Does anyone else dislike office parties?

Sometimes I think I’m the only one who can’t stand 'em (besides my father, who is just a misanthrope). I’ve been at my current job for three months, and this Friday is the great-big-super-duper-happy-everyone-loves-it Holiday Party (it’s an all-day affair). Everyone here’s all excited about it. I doubt my absence would be noted, so I’m thinking I’ll use the time to do laundry, sleep in, and generally chill out. I hate forced socialization, and what’s more, I’m no good at it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a social misfit ALL of the time (I do have a relatively normal social life), but I’m still in the getting-to-know-you stage here at the office (where, since the majority of employees are twenty-something, it is one big social gathering), and I’m just not comfortable insinuating myself into existing conversations/cliques. It just boils down to not wanting to be pressured into being someplace I don’t really want to be.

::sigh:: Am I just a freak? Is this something I should work on?

Office parties are fun. This is one time when you don’t have to “pretend” your working around the office. :smiley: Get to know people you might just fun. Also learn some jokes to tell or just sit on the copier but have fun. Life is to short and the office party has bound to be better than LAUNDRY!

I hate office parties. And this year, ours is AFTER working hours. Like I want to see these people more.

I like to get out of the office and tend to my real life as soon as possible every day. If I wanted to socialize with people at work, I would do so individually, with the one’s I like (and I do).

If I didn’t have to go this year, I would definately skip it, but ours is a very small office and if I don’t go I’ll get harassed about it. :::sigh:::

Now, I have to agree with Lucky on that point. If it is after hours,(inotherwords your not getting paid to party) then they(office parties) suck! :smiley: I would rather do my own thing to.

How about this: In the next three weeks I am going to have to go to three work-related holiday parties; addionally there are other work-parties to attend.

  1. Team holiday party (approx. 12 people at a co-workers house).

  2. Group holiday party (approx. 150 people at a local nightclub).

  3. Uber-group holiday party (approx. 500 people at the Metreon).

  4. Product release party (approx. 150 people at a local pool hall).

  5. Application release party (approx. 50 people at a local pool hall).

  6. Getting to know everybody project kickoff (approx. 15 people at Boulevard).

I think those are all my parties for the next month. No, I don’t particularly enjoy them. At least when they are offsite we can have alcohol. Fortunately these are smaller, the last Uber-group party rented out PacBell park. I didn’t even mention the private-life parties in the next month and I don’t particularly like those either.

Count me in on hating office parties. They’re work masquerading as social life.

Hey, let’s face it, friends are the ones you choose to be around. And, cinder-hearted cynic that I am, sometimes it just plain isn’t very smart to forget that co-workers aren’t automatically friends.

My advice? Go. Don’t blow it off. It is work so frankly it’s required. Yeah, it’s a queasy bastard variation, but there ya have it. Keep your smile pasted on, your manners in place and work the room. (My mental game is to pretend I’m an alien trying to pass among exotic life forms. Can’t tell I hate this crap too, hmmm?)

It’s one day. Show up in body. It’ll buy you a free pass in the future. Honestly, if you don’t go it’ll be noticed a lot more, and rememeberd a lot longer.


I dislike office parties, too. Bunch of lightweights that shouldn’t even sip wine spritzers start hammering down liquor until they get to the point where they feel like “sharing.” Embarrassing oafs.

I make an obligatory appearance, eat some food, make up an excuse, and leave. (An appearence of a karaoke machine is cause for an immediate departure.)

I have been working at my current job for over 9 years. In a couple weeks will be the 10th “Holiday Party” that I will avoid.

I don’t like having to work with some of these people. Why the hell would I want to spend my free time with them?! (And have to pay for that pleasure!)

Office parties are the pits. I hate them.

That said, I agree strongly with TBeblen that sometimes you just have to attend, especially if it is held during work hours. Believe it or not, people notice. I was a personal assistant for many years for a guy who LOVED office parties, and I swear he used to give choice assignments to people that were good little campers and dutifully had a good time at the office parties. In some ways, I think he was justified, in that he wanted to give these assignments to people who were social and outgoing because there would be some elements of mingling with clients. At the same time, I think he really was being smug about rewarding people who played by his rules.

At our office, the company foots the bill, so we don’t even have the excuse of limited funds. We seen to have especially dreadful ones, with lengthy motivational programs (not a good combination with lengthy open bars).

Our company has had an ‘open bar’ for the last 8 years… What are you people bitching about?

I walked in to last years party late…
coworker: “Ssllla baarrrs ssooppen”
me: “What, was that?”
coworker: “itsssthz TANGGUERRAY!!!”
me: “Damn, I should have been here earlier. Now I have to play catch up!”

Omigod, oh, lawsamussy, don’t do this…honestly, no matter how excruciating the company or generous the booze.

This is not a party! It is WORK! Believe it, there will be pods, drones, backstabbers and grub-clawing moles around watching every move. That’s why office parties are a hackneyed joke. Forget “free booze”; stupid, but the price is higher than you can imagine. Order tonic w/ a twist, sip and look Bondish.

What you’re aiming for is bland invisiblity. Waft, smile at walls and count the minutes. When the noise level goes up, pick the head weasel, make polite noises and leave.

Office parties aren’t about fun; they’re stupid exercises in “corporate bonding” masking the usual bullshit. Show up, pass enough to get by, then leave.


The last office party I attended was really really embarrassing. We had it at a BBQ restaurant in St. Paul. Attendance was mandatory, until our scheduled end-of-shift. The managers watched.

