Monday, September 24, 2012

Commingling with a significant other's coworkers, or putting the "fun" in "work function"

If you find yourself in a relationship, sooner or later you will also find yourself having to navigate a company function with your significant other. It's anxiety-inducing enough to introduce a boyfriend or girlfriend to your coworkers, but it's a whole 'nother ballgame when it's their reputation on the line and your burden not to besmirch it.

When alcohol is being served (and it generally is), it's important to strike a delicate balance between letting people get to know you, but not too well. I've collected a few tips on remaining collected from personal experience and more than a few mishaps. Here's my guide to being a respectable reflection of your partner:
  1. Keep pace at about half as many drinks as the rest of the party. Never tie the drunkest plus-one or the homeowner/host. 
  2. Do come bearing gifts. Whether that's a hostess gift or a cooler with enough to sustain you and your date, it doesn't matter — just don't come empty-handed.
  3. Engage with and acknowledge people's kids.
  4. (But don't tease them — however tempting that is. Not everyone was raised with parents as sarcastic as yours.) 
  5. Befriend the oldest person there. They are probably responsible for giving your bf/gf a raise, or at the least an influential recommendation. They are also almost always the most fun and often have a secret stash of top-shelf.
  6. Do not, under any circumstances, discuss politics with this new friend.
  7. Look attractive and put together, but not so bangin' that you piss anyone off or draw excessive commentary. 
  8. Respond to questions about the assumed imminence of your engagement/marriage gamely with a nudge to your significant other and a polite change of subject, rather than a sharp glare. Never suggest that marriage and suburban child-rearing is not the shared dream of every GOP-fearing American.
  9. Do find the Margarita maker and learn how to use it. If the event has a bar, always offer to refill or replace surrounding beverages when you go to refresh your own.
  10. Never make fun of a grown man's drink. That Smirnoff Ice might have a backstory — namely that he has Gout, two kids, a mortgage, an official beer ban from the family doctor and no patience for your shit-talking. 
  11. And finally, make much ado about the meat/glorify the grill.  

Ridiculous, in the best way. 

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