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Office Night Out - I'm really worried...

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I have my office Christmas day/night out this week. We're finishing work at around 1.00pm and then start drinking right through until the early hours of the next day (with a Christmas meal half way through). I'm worried about a few things:

The alcohol affect - I can't take that much alcohol (not as much as most of my colleagues) and it can affect me in a very weird way. If I feel left out of the conversation at the very beginning and surplus to requirements the alchohol can make me go into a shell and make me very depressed all night. If I feel part of the group at the start then it can make me quite happy. I also get very nervous in these kind of situations and my stomach can be so worked up that I feel sick even before starting and it has occurred in the past that I took one sip of a drink and then threw up in the toilets as I was really nervous about the night! I try and calm myself down but I'm so worked up inside. If by some happy chance I get through all this then the alcohol makes my head drowsy and I end up really wanting to put my head on the table and close my eyes (which unfortunately has also happened in the past). I am known for these incidents in work and only get invited to big nights out like Christmas as a result.

Being quiet - I'm also one of the quieter ones of the group and I never know what to say. Even now I can't think of anything to say to any of them as work is the only thing really I have in common with them. I do try and respond to other people but I can never bring up a conversation.

Trying to ignore being ignored - I have been friendly with a guy in work for over 2 years and we get on well but he is a lot more confident in group situations and there have been nights out where he hasn't said anything to me all night as he sticks to the other chatty people like glue. It's almost as if he knows not to divert his attention from them to me because then he might lose track of the main conversation himself. He'll talk to most other people individually but never with me. I get annoyed by this as I regard him as a friend. Last office night out I had I deliberately spoke to other people and didn't go up to him, copying his style, but it didn't work as I still got annoyed with him and the alcohol exaggerated that.

How can I last this day reasonably well? Please give me some advice!

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Tell the bartender that you are going to ask for a vodka with cranberry but to prepare it as a seltzer or water with cranberry juice each time. Say that you have to arrive at the party late because of a family situation, arrive in time for the meal, leave right after the meal with the same excuse. Do NOT drink alcohol - if you do, make it half a glass of wine or less.

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Thanks Batya but unfortunately I can't really do that as I'm a guy we will all be drinking pints of lager etc and mostly ordered by other people. I would be buying say 1 in 6 or 7 rounds of drinks. We're all leaving straight from work after lunch so I will be working in the morning with them and won't be late. I wouldn't want to arrive there when they're all full of alcohol and me not because I would be sober and it would make it even harder to mix with them.

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Thanks Batya but unfortunately I can't really do that as I'm a guy we will all be drinking pints of lager etc and mostly ordered by other people. I would be buying say 1 in 6 or 7 rounds of drinks. We're all leaving straight from work after lunch so I will be working in the morning with them and won't be late. I wouldn't want to arrive there when they're all full of alcohol and me not because I would be sober and it would make it even harder to mix with them.


Then what you do is smile and say that you are taking medication for an infection and you are not allowed to consume alcohol. Or, do not go to work that day- call in sick.

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I don't want not to be a part of it really as everyone will be there and calling in sick with my history would be too obvious. I am thinking of maybe having one drink for most other people's two so I would have a drink every other round which might help. Any thoughts on my other problems to get through?

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Hi Daniel, the trick is just to drink a bit more slowly and try really hard not to overthink things. I know this is hard if you're already nervous about the situation - you want to fit in and, I've done this myself, drinking the first several pints down helps at first. But if you know you've got trouble - to the extent you're asking for advice here - you should really just try to go slow. It's not a disaster to skip out on rounds - so long as they're not your own! So keep at half their pace, and try to talk to other folks who are quieter. They'll be greatful for it and it will keep you from focussing on your chattier colleagues. I've no tips for conversation starters, but things will quickly get more comfortable if you don't think so much. I know Christmas dos can be a nightmare, but good luck!

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Hey D,


How about taking very small sips while others gulp down their drinks?

Also, have a glass of water next to you and take sips of that instead so that it will appear as though you're drinking (alcohol).


Make sure you don't drink on an empty stomach and if you guys order something alongside the drinks, eat something -- preferably veggies and fruit.


Hope this helps.

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Hey Daniel05, as southerngirl says, you don't have to drink! just don't. it's cool not to drink. some people will be secretly jealous, i assure you, as long as you do it with a smile on your face.

and i would advise against any trickery such as asking the bartender to slip you softies, or pretending you're on meds, that sort of stuff always leads to more embarrassment and more questions, just say, hey, not my thing and try to very quickly divert the conversation away from your teetotaling.

ok you'll be bored stiff by 9pm when everyone else is talking rubbish and repeating themselves, but then you can make a discrete graceful exit. If it's hardcore drinking like you say, no-one's gonna remember whether you leave quietly at 9pm or become the life and soul of the party and drag everyone off to an outrageous bar for the party of their lifetimes!

good luck

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Hello Daniel,


I'd either just tell your colleagues that you don't like to drink, that will solve the problem for good (and if they're halfway decent people they'll simply accept that), or lie and say you're on antibiotics for an inflamed tendon or something like that.


