It’s 4:50pm on Friday and you thought you escaped the ‘after work drinks’. But here comes your ‘favourite’ colleague brimming with excitement. They’re walking in your direction and there’s nowhere to go. You know what’s coming next…the dreaded invite. You’ve already declined every single Friday since you started your job a year ago.
Your colleague gets to your desk and asks you if you’re coming out tonight for drinks. You’ve said no the last 52 times but now you’re thinking, maybe it’s time for a change?
After a moment’s pause you reluctantly say yes you’ll go.
Almost instantly, the feeling of regret comes over you and you wished you had said no. But it’s too late, out of excitement your colleague has told the office that you’re finally coming out with them and everyone is elated, except you!
This exact scenario may or may not have happened to you before. But it is highly likely that you’ve reluctantly gone to a social event.
However, sometimes it’s necessary for us to socialise with our colleagues as it helps to build stronger working relationships. That’s why we’ve put together 4 tips that can help you make your ‘after work drink’ experience a little easier.
1. Plan ahead
Have a think about the situation. Where are you going? How do you get there? If possible you could check out the venue before the day so you can familiarise yourself with entrances/exits and toilets [good to know if you need a moment to catch your breath!].
Also have a think to how long will you spend there? 1 hour, 2 hours? Or more? You don’t want to turn up and leave straight away so I’d say 1 and a half hours is a good amount of time to greet everyone and have a chat.
Finally, what do you aim to get from the experience? Do you want to find a new friend? Have a deep conversation? Find a new customer? In Beth Buelow’s book the The Introvert Entrepreneur she says ‘every time you step out your door it is a chance to network’. You never know what could come of a simple chat so don’t underestimate it. Set yourself some questions before you leave the house. Write them on your phone and glance at it in between conversations.
We have a great ability to pay attention to detail. Make sure you do just that. Before jumping in to the conversation have a scan of the room. What does it look like? What’s the vibe like? What types of people are in the room? There are so many things you could observe. Make a mental note of things you observe and use them as conversation starters.
For example, if the vibe is energetic and buzzing you could make a comment ‘this place is buzzing tonight do you come here often?’
4. Be honest
If you’re struggling for what to say then talk about how you feel. If you’re nervous then say it. If you’re feeling awkward then say it. Quite often when people open up about these feelings then it breaks the ice. Don’t assume that you’re the only introvert in the room. There may be many! But just because they appear to be socialising doesn’t mean they don’t want to run to the bathroom just like you do.
5. Ask questions
Asking questions are great and very easy to apply as introverts. Naturally we are quite inquisitive so we may already ask questions. Asking questions are also great because it taps into the fact that people like to talk about themselves. It makes them feel important and makes them feel like you care [which you probably do!]. If you ask questions not only will they go away thinking that was a really good conversation but it’ll mask the fact that you hardly did any talking !
So there you have it, 4 ways for you to survive ‘after work drinks’ or any social gathering for that matter. This isn’t an overnight success and don’t expect to be working the room like your extroverted friends. That’s not the point of this, the point is, that you remain true to yourself whilst stepping slightly out of your comfort zone.
What do you do at social events? Leave any tips below