Since you spend the majority of the week with colleagues, it’s only natural to have some type of relationship. As you get to know each other better, you might start receiving social invitations.
See Also: 3 Golden Rules of Workplace Friendships
On one hand, you don’t have a problem with the people you work with. But on the other hand, you prefer keeping your professional life separate from your private life. No worries. Here are a few tips to help you avoid social get-togethers with colleagues.
1. Tell the Truth, And Nothing But the Truth
You can give a hundred excuses for not attending a social gathering with colleagues, such as you’re sick or have other plans for the day. This can work if it’s the truth. But if you prefer not lying to your coworkers, be upfront and honest with them. Maybe you don’t have extra money to hang out on the weekends, or maybe the afternoons and evenings are the only time you have to spend with your family. Then again, you might be uncomfortable in social settings. You don’t have to apologize for the way you feel.
2. Rearrange Your Schedule So You Don't Have to Attend
If you’re invited to a social get-together that you don’t want to attend, yet you don’t have anything going on that day, you can rearrange your schedule to get out of going to the event without lying. For example, if your Saturday is open and you have obligations for the following Sunday, consider moving up your Sunday plans to avoid a get-together with colleagues. You won’t have to attend, and you don’t have to lie about why you’re not attending.
3. Take Up a Hobby
Then again, your colleagues might be social butterflies who have get-togethers every other weekend and they always invite you. They might get suspicious if you have a different excuse every time. If you don’t want to come off as rude or standoffish, take up a hobby or get involved in an activity that takes up a lot of your time.
4. Lose Your Memory
If you’re invited to a colleague’s social get-together, you can pretend as if you forget about the invitation and don’t follow up or bring up the function unless asked. If you don’t RSVP, the host will likely assume you cannot attend. You can get out of attending without having to give a reason.
5. Don't Get Too Close With Your Colleagues
If you want to keep your professional life separate from your personal life, avoid getting too close with your coworkers. Be polite and friendly, but focus on your work and not socializing. If you spend the day gossiping with a coworker, or if you go to lunch with them every day and hang out by the water cooler, your coworkers might feel you’re closer than you really are. And as the relationship develops, they’ll want to hang out after hours.
Some people become good friends with their coworkers, whereas others don’t mix business with pleasure. The above tips can help you be personable with colleagues, while keeping your distance.