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How to Handle Embarrassment at Work

You Drank Too Much at Happy Hour: How to Handle It


There was an open bar, a round (or five) of drinks with your co-workers, and things got a little out of hand — now what? If you go a little overboard at the office happy hour, you should deal with the aftermath in a smart, professional way to avoid any extra drama. Save face and keep your reputation intact by following these five tips:

  • Don't draw any extra attention to the situation. If people aren't talking about it, don't bring it up. There's no reason to dish on last night's shenanigans with all your co-workers, so skip the "What was I thinking?" small talk and bring up job-related topics instead.
  • Apologize and accept responsibility. Accidentally offend someone with your behavior? Own up to your actions and say you're sorry. It's better to step up and deal with it than to push it aside, because ignoring the problem may build unnecessary resentment.
  • Redeem yourself. Should any issues arise, address them with honesty and humility. What you said or did under the influence may have reflected poorly on your character, so this is your chance to demonstrate a bit of integrity.
  • Steer conversations elsewhere. If the incident continues to come up, do what you can to redirect the dialogue. Laugh off any light jabs, then let it go. The only way other people will move on is if you do, too.
  • Try to learn from your mistake. Actions speak louder than words, so back up your apologies with sensible, office-appropriate behavior. Prove yourself by sticking to one or two drinks next time and remember that what you do outside the office still reflects on your professional reputation.

Hoping to build better office relationships? Avoid these four topics you shouldn't bring up with co-workers.

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