There may come a point in your career when you're tempted to quit a job. Maybe you've gotten a better offer at another company. Maybe you're looking to switch to a completely different field. Or maybe you'd rather venture out on your own and go freelance or start a new business.

Under normal circumstances, you'd write up a resignation letter, give your two weeks' notice, and make your exit gracefully. But what happens if your boss happens to be a friend of yours -- meaning, someone you actually socialize with outside the office and have a non-work relationship with as well? In that case, quitting on that person isn't so easy. Here's how to pull it off without damaging your friendship.

Two men sitting across from each other at desk


1. Don't spring the news on your boss

Typically, 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. Assuming your relationship is such that your boss won't retaliate upon hearing that you're looking to leave, don't just give your obligatory two weeks of notice and call it a day. Rather, tell your boss a month or two in advance if possible that you're seeking to make a change. Even if there's no actual offer on the horizon, you can let your manager know you'll be looking and that you don't want the news to come as a shock. Your boss may be disappointed, but he or she will no doubt appreciate your candor.

2. Offer your boss ongoing support

Normally, once you leave a job, you're not really obligated to continue offering your services to your former employer. But when your boss is a friend, it pays to make an exception by not only pledging to help out as needed after you depart, but by actually making good on that offer. Your boss may or may not take you up on it, but the gesture will really help preserve your relationship.

3. Be careful when talking about your new job

Normally, there's nothing wrong with discussing a new job with a friend. But when that friend is your former boss, the topic may be touchy. Therefore, tread lightly. Let your old boss be the one to open up that discussion, and keep his or her feelings in mind before you go on and on about how happy you are with your new arrangement. If your old manager is really a good friend, he or she will be genuinely happy to hear that you're happy -- but you don't want to run the risk that you'll end up opening an old wound.

Quitting a job is never easy, but when you're friends with your boss, it gets even trickier. Give ample notice, offer ongoing support, and be careful when talking about your new job once you've left your old one behind. With any luck, you'll get through that transition with your friendship strong and intact.