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April 30, 2009

What is the proper etiquette for partying with coworkers?


Personally, I make all my coworkers sign a waiver before drinking with me. But Heather, aka BiCoastalChickie, has some interesting questions on the subject:

I don't hang out with my co-workers very often, but when I do, I am prompted to ponder the etiquette of partying with them.

In my opinion, you should never get super drunk and ridiculous in front of a co-worker, because other people at work will find out. Everyone loves office gossip.

We had a college student working with us who had to take a couple of days off because she got into a drunken bar fight with an ex-boyfriend. She gained admiration from me for this, but I don't know if any higher-ups felt the same way.

Puking, drunken wardrobe malfunctions and bar fights are not cool in front of co-workers, right? ...

I also wonder what the invite etiquette is.

I went out with a co-worker for his birthday one weekend, and casually mentioned it to another co-worker the next week. It went like this:

Me: yeah, went out for his birthday Saturday
Co: oh, I thought he didn't have any big birthday plans
Me: umm... I think it was last minute, he just invited me Thursday
Co: yeah, I was talking to him about it on Friday
Me (silently, to self): DOH!!!

Meanwhile, it was open knowledge that another co-worker was having a big 50th b-day party for himself, and I wasn't invited, but other people were. Am I that uncool? I even jokingly offered to jump out of the cake.

So, who gets invited? Should all the singles be invited? All the youngin'? Anyone who has a hilarious story about a barfight with their ex? Just one or two people you actually like or can kinda-sorta put up with?

(Sun archive photo of the World's Largest Office Party, an annual charity event at the Hyatt Regency)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:00 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


I find that one of the best ways to have job security in these rough economic times is to be drinking buddies with the boss.

my rule of thumb is that you should always stay one drink behind your bosses. that being said, a lot of my bosses can drink better than i can, and i'm 25 to their mid 40 somethings.
although the majority of my immediate co-workers are closer to my age than the managers. we've always thought that when we go out, that management relives the glory days by drinking with us.

Unfortunately, you're gonna have less of a chance to hang out with your co-workers after yesterday.

Great topic. Drinking with co-workers is a real minefield, because they will always be co--workers before friends.

I will drink with coworkers/managers but never get drunk with them. If they are getting drunk, I quickly exit. I adopted this policy after a night of bad decisions.

maybe i just work with alcoholics then. not everyone who goes out stays till the end, but those of us that do, you can tell we're the "drinking isn't a hobby, it's an occupation" kinda people. there's usually a good amount of "keep your trap shut about what we did last night" that goes on.

@ richard - so true. pretty sad news.

I didn't think to include the topic of mingling your coworkers with your college buddies, as I did this past weekend... it went well, but there is always that fear of, "oh please don't let my college bud bring up that time we all played Twister..."

CantonKate - I also support drinking as a networking tool to make nice with potential future bosses.

Allan, I think your office and my office need to get together for a happy hour(s... they never are a singular hour). Sounds like a similar bunch of people.

Dealling with co-workers in a purely social situation is usually best approached like dismantling an UBX (unexploded bomb) because there's usually someone(s) who provides grist for the rumor mill, and great strides should be made to make sure that it isn‘t you.
People often don’t compartmentalize, i.e What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay or end in Vegas.

I work with a bunch of alcoholics at one of my jobs and let me tell you the crazy drinking stories are the best ones and they definitely spread like wildfire...

I don't make it a regular habit of getting drunk with my bosses but definitely a drink or two doesn't hurt and if things start getting out of control I'm out like a fat kid in dodgeball!

haha, sounds like you all work in media sales too.

i haven't had the pleasure of mixing co-workers and old college friends yet. i'd rather keep them apart as much as possible.

I try to take it easy while the old folks are still around, then the 3 or 4 of us who have actually become close friends over the years will change locations and really start throwing 'em back.

Close, Allan, commercial real estate... it's like greek life in college all over again.

Co-workers and old college friends can definitely get tricky, but my office is pretty good at keeping HH events private, so I don't mind much if my friends show up and spill any beans. We call it The Vault. When non-attendees want to know what happened, we tell them they should have come (they are usually invited) and change the subject.

Allan's lying. I'm both an old college friend and a co-worker. Liar pants. I also puked in an alley in front on one of our managers at the Christmas party, but it wasn't because of drinking. I was really embarrassed, but no rumorsor anything ever came of it. I think I picked the best manager possible. He may have clocked some alley time himself over the years.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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