Business Drinking: How To Socialize While Staying Professional

We can be straight-laced professionals in the office, but getting to know coworkers and business prospects requires us to be a little less uptight. Alcohol is well-known to help us in loosening up, and that makes it a go-to for many after-work gatherings and new business deals. But how does one manage drinking while avoiding regret and embarrassment? Keep these four things in mind, and you’ll be on the right track.

Business Drinking: How To Socialize While Staying Professional

Don’t Drink On An Empty Stomach

Sure, you can get yourself more bang for your beer bucks by drinking on empty, but that’s not a smart move professionally or physically. Drinking while eating, or shortly thereafter, gives your body something to slow down alcohol’s effects. Alternatively, drinking without the assistance of solid food will allow for alcohol to immediately enter your bloodstream — thereby intensifying alcohol’s effects. We know this means a quicker and stronger buzz, but that buzz comes with a harder impact on our body. So, go easy on the  

Aim For One Drink Per Hour

Drunk driving campaigns have made it clear that we should strive to average one drink per hour, and the reason is purely physiological. The process of metabolizing alcohol involves breaking down alcohol into acetaldehyde (a very toxic compound). Fortunately, our liver is able to counteract this by converting the damaging acetaldehyde into non-toxic acetate. The liver’s work is slow though, because it’s only able to produce enough glutathione — the acetaldehyde converter — to metabolize about one drink per hour. Because of this, sticking with one drink per hour will help keep our buzz from turning into an embarrassing work situation. If sipping on a drink for 60 minutes isn’t your style, then it may be enough to put your daily limit at 3-4 drinks. Binge drinking is defined as 5+ drinks for men and 4+ drinks for women, so if slow and steady isn’t your style, use this guideline to help you maintain your professionalism as well as your health.  

Buy A Round (At Your Own Discretion)

Alcohol certainly has it’s perks with boosting socialization, and buying a round of drinks can be a great way to demonstrate and encourage camaraderie. On the other hand, it can also lead to things getting out of hand. Round after round of drinks is going to sure to lead to problems the day of and the morning after. Assess the person you’re drinking to determine whether this is a smart move to make. And, if you’re going to go for it, make the call with the first or second drink. Or save exposing your generosity until it’s time to pay the tab.  

Leave The Car

Getting a DIU is going to put a bad wrap on any business meeting. And if it doesn’t cost you your job, it may cost a life. Step up and show responsibility by getting yourself home without anyone driving under the influence. Even if you have an iron liver, driving after drinking comes with the risk of looking like a careless jerk. That’s bad business in every sense of the word.

While you’re following these rules, you may want to adopt a law with drinking and business; If you wouldn’t do it sober, then don’t do it intoxicated. Consider that before you speak or act, and you’ll keep your list of professional regrets minimized.

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