Acceptable Behavior at Your Office Happy Hour

Posted by The Editors on October 17, 2011
Acceptable Behavior at Your Office Happy Hour

It’s been a slow week and all you can think about is kicking back with a few beers at the bar with your coworkers. If you’re new to the happy hour scene and haven’t been at your company for long, it’s best to play on the safe side and abstain from drinking too much. Remember, you’re not at college with your best friends throwing down flaming shots at the local pub.

Every company happy hour is different and how you act will most definitely affect how your coworkers will look at you the next day and every day after. And you don’t want to be the new employee with the reputation for getting smashed and leading the conga line. Yeah, it happens and it’s not pretty. 

But what is the point of going to a happy hour if you can’t let loose and have a little fun? It’s perfectly fine to enjoy a drink and talk about life outside the office—just be careful. Here are some helpful guidelines to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself right off the bar…err, I mean bat.

Limit yourself
If you know you can only handle a few rounds of beer before you start slurring your words, then it’s best to limit yourself and switch to something non-alcoholic, like soda or water. This isn’t college. No one is going to judge you for taking it easy. If anything, your coworkers will praise you for it.

Don’t let your words define you
No one likes a gossip. But when people are drinking, lets face it; stories are bound to come out and spread like wildfire. Here’s my motto and it would do you some good to memorize it. When in doubt, shut your mouth. You do not want to be responsible for airing or spreading anyone’s dirty laundry.

Show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Just because you’re partaking in post-work beer bliss doesn’t mean you can level with the higher-ups. Sure, we want to feel like equals once the clock strikes 5 p.m. but your boss deserves the same respect outside the office as in it. So no insisting on belly shots and keep the office talk to a minimum. This may be their sacred time to enjoy a glass of wine without children to watch over, bills to pay, and a house to pick up.

Forget about an office hookup
We’ve talked about how to handle the office romance but the office hookup is a completely different ballgame. It doesn’t matter how drunk you are or how smoldering that other person looks under the dim bar lighting. It does matter that once you get into the office the next morning, even though you may be fine with your hookup, word will get around the office and feelings can get hurt. This is a sticky situation and it’s not the kind of reputation you need. Just forget about it.

Don’t be the person that…
Fist pumps Jersey Shore style
Leaves the bar last
Picks a fight
Orders the last round
Hits on your coworkers
Reenacts your favorite Gladiator scene (Are you not entertained?)
Is last to settle your tab
Makes a toast before every drink
Dedicates the song “I Will Always Love You” to the one that got away
Ditches and doesn’t say goodbye
Flirts with your boss’s significant other
Takes shots when everyone else is content with a beer

Have you experienced any happy hour blunders?  Let us know what you would add to the list or offer up as advice.

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