Why It’s OK to Ditch Work Social Events

Maybe this is the case at your company. Or, maybe you’re looking to make friends in a new role and, every time you miss an event, you’re convinced that you’re losing a prime opportunity to lock those relationships down.

But you shouldn’t ever feel like you have to make friends at the office or attend work social events at any cost.

Sure, you could keep dragging yourself to events that you have no real interest in, but keeping this charade up is exhausting and not always productive. As long as you’re happy with the rest of your job, you feel respected, your ideas are heard, you enjoy the work you’re doing—it’s OK to let this one thing go.

Whether you’re three months or three years in, introverted or extroverted, looking to make friends or not, socializing with your co-workers should be something you choose to do. Having a good relationship with the people you work with is important for clear communication, productivity, and overall job satisfaction, but that relationship can simply be an in-the-office, professional kind.

Yes, there are times when activities will be heavily encouraged, if not mandatory, like offsites, retreats, or networking events. And in these moments, you’re maybe sacrificing more than just social status by not participating—you’re missing out on a chance to get to know your colleagues, build a stronger team, or even do your job well. But most companies ultimately won’t force you to do something you truly don’t feel comfortable doing.
是的,有时候人们会被鼓励参加一些活动,如果不是强制性的,比如扩展活动、团建度假或社交活动。这时候,你不参加,除了丧失社会地位之外 - 错还过了一个了解同事、建设一个更强团队、甚至做好本职工作的机会。但多数公司最终都不会强迫你去做确实觉得不舒服的事情。

More importantly, the best bosses and co-workers (and work friends) understand that certain things come first, whether it’s family or hobbies or personal preferences. Chances are, there have also been plenty of instances when they’ve had to miss out on a team activity because something else was more important.


How to Get Out of Your Next Work Social Event

Here’s the thing: I’m all too familiar with the difference between knowing you’re allowed to say “no” to work social events and actually having to break the news to your co-workers that you’re going to skip one.

Sometimes peer pressure sets in and guilts you into attending, and you’re stuck doing something you really don’t want to do. While I can’t guarantee that won’t happen—some people might just continue to pester you or nag you about being a recluse—know that you can dodge their invites respectfully while still keeping the relationships intact.

The key in any rejection is to not make it personal. Instead, focus on your decision and why you can’t or won’t join this time. For example, you can say, “Sounds like fun! Unfortunately, something’s come up: [family emergency or conflict]. Pencil me in for the next one?” or “You know I love hanging with you all, but if I’m being completely honest, [activity] isn’t my thing. I hope you have a blast, though!”

Or, you can just skip the specifics, thank them, and politely decline: “Thanks for inviting me! I can’t make it, but have a great time!” or “Appreciate you including me, but I already have plans.” In most cases, they’ll accept your rejection and move on.