As for being quiet: if I'm uncomfortable in a social setting, because I don't know the people well, or am simply having an off day, I ask people loads about themselves. Most people like to talk about themselves, so they'll carry most of the conversation, all you have to do is listen and ask more questions about what they're saying. Many people appreciate a good listener, and not everyone has to have the hilarious stories and the dumb jokes, so don't feel pressured to be someone you're not.


Hope all goes well for you!



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If people already know that you don't like to drink, maybe you can decline when you're offered a drink.


But I get a sense that you do NOT want to decline bc it will not help you to mingle w/ your co-workers.


Still, I believe you have to make a decision and stand your ground.

People already know you don't drink.

So decline when you're offered one and drink a non-alcoholic beverage instead. Since it sounds like you're more likely to have fun w/o the alcohol, don't drink and focus on getting to know your co-workers.


Also, maybe you can offer to be the designated driver ??


If you feel as though you MUST drink to fit in, drink in moderation and make sure you eat something before you drink.

And keep yourself hydrated.

Leave the party from time to time to get fresh air.


Good luck and have fun!

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I think you will be in a far worse situation if you have too much to drink, and then make a fool of yourself at a company party. That is not cool. Better for your coworkers to think that you are a dork rather than for your superiors to think you are a drunk moron. Many people get fired this time of year for things they say and do at a company party.


I have to admit, I have had too much to drink at work functions and it has caused me much embarrasement. If i could go back and do it over again, I would not have had so much to drink


I like batya's suggestion - say that you are on medication and can't drink. then tell them you have another party to go to and be on your way.

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No one is ever forced to drink, and you need to just go to the bar, order yourself a Pepsi or Seven-up, and go on your merry way... if someone tries to force you to drink something else, just say, no thanks, i'm fine with this... the world is full of people who don't like to drink, or can't drink for whatever reason, so you should just assert your own right to do what you want, and don't drink... i think you are more concerned with 'fitting in' than anything, and drinking or not is a personal choice that no nice person would ever push on someone else... so ignore any attempts, and don't drink at all since the consequences for you are severe.


re: social contacts, maybe your friend at work talks to you there, and is using the parties to socialize with people he doesn't normally talk to, to meet new people and establish connections. so i wouldn't take it personally, he can talk to you anytime, but maybe only gets to talk to these other people at parties.


use the opportunity to talk to and meet new people, and don't look at every conversation as a 'make or break' encounter... just meet as many people as you can, introduce yourself to other people standing alone, and you might be surprized and make some new friends. if someone seems friendly, just keep talking to them, and if they seem cold, just excuse yourself and move on to the next person or group.

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Hi Daniel,


I know exactly what you mean - I think you're in the UK too? That kind of pressure is really hard. Depends - you can either go down the "I'm on antibiotics so I can't drink" route; say you're driving; or set your mobile to ring at a certain time, and have to leave with an emergency (someone locked out, you have the spare keys) - I like that one myself, it's always stood me in good stead!


Don't feel pressured to drink. I'd rather be sober and dull than the idiot throwing up or sleeping in the corner. There's less to talk about, that way! Also, talk to different people, focus on finding out about them, don't get drawn into the 'laddish' culture if it's not your thang, it'll just backfire on you.


Good luck!

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yeah, this may be a good time to talk to a few of the ladies at your company if puting back 12 pints isn't your thing. go over and talk to some women and I'm sure they will appreciate talking to a guy who is drinking soda, and not sloshed out of his mind.


unfortunately, young women in the UK are now drinking more than men...

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I don't drink at all (personal preference, can't stand the taste), as do some other people I know, and we never get weird looks. Just get yourself a coke or some non-alcholholic drink and drink along with everyone else. If you feel the need to explain, just say you're the designated driver or something!

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Not that its important but not too long ago i saw an invention on tv that kinda leans toward your situation. It was invented by a man who couldnt drink any kind of alcohol but wanted to enjoy a night drinking with his friends. He made a plastic hollow stomach that attaches itself to your chest and has a tube extending to the mouth. Instead of drinking the alcohol he pours it little by little into the tube and down his external stomach, thus hes able to enjoy a night of drinking but doesnt have to drink. Its definitly an alternative method, but maybe for the safety of your reputation you shouldnt try this...

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One idea - you could drink bottles of beer instead of pints... so 330 ml instead of 568


Though you clearly don't want to, so I think you shouldn't let yourself be pressurised by the others' expectations and stick to coke, or what I drink when i'm driving - pints of grapefruit & soda


Good luck!

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