They paid for the liquor, and we were expected to drink. I don’t. I felt very uncomfortable turning it down. Parties at which alcohol is that freely flowing are parties I don’t go to, or at least stay at long.

I am also a VERY messy eater, and it gets worse if it’s BBQ. (I love it, but the sauce n’ stuff get all over everything, and there aren’t enough napkins in the world to clean my hands.) Because of the Messy Marvin factor, I am very self-conscious when I eat in front of people I work with.

On top of that, I didn’t really like a lot of the people I had to work with. Socializing with them voluntarily is out of the question. Socializing with them mandatorily was worse.

Suffice it to say, I hate office holiday parties, and I left that job a few months later. Thank God.

I think I’m going to skip the office Christmas party this year. Some free food isn’t going to make up for the extra hours spent in the presence of my overbearing editor.

I get really tired of office birthday parties.
We have one nag who hits us up for $5 every week for someone.
Get over it. You’re a grownup now, and don’t need a card and a cake.

Hence… why I was… ‘late’.
Alcholic bonding in my company is stronger than the 9 O’clock tee off on Sunday mornings.
I can only wish I had puked on my VP’s shoes.

The first year I was on my last job, I attended the Christmas Party and the Family Picnic. The Christmas party was like so many others - the usual crowd sucking up to the bosses. I shared a table with my division director, but we managed to talk socially - about kids and travel and miscellany… I also disappeared just before Karaoke started. The picnic was worse - hot, badly organized, mediocre food. I never attended either event again.

Neither hubby nor I intend to have anything to do with either of out work-related holiday functions. I’ve already passed on participating in the pot-luck lunch. In fact, I’m kinda hoping for a party-free holiday this year… what a grouch I’ve become!!!

I work for a company that has a very strong “work hard, play hard” culture. Everyone goes out together to the same bar every week, which is filled with people from the company. I hate the thought of working for forty hours (or usually more) and then socialising in a bar full of company managers and staff. The best way I’ve found to play along is to nurse one drink, but mingle a lot, or to stay a couple of drinks behind everyone else. Leaving after a couple (“I have dinner booked”) is a reliable excuse.

Your approach depends entirely on your job’s corporate culture. I am afraid mine is closer to David B’s than TV’s.

We also have to pay our own way. Sorry, but I am not really eager to pay $30 or so to spend a couple of hours with people I really don’t wish to socialize with.

And I am not really good at pretending to be pleasant. So there is always the danger that I will err and speak honestly, thereby causing myself more damage than any possible benefit. At best, I find it uncomfortable sitting there and feeling so antisocial, realizing I have nothing to say to these people. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t particularly like them either. Strikes me as so hypocritical. For 363 days of the year, my co-workers couldn’t care less about my personal life (and vice versa). Now for this 2 hour period we are best buddies? Of course I have a couple of friends at work. There is nothing to stop us from socializing in any way we want, any time we want.

At least ours are during work hours. After hours parties are the worst - especially if they do not allow SOs. During my brief employment at a private firm, the common understanding was that the late night party was a thinly disguised ploy for the partners to hose their secretaries. I was planning on leaving soon anyway, so I took the opportunity to get hammered on their premium gin.

But I have been at my present job 14 years or so. So the degree of potential benefit/retribution for me is somewhat limited. I’m pretty much where I am in the office pecking order, and no amount of politicking is going to move me too much one way or the other. Might be different for a relative newcomer. If you aren’t paying for it, just go, be pleasant, and concentrate on avoiding embarrassing yourself. The idea of consciously playing a role is a good one. Many of the folk around you will be acting phonily - no reason for you to be an exception. Even tho people may appear friendly, they are not your friends. They are your co-workers. And there is a distinction. Don’t feel a need to “share” or converse openly and honestly.

Even tho you probably will not score significant points by attending, but you will avoid the potential of losing points as might be associated with an obvious absence. Pick your battles. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thanks for the replies! The jury’s still out on this one. See, this company has 250+ people in this office - my absence, I assure you, will not be noticed. In my last job, it was a 16-person office. I forced myself to go to the first holiday party at that job, had a good time, and had a better time at the second holiday party the next year. By that time, of course, I was pretty comfortable with the co-workers, and willingly socialized with a couple of them outside of work anyway. So, it’s not that I can’t have a good time at them. Of course, we were allowed to bring significant others to those…this one is solo.

This party, however, is particularly odious to me because this is a very cliquish environment, and while everyone is very friendly initially, it becomes clear who is on the inside and who is not after a little while. Someone mentioned the work hard-play hard culture, and that is exactly what it is like here – there are a variety of social events (sports teams, etc.) that you are actively encouraged to participate in. This is great for people who have the time and inclination, and is even one of the things that attracted me to this company. However, if you’re not one of those folks that participates in those events, or a regular drinking buddy after hours, you are most definitely on the outside. It’s like high school all over again.

I have had fun at office parties before, even when I forced myself to go. This one, though…I just don’t know. The idea of using a Friday we’ve been given off anyway to play catch-up after a busy holiday weekend and subsequent week is very tempting. After all, I have parties this weekend I actually WANT to attend!

Since college, my wife and I have had the opportunity to go to 6 Christmas parties over a 3 year period. We have yet to make one, and are proud of it.

If I want to chit chat with co-workers, I will do so in the context of a meeting. If I want to eat food that isn’t that good, I’ll visit the cafeteria downstairs. If I want to exchange gifts that I don’t actually want, I’ll go to a distant relatives house.