Don't Judge Me For Not Getting Drunk With Work Mates
I realised that binge drinking wasn't for me during my Fresher's Week at university.
This is the infamous time in every young adult's life which consists of masochistically getting bladdered repeatedly, in the hope of forming some lasting bonds of friendship with a group of petrified fellow students. All so that we could LOL about our collective hangovers and embarrassing hook-ups of the morning after the night before.
Away from home, and far from the safety of familiarity, we all just craved a sense of belonging, and of course the natural antidote to our terror about being alone was to glug as much poison as humanly possible. One fateful Fresher's Night culminated in my being curled up in the fetal position and vomiting into my halls of residence shower. It was then that I realised, binge drinking wasn't for me.
I thought the days of pressurised heavy boozing would be long gone once I had graduated. Yet, it seems the human need to belong also extends to the workplace. “What do you want a lime cordial for?, come onnnn, have a proper drink", “Diet coke, no vodka? Yawn." Why does this burden to drink still exist in the working world? Are we all still vulnerable little things, play-acting at being grown-ups, but really just searching for a clan?
Alcohol acts as a social lubricant. Drinking is a way to unwind with your co-workers, allowing for team bonding, bitching and banter which creates a sense of colleague camaraderie and turns into that week's go-to office anecdote. At the same time there seems to be a silent, maybe subconscious condemnation of those who don't enjoy getting drunk with their work colleagues. You're perhaps viewed as uptight, haughty and judgmental, unwilling to 'just have a laugh' and potentially excluded from the office bantz the next morning.
The social politics of work drinking is a minefield. Drink too much, and you risk being a little too friendly with your boss and becoming known as “the girl who came on to her line manager" forever more. Drink too little and you're dull.
Maybe we all just fear rejection, and the office drinking culture is a way to create a community, but we should be aware that binge drinking isn't a universal pleasure, and, although we Brits do it very well, I'll happily take part in the office lash with my lime cordial, thanks.