With 'happy-hours' now an integral part of an Indian professional’s life, it’s important to participate in such events, often considered as 'team-building' by senior management. They offer an excellent opportunity to mingle with the seniors/colleagues in a social-cum-business setting, away from the stuffiness of the office. As far as drinking alcohol goes, it’s perfectly acceptable for a lady to order and enjoy her drink when out with her colleagues. To retain your professional image, follow these tips:
An hour before you reach the venue, have some snacks/biscuits/nuts at your desk. At the venue, order a light snack to accompany your drink. This is essential to line the stomach and slow down the absorption of alcohol into the blood-stream.
Know your limit before you reach the venue and never test it! If at an evening out with friends, you normally have two rounds of a drink, at an office gathering make that one. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and you want to be careful.
Avoid drinking fast. But if you do, play it safe by ordering tall drinks e.g. instead of Scotch on the rocks, go with Scotch with soda or water, and ice in a tall glass, so that you can nurse it for longer. Stay away from delicious cocktails with multiple spirits. You don’t want to be remembered as “Oh! THAT one”!
If your boss/colleagues continue to drink after you’ve exhausted your limit, quietly top up your glass with water/club soda. Alternately, drink a glass of water between each drink you consume, diluting the alcohol levels in your blood stream. If forced to order another drink, gracefully order it, but don’t sip it after the initial round of 'Cheers'.
Don’t assume the role of 'the life of the party' by forcing others to drink. Stay away from dare games, 'bottoms-up' races, vodka or tequila shots. This is not a Friday night out with your friends. Use it as an opportunity to build a better working relationship with your colleagues and seniors.
P.S. Teetotalers, don’t shy away from such evenings. Order a non-alcoholic drink of your choice and when asked: “You don’t drink?” Smile and answer with confidence: “I’m enjoying my drink.”