Happy Hour Etiquette: How to Behave at After-Hours Functions

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means countless office holiday parties are just around the corner. Attending a work holiday party or happy hour can be a fun way to engage and network with coworkers in a relaxed setting. However, if you imbibe too much, it’s also a good way to torpedo your career. No matter how festive the atmosphere, remember that your actions affect your professional reputation.

Attending a holiday party or happy hour does not require you to consume alcohol. Although many of your coworkers may be drinking, don’t skip an event just because you don’t drink — your absence will be noted. You can still generate lively discussion and enjoy yourself with a soda or water in-hand. If some of your colleagues get a little too tipsy and you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to leave early.

If you do drink, follow this simple guidelines to ensure you socialise in style:

Pace yourself

If you choose to drink, you should eat a snack before you arrive at the happy hour, or be sure to partake of the hors d’oeuvres that are served at the start of the event. Never drink on an empty stomach. Have a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage to stay hydrated and pace yourself. If you know that you can’t handle your liquor, or if you have had adverse reactions in the past, abstain from all alcohol. You are not in college anymore — nobody will mind if you don’t drink, just as nobody will praise you for downing the most beer. And remember, even if your supervisor or coworkers are drinking heavily, that doesn’t give you permission to do the same. Drink in moderation.

Know your limits

Make your exit at an appropriate time and be sure to thank whoever organized the outing while saying your goodbyes. If you imbibe too much and begin to feel tipsy, leave. It’s better to miss out on the end of the party than to embarrass yourself. Being drun