Miss Debrett on... Work and Play
The point at which work and social
life intersect can be very challenging
territory. Of course, you spend hours
every day closeted with your colleagues
and - unless your office is run by a
Dickensian overseer - you will
inevitably spend a certain
amount of time talking
topics. You will have a
reasonable idea of where they
live, whether they're married,
number of children, holiday
destinations, weekend activities.
You will be intimately acquainted with their wardrobe, their food preferences, their moods, quirks and indulgences.
But, in the majority of cases, your colleagues are not your friends. They exist in a strange parallel universe where it is understood that quasi-friendships will be maintained for the sake of office harmony. This strange state of affairs comes to a head when the barrier between work and social life breaks down - office parties, Christmas lunches, business trips.
On these occasions, undoubtedly aided by alcohol, the precarious barriers can be breached, with interesting consequences. Reticence evaporates, tongues loosen, confidences and gossip are exchanged, revelations are made. Frequently, and most embarrassingly of all, sexual inhibitions begin to dissipate, and the evening ends in a flurry of passes and unexpected liaisons.
The morning after an office social debacle can be an excruciating affair. The dimly-remembered indiscretions of the night before are the water-cooler and coffee-machine gossip-fodder of the morning after. Walking into an office after an unfortunate social performance takes reserves of insouciance and chutzpah that many of us simply don't possess.
So, remember the limitations of office life. Save your wildest, most uninhibited behaviour for your friends, and ration your intake of the demon drink at the work social. You may come across as demure and self-contained, but at least you'll be able to hold your head up the following morning.
Miss Debrett's Top Tips
- Remember that your colleagues aren't always your friends, even though you spend large amounts of time with them every day.
- Watch what you drink and know when to stop. It's likely that you'll regret getting romantic with a workmate after a few drinks.
- Be bright and breezy the following day. Conceal all evidence of a hangover and mainain your professional gloss.