By C. Patterson
Many times when the work week is winding down we are enticed to indulge in an after work happy hour or even worse a networking get-together. In a world where a candid Facebook pic or an ill-advised Instagram video can napalm your career, you may find it useful to learn how to successfully navigate the deceptively treacherous social terrain of the office bar scene. A little work etiquette after work may be needed.
Don’t Go To Every Event, But When You Do Go – Own It
You have to tread carefully as it relates to outings that can have ripple effects that can reach your bank account. As far as work events directly and events with co-workers go, you want to reduce your chance of screwing something up by reducing your appearances. Now remember, that doesn’t mean alienating yourself from your team. It just means choosing your targets carefully. The benefit here is two-fold 1) Your co-workers are happy to see you when they spot you from across the room and 2) They feel as though you have sacrificed spending time with something else to be there with them, which is always a good thing.
However, just showing up isn’t good enough. Be memorable whether it’s through charm, humor, style or hopefully all three.
Order The Right Drink
Every occasion has a corresponding beverage. Watching the game at the bar? Order a beer, but you don’t have to settle for just any beer. Choose something refined but not pretentious. Ordering a Stella Artois makes people think “hmm, maybe I’ll have one of those.” Ordering a Michelob Ultra makes people think “how did I never realize that I hated this guy so much before?” The same goes for cocktails. Keep your choices classy like a Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned. Leave the Fuzzy Navels and Sex on the Beaches for someone else; preferably the guy who wears the Hawaiian-print shirts on casual Fridays.
Know Your Audience
To be the most interesting man in the room you don’t have to be the one who talks the most. You just have the be the one with the best things to say. Only contribute to the conversation when you have something that actually contributes to it. Also when telling jokes and anecdotes make sure to not be the slightest bit offensive. Nothing is a more gruesome social suicide than making a witty remark and the whole place gets silent because you didn’t know John’s uncle on his mom’s side is 1/32 Cherokee.
Two Is The Limit
To maintain your wit and candor you want to make sure to not over do it. Think more Frank Sinatra and less Captain Jack Sparrow. Order your drink, enjoy your drink and order another if you must but then closeout the tab and leave a good tip. You are fully aware of your tolerance so avoid getting so hammered that you stand on the bar and sing karaoke to the boss’ secretary.
Avoid Flirtatious Drunk Co-Workers Like The Plague
Because you will be calm and collected you will be able to sidestep any potentially damaging romps by dipping in the office pool. We all know that alcohol lowers our natural common-sense mechanism called inhibitions, which can over complicate things in the workplace to say the least. At best it makes for some horrifically awkward moments in the copy room. It may seem like a good idea at the time but the blackjack table at Caesar’s Palace has better odds. Should you find yourself in the crosshairs of an inebriated colleague, deflect the advances as much as possible without freaking them out and making them feel mortified about it. If they maintain their dignity, you get to keep a happy workplace.
Exit At The Apex
Overstaying is socially as bad as over drinking. Your exit should be as polished as the rest of the night – not too early but certainly not too late either. Plan on hitting the escape button right after the party has crested and has shown the first hints of descent. It will always be to your advantage to leave on a high note and just so we’re clear that would be the note before all of your drunken horny co-workers start to embarrass themselves.