Work is already, well, work, so don’t make it harder on yourself by creating an awkward or unpleasant situation at your next company hangout.
Even if you’re thinking, “My office isn’t full of sticklers. We’re buddies!” There are certain lines you should never cross if you want to create a *sustainable*, friendly work environment.
Follow these dos & don’ts and share them with your coworkers to save everyone a quarter, or year’s worth of awkward moments:
Do pace yourself.
Alcohol can disinhibit us and remedy some of the awkwardness of a new or unusual social situation (i.e. partying with your boss or new coworkers). The thing is, sometimes you should feel a little inhibited, especially in a situation that could affect your career. So when you reach for that next liberating Cuba Libre, remember that your coworkers can help or hinder your career, and proceed with caution.
Don’t ask too many personal questions.
There’s a fine line between caring and being nosy. How can you make sure you won’t cross it? Making friends is, in some measure, the mutual divulging of personal information, but you have to let it happen naturally. Building trust and making friends takes time, so use tact and judgment around touchy subjects, and patiently watch office friendships blossom.
Do think outside the bar.
Use your imagination to make non-booze-centered plans with your office buds. Try rallying the troops for a scavenger hunt, karaoke night, a potluck, company dodgeball, or group volunteering at your local soup kitchen.
Don’t cross a line with your boss.
Your boss is your boss–whether you’re in a bar, in the office, or on a hot air balloon, they’re your boss, and it’s crucial you keep a good rapport. Avoid telling your boss your deepest secrets, getting super profane, gossiping about coworkers or poking too much fun at them. No one likes an angry boss.
Do pregame the bar night.
No, not that way. Pregame with lunch or coffee to get a feel for how you and your boss or coworkers interact, before you put your beer goggles on.
Don’t share pictures or updates about your work hangouts without permission.
Even if they don’t strike you as particularly racy, don’t share any, any updates that could embarrass your coworkers or make your company look, well, ratchet. The internet connects us all, for better or worse, and it’s not for you to determine what your coworkers, your boss or the company want to make public.
Don’t dive into an office romance before you weigh the pros & cons.
Pam & Jim make it look easy, but an office romance can get hairy and make you look unprofessional if you don’t handle it with care. Beware of sparking a new flame at the office party, just because it “feels right”. If you do decide to go for it, be sure to consult your company policy on inter-office dating, stay discrete and keep in mind that relationships are complicated and you’ll be working with your office bae through the ups and downs of your relationship.
If you decide to go for it, consult your company policy on inter-office dating, be discrete and be mindful that relationships are complicated, and filled with highs and lows.
Do go to as many office parties as you can.
Even if you haven’t made friends in a new company or department *yet*, kicking it with your co-workers will help you feel more deeply accepted and interconnected. Now that you know the dos & don’ts of office throw-down, get out there: forge new friendships, strengthen old ones and have a blast.
Have any office-bonding tips or horror stories our community could learn from? Share them in the comments!