Before I start this, I want to preface that this isn’t a piece directed at women who get drinks paid for them by guys at bars. I’m not about to touch that subject because a.) I don’t buy women drinks — the girlfriend isn’t very fond of that practice, and b.) I can’t fault women for accepting free drinks from thirsty dudes; if the tables were turned, I’d do the exact same thing. I respect the game.
This column is directed at the few postgrads who are making the rest of us look bad. It’s always nice when your older coworkers or sales reps will want to take you out for happy hour, but I’m sick of being embarrassed by many of my similarly situated coworkers because they don’t know how to act when someone offers to cover their happy hour. I hate that I have to spell this out for some of you, but from now on please adhere to these very simple guidelines and quit making an asshat out of yourselves.
Know Your Price Point
And stick with it. When someone else is being generous enough to cover the charge, it’s not the time for you to show off your appreciation for fine scotch or high end bourbon. I honestly thought this was common knowledge amongst everybody who was in possession of all their necessary chromosomes, but unfortunately my peers have proven me wrong. Think of it it this way: if it isn’t something you’d buy for yourself, don’t order it when someone else is paying. It makes you look like a cheap asshole — don’t be that guy. It’s sad. The best bet is to drink the same thing as your host if you like their beverage of choice, and if you don’t then at least keep it close to the same price point. Your host is setting the tone for the evening, and you’re just along for the ride. Which brings me to my next point.
Pace Yourself Accordingly
Chances are that your host has a accrued a few more miles than you do and is far more removed from the college binge drinking lifestyle that we all left behind. So it goes without saying that they won’t be drinking at the same pace as you and your boys do on three-dollar PBR night. As a result, you’ll need to keep pace with them and slow down until they’re at least slightly buzzed and ready to kick it up a notch. This isn’t always the case, and occasionally you get a wildcard older coworker who can still throw down even harder than you can. And if you find that special person who is also willing to pay for your happy hour, hold onto them for as long as possible. You’ll come out of that friendship much wiser and more seasoned than your fellow entry level counterparts.
Don’t Ask To Do Shots
This one may be blatantly obvious to some of you, but sadly your peers who have no social awareness need to read this. Don’t order shots unless your host suggests, and if they ask what kind, your immediate answer should be “Whatever you like.” Chances are that they will still get whatever you want because they’re old and want to stay hip with the young guns, so this will most likely work out in your favor regardless. Let’s not forget that these people are older than us and are therefore looking to us low-level scrubs to add a youthful spark to their dwindling social lives. They’re using us a little bit too, but we’re benefiting from it much much more.
Just Say “Thank You”
I know, I know. Another rule that is supposed to be commonplace. I don’t know if it’s my midwestern upbringing, but I just thought everyone knew to say thank you for goods or services that were provided to them. And that should be doubled when you’re getting things FOR FUCKING FREE. I’ve seen some real entitled assholes who feel no need to show appreciation for others showing kindness to them. Here’s a little insider tip for anyone clueless out there: If someone thinks you truly appreciate the things they do for you, they will most likely keep doing those things. It’s very simple, and this one isn’t even a young or old thing. I’ve seen my office superiors just take their freebies and bolt from a sales rep who just wants to make face time with us so they don’t get shit from their boss. If you’re one of those people who pulls shit like this, please remember that it’s a bad look that will earn you a reputation of being a smug asshole that no one wants to hang out with.
Let’s be better people. Being young in the workplace already puts us under a microscope. We can set ourselves apart from the lesser sect of our peers just by knowing how to act in corporate social settings. Being the young guy or girl who gets the weekly invite to happy hour from their older coworkers will payoff tenfold in your career, no matter what industry you happen to be in.