Work parties are always a bit weird. It’s a mix of a professional environment, because it’s the people you work with, and it’s casual because you know, you’re not at work and choosing to hang out in your free time away from work. If you’re not close friends with your colleagues, it can be especially hard to figure out what you can talk about that isn’t work. Luckily, I have a few tips.
Take advantage of the open bar:
That being said, if you don’t drink, feel free to skip this one! If your work is throwing the party or if you’ve decided to meet up for work drinks during happy hour, feel free to take advantage of it. However, there is a line. It’s not like you’re out with your mates and wanting to smash a few drinks before you get on the dance floor – you’re just having a few drinks with people you work with. Try to set a limit to how much you drink, otherwise you might end up doing something stupid and be gossiped about all Monday morning.
Try to figure out some common ground with your workmates:
It can be weird making conversation with work people. You spend at least eight hours a day with them, and yet when it comes to a social setting, you have little to no idea what to say to them. This is when using your memory comes in. Surely you must have heard some workplace banter about what TV shows they like, what their kids have been up to, what they do on the weekends, etc? Feel free to use this knowledge and ask them further questions about their interests! Just don’t be that person to bring up something really terrible that’s happened to them otherwise you might have spoiled the evening.
Make small talk with the boss:
Okay, so you’ve never actually spoken to them before apart from when they were demanding to know where that piece of paper you may or may not have misplaced about an hour ago went. But, if you’re feeling up to it, now would be a good time to approach them in a casual but still professional setting. Ask them how their night is going. If they reply with a smile, you’re all good. If they reply with a glare and a grunt, feel free to scuttle back to where you were sitting before. At least you can go home knowing you tried.
Try your best to be confident!
It can be super hard navigating the world of professional culture, and these events are usually designed so everyone can relax and take a break from that culture. If you’re feeling nervous, try taking a deep breath and then talk to some new people! If what I’ve described sounds like your worst nightmare though, feel free to leave after a few hours. You showed up and that’s all anyone can really ask.
Hopefully these tips will help a little bit when you have to go to your next work party. They’re really not that bad, just a bit uncomfortable at first. And hey, if you don’t drink, you can just watch everyone else get drunk and start the gossip come Monday morning. Now, aren’t you glad you went?