The Company Party. It could potentially be a career progressing paradigm or it could be a gossip filled tirade of regret. Drinking with your colleagues isn’t really escapable, so read on and know what you should and shouldn’t do.
The age old adage tells us not to mix business and pleasure, but in all honesty, you don’t have a choice. If you never show for office parties, you will be viewed as that one weird colleague who has five cats at home. If you’re that one guy who’s always going for happy hour, you will be viewed as that one colleague who parties all the time and whose drink of choice is a Jagermeister. So what should you do in this Catch-22?
BEFORE THE ALCOHOL KICKS IN
This is the conversation that you will most likely have before the alcohol kicks in:
Colleague: “How’s it going?”
You: “It’s going well, how’s it going for you?”
Colleague: “It’s going well too.”
— Silence for around 5-10 seconds while both of you nod —
Colleague: “So what’s new?”
You: “Oh you know, same stuff, just working. What’s new with you?”
Colleague: “Nothing much, same old same old.”
This is when the conversation gets awkward because both people are trying to be polite but don’t know what to say exactly, and the weird thing is that you both acknowledge it but feel obliged for some strange social reason to continue the conversation (I don’t think Charles Darwin accounted for this social dynamic, but then again he was probably the guy with five cats at home). Moving on.
At this point you’ve probably had a few sips of your gin and tonic and thus the alcohol hasn’t kicked in yet. You also probably have your opinions of the person you’re talking to, about the company you work for, and how monotonous life can be on this fine Thursday evening. So what do you do? Well, before the alcohol kicks in, feign interest. Be social, ask about their lives, ask about their weekends, then ask them about their lives some more, then ask them if they want a drink and escape to the bar; because buying someone a drink is sometimes better than actually talking to that someone! Crazy how life is right? So then you rinse and repeat the process until you feel the buzz.
AFTER THE ALCOHOL KICKS IN
Once you start feeling the buzz, that’s when you should start remembering what your wiser and more regret-filled elders told you: don’t mix business with pleasure. Generations past don’t call alcohol truth serum for no reason. When people are under the influence of alcohol, their sense of inhibition diminishes. And when your sense of inhibition starts diminishing, you can get inconsequential. Never do this at an office party. It’s okay to drink, it’s even okay to get drunk, but don’t trash the company you work for! Not because your colleagues won’t agree with you, not even because what you’re saying isn’t true, but because there is always that one person that’s in the peripheries.
What type of person am I referring to? There is always that one individual who is really nice to everyone, never says a damning thing about anything or anybody, never gives an opinion that isn’t one of conformity, then when they have a chance, they’ll gossip behind your back about what you said and did. Yes, never let loose in an office party because people like this exist, and these people can ruin your reputation.
So, at an office party:
- Do attempt to tell jokes – because even if the joke fails, you’ll be buzzed so it’ll still be funny.
- Do be generous – no one likes the guy that bums free drinks all the time. No one likes the dude that splits the bill in a crowded bar. No one likes the little boy that asks for 17 dollars back just so they can keep the 20 dollar bill. Buy rounds or tend to your cats at home.
- Do welcome all colleagues – even the ones you may dislike. Because maybe after you share a few libations with them, they may become a lot more likable.
DON’T DO THIS
- Don’t debate – don’t debate about stuff, save it for another day. Don’t talk about the Trickle Down Theory, don’t talk about politics, and most importantly, don’t try to convince someone else that your opinion is better. No one cares and if they do, they are pretending. Trust me.
- Don’t be a bro – leave the greek life in college. No shotgunning beers, no shots of Jager, no Bud-lites, and no forcing others to drink. Don’t be a bro, bro.
- Don’t be the last one to leave – because this most likely means you’ll be hungover the next day and won’t have the basic motor skills to carry a boring conversation in the work elevator. Also, because that one annoying colleague is still in the corner judging you silently.