 14:25

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