Fear of the Work Social Event

Fear of the Work Social Event

For many people the words ‘work’ and ‘social event’ shouldn’t be found in the same paragraph.  ‘Social event’ suggests an activity at which fun, relaxation and sharing are featured. “Work’ suggests, well, work.

But most organizations have periodic social events at which attendance is encouraged.  These events can be holiday themed parties, coffee hours before or after a workshop, cocktail receptions, gatherings before meetings, and even impromptu ‘get-togethers’. And for many, these events are sources of high anxiety.

Reasons for resistance are varied and valid, but there are ways to manage the anxiety and it is possible to actually have a- (gasp!)-positive experience.   The keys to these wonders are reframing, preparation, and the other guys.

In fact, reframing, preparation, and the other guys can be keys to good things in other parts of life, as well.  If you don’t like the story you’re facing, tell a better one. Yes, this is akin to making lemonade out of all those horrid things that happen to you, and it can feel contrived and cheesy, but it can work.  Preparation is almost never a bad thing, and for a social event there are endless opportunities for preparing: attendees and their stories, safe and possibly interesting things to talk about, emergency phrases at the ready.  And the easiest of all: the other guys.  Adding ‘what about you?” to almost any sentence will buy you time, remove the spotlight, and let someone else cringe for a while.

Need more?  Check our new course that is full of ways to manage and enjoy the awkward work party: Working the Room.