Your co-workers aren’t frat bros

Joey Garcia

Our company’s annual holiday party is in January, and I’m worried. It’s my first year at the company, and I must admit that I have a tendency to behave a bit over the top when drinks are free. I left my last two jobs because of really embarrassing things that I did during company events. Any advice?

Don’t do anything at company events that you wouldn’t do in the office on a regular business day. Remember that co-workers are like roommates, not frat bros. If you create a situation at a company event that is so embarrassing you are forced to do the walk of shame to your cubicle afterward, your peers and superiors will take note. Blaming alcohol or stress just makes you look immature. Any adult knows that, in excess, alcohol weakens our ability to make good decisions and that stress is best addressed by confronting the thoughts that inspire it. So think of the holiday party as an opportunity to deepen your friendships with co-workers and to network with colleagues you don’t know so well. In others words, it’s still work. Act accordingly. P.S.: If you binge when the booze is free-flowing, you may be struggling with an unacknowledged addiction. See a psychotherapist or check out Alcoholics Anonymous for help.

Last year, on Christmas Eve, I came home from work to find that my partner had packed all of his belongings and left. There was no note and no notice whatsoever. How could he do this to me? I thought he was happy. I bought him everything he wanted. The only complaint I can recall is that he would always say, “Talk to me,” and I would smile and hold him close. I’m a salesperson, and sometimes I would just be so tired after work that I just didn’t have it in me to talk. Is that what I did wrong?

Oh, sweetie! Please give up your habit of condemning yourself. The mind believes that if it keeps twisting the elements of the story long enough, the answer will snap into place like a Rubik’s Cube. Not true. Sometimes the answer is that there is no answer. Even if your partner left a note, the thoughts expressed in it would represent only a portion of the situation, because as we grow in understanding of ourselves, new insights come to light.

Instead of sitting in pain, consider this: The reality of life is that people are always leaving and arriving. Right? Your partner left. It is the death of the relationship, but you must keep on living. Your mind keeps pointing to communication issues to help you learn something new (acquiring knowledge or wisdom is a sign of life). But don’t waste time with the blame game. Accept responsibility for the way you might have contributed to the demise of the relationship by, for example, working yourself into exhaustion. Doing so protected you from possessing the energy to be emotionally or intellectually intimate with your partner. You justified that choice by buying gifts to compensate and discovered it works in the short term, but not forever. Your presence would have been the real gift. Integrate that awareness and move forward with your life. Leave this grief in Christmas past and invest in life choices that bring real joy to you and those you love.

My girlfriend says she needs space. Is she trying to break up with me?

Not necessarily. But if your daily schedule revolves around her or if you pressure her beyond her comfort zone, back off. Spend time with friends or develop new hobbies. Let your girlfriend determine the pace of the partnership. Use this experience to observe your capacity for selflessly accepting what someone else needs.

Meditation of the week
When’s the last time you wrote a love letter? Not to your parents, partner or kids; that’s easy. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a missive to your favorite restaurant, your favorite radio or television station, the newspaper or magazine that fascinates you. Tell them what they’re doing right and say thank you.

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