5 Crucial Tips On Drinking With Coworkers At An Office Party From Someone Who Did It Wrong

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In celebration of closing a deal with a massive client last week, upper management rewarded the plebes with an open tab at a bar downtown.

As the most socially awkward intern/employee and chief filer of important documents, I wasn’t sure if I should go. I’m not on full-time staff and the path toward potential employment wasn’t going to start with me blacking out in the middle of the city. I was also attending a funeral the next morning, and the thought of being super hungover and singing hymns while yearning to be in a casket myself just wasn’t adding up to me.

But free alcohol is a hard sell and I can be swayed rather easily. So I went.

1. Start Slowly And Pace Yourself

I’ve never been to a work function drunk because I’ve never been employed somewhere long enough to be invited to a work function. So, treating your work bar tab like your fraternity’s bar tab is a massive mistake.

Pacing yourself keeps you drunk but present and sensible. Never order a drink until you finish the one you have. Avoid dark liquors at all costs. Don’t ask for a double while still holding a double. Drinking with the office is a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t want to be the first one to go down.

I probably had five drinks in thirty minutes. It hadn’t hit me so I hadn’t noticed, and I didn’t realize how drunk I was going to be until it was too late.

2. Have A Next Bar In Mind

You’re going to need a friend close by — not a coworker — who you can meet up with after hanging out with the office. This person can help save you from yourself. He or she can meet up with you at the bar or office and, if need be, can drag you out before you sufficiently embarrass yourself in front of everyone else. You need to be ready to move.

This is a crucial step, because if you don’t have one of these people within your vicinity, you could very well end up on your own. Assuming you fucked up the first rule and are toeing the line between consciousness and blacking out, having a reliable exit strategy is critical before drinking with coworkers.

3. Don’t Throw Up

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

4. Avoid Talking About Business

Nobody wants to hear the intern’s thoughts on anything business-related. You are just a meager intern with nothing to bring to the table except your Excel proficiency, your camp counselor skills, and that one job on your résumé you lied about because your uncle said he would cover for you if anyone called.

5. Don’t Black Out

Probably the most important and most obvious tip. I am not a belligerent drunk. At least I don’t think I am. I’m actually a very quiet, reserved person. But when I black out, I’m not sure what happens. I can’t be held liable for anything I do or say. This is why you clearly don’t black out at an office party.

I don’t think I was belligerent the other night, but for all I know, I tried to fight my bosses. I have no recollection of anything past midnight.

I only have faint memories of being lost next to a dry cleaner store on a back road early the next morning. I remember bull-rushing oncoming traffic because I needed help getting home. Two friends confirmed that when I called them, I was lost and running at cars trying to get them to stop. They also said I had been thrown out of a bar, which is not a good sign.

I’m still not sure how I made it home. I have no Uber or Lyft receipts in my inbox. The only thing I have are two massive bruises on my legs and a couple holes in my pants. I clearly cut myself on something, because my pants are pretty bloody.

I want to know what happened, but I don’t want to face any of my coworkers. I was waiting on Saturday for an email thanking me for all of my hard work before letting me go, but it hasn’t come — yet.

I called in sick today. That’s how I have time to write this. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to go back to work. I’m sure they will all have horrifying stories for me.

Take my advice. No hard liquor at office bar tabs. Just grab a couple of beers and call it a night.

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