Ask Liz: How much do I need to socialise with my colleagues?

Dear Liz, I have recently joined a young and dynamic agency where there is a large emphasis on after work drinks. Although I have attended a few of these, they are becoming so regular that I feel pressured into attending in order to build and maintain relationships. I have other commitments in my personal life and am finding it hard to balance the two, along with late nights. I do not want to seem rude and unsociable by declining, but I am not getting any time in the evenings to rest and unwind, especially as my commute is much longer than most of my colleagues’. I’m also worried this will soon affect my energy levels at work, what can I do?

Agency folk are a sociable lot and drinks are a key part of the social scene. Your need for balance is key and you should remain true to this and true to yourself. You are not being unsociable or rude; you just have other priorities. Let people know that you would like to be there but you can't always be there. The chances are that not everyone is able to make all the events all of the time anyway.  Perhaps identify the important events that you would like to attend and be available for those. Be a bit selective and come out to play when it works for you.

You don't have to be in the pub to build relationships and sociable. Catching up with folk for breakfast, coffee or lunch are other ways to make your self available and to develop relationships. Set your boundaries and stick to them.

It is traditionally the month for cutting back on our alcohol intake and trying a bit of detox. You may want to take a look at Dryathlon for Cancer Research and turn this into a team event.

If you have an HR-related issue that you need answering by our expert Liz Nottingham, HR Director at Starcom MediaVest and VivaKi Country Talent & Transformation Officer, please contact her via Any questions published will appear anonymously.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA's terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA's newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

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