A simple sentence, which can be said at the end of a hard day’s work, when we reckon a little beer would be nice before heading home.
A while back, we were talking about it with a friend, who was telling me that her colleagues often went for a drink together after work – without inviting her. And she goes on to tell me: how do you invite a male colleague for a drink without it being ambiguous?
In fact, I have never asked myself that question. It’s probably due to the fact that, from the beginning of my career, the tradition of going for a drink after work was so anchored that it seemed natural to invite my male colleagues or to be invited. However I must say, as I was telling you in the previous article, I’ve always set the boundaries very early on.
Also, for expatriates, becoming friends with colleagues is very common. We arrive in an unknown country with a new culture, and often the first friends we make are the ones from work. On the first night even, we invite the newbie to the local pub to better welcome her and help her settle in.
I then asked myself, once the topic had been brought up, where this problem was coming from. Clearly, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of inviting a colleague from the opposite sex.
Google is my friend, and I looked up articles on the theme of « having a drink with a colleague »
“Best of” of answers:
« 10 signs that show that your colleague has a crush on you…
Inviting a colleague for a drink – Seduction forum
First meeting with my colleague… and after?
Accepting to go have a drink, does it mean agreeing implicitly to go further/
Flirting at work: 4 steps to flirt with a colleague without…
Note: if we go for a drink outside, it’s not to talk about work, huh. »
After an hour of research, using different key words, I give up.
This isn’t too reassuring! Was my friend right to avoid seeing her colleagues outside of work? Having a relationship outside of work, is it bound to become ambiguous?
In studies showing the difference in career advancement between the two sexes, women’s lacking network often comes at the top of the myriad of causes. But how are these infamous networks created? Often times, while going for a drink with colleagues after work.
But if going for a drink is, in popular beliefs, synonymous with seduction, changing the status quo will be difficult. How can you develop a friendly relationship with a colleague? After all, it’s quite nice to have someone to unwind with at the end of day, and thus be able to criticize the boss, the boss of the boss and all the other departments.
It’s 2018, it may be time to make a little effort to change current mindsets.
Yes, Magali, nice story, but you still haven’t answered the original question which was… how do we do it?
Several solutions exist. We can start by inviting someone that we’re comfortable enough with and that we talk to often. We have a few coffee breaks together so that the invitation to go out for a drink doesn’t come out of the blue.
But before that, we can establish a few things… if you’re in a relationship, mention the significant other (without repeating it 45 times a day). Same thing, if he often talks about his kids/spouse… etc. It’s great, there’s very little chance that things will become ambiguous. Also, we can invite several colleagues at the same time to make sure there’s no misinterpretation.
Finally, try to set up a routine, such as the Friday night drink to celebrate for the upcoming weekend… after the third week, it won’t be uncomfortable anymore.
And of course, if we notice that out male colleagues often go out for drinks… Well, we tag along. As they’re leaving, we simply say: « Hey, I’d love to have a drink, mind if I join you ? » Maybe they’re just afraid to make the first move. Do it for them.
Come on, good resolution of the week… Tomorrow, I’m inviting a colleague of the opposite sex to have a drink.
And if I’m afraid of misunderstandings, I subtly leave this article on his or her desk during the day.