Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: circlekiller on December 12, 2013, 07:11:31 AM

Title: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: circlekiller on December 12, 2013, 07:11:31 AM
Several posters in the original thread stated they thought it was rude to bring a friend as opposed to a significant other to a work event.  That surprised me because, as a single person, I have done that.  Especially for evening events so I wouldn't be driving alone.  When an invite is issued for a work function and everyone else has a significant other, is it really frowned upon to bring a friend instead?
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: MindsEye on December 12, 2013, 07:29:20 AM
At my work?  Yes. 

+1 is for a spouse, the person you are engaged to marry, or a long-term partner only.  In fact, the only reason reason that the invites say "+1" instead of "employee + husband/wife" is because there are several long term same sex couples among the employees (who are legally unable to marry).

A work event, even a work party, is a business event, and not a social event... so it would be very inappropriate to treat it as you would a social event (e.g. by bringing a random friend along with you). 

Of course, this depends heavily on the business.  The above applies to my place of business... other businesses may have more lax rules... YMMV.  It all comes down to the overall work culture.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: peaches on December 12, 2013, 07:43:39 AM
At the place where I worked the longest, the annual Christmas party was for employee +1. That meant anyone you wanted to bring.

The company had no idea if people were dating or living together or just friends. And they didn't care. The idea was for everyone to have a good time.


Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: *inviteseller on December 12, 2013, 07:48:11 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: KarenK on December 12, 2013, 08:06:07 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.

It's kind of sad that they actually had to spell this out, but I understand why.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Clareish on December 12, 2013, 08:16:01 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.

It's kind of sad that they actually had to spell this out, but I understand why.

But, this is exactly what this OP is asking about. In my view, an employee with an immediate family (married with kids) is highly privileged in this rationale over someone who is single. So, due to the fact that the OP does not have a significant other, or any kids (my assumption based on the fact that none were mentioned), they get to go alone to an event whereas someone who has married and procreated could be bringing their own version of a soccer team.

I don't know that it is really "sad" to be spelled out, but rather sad that a single person might simply forgo their work festivities, and that people are fine with that when it clearly is not an issue of numbers.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: m2kbug on December 12, 2013, 08:37:12 AM
I don't think there are any strict rules about it.  I would think unless they specified, +1 could be anyone of your choosing. 
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: lowspark on December 12, 2013, 08:51:29 AM
It totally depends on how things are done at your particular workplace. There is no hard and fast rule that every single employer follows. Some places are strict about whom they want to include, some are much more casual.

I don't know for sure (as I've never had a reason to ask) but based on who I've seen come to some of our parties, I think at my company, it's accepted to bring a friend. The idea is that they are willing to pay for you and a +1 so if you can't bring a spouse (for whatever reason) they still are ok with hosting you and another person.

So the answer is: Ask. Ask whoever organizes the party, or your boss or HR or... or whoever it is appropriate to ask.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: MariaE on December 12, 2013, 08:54:02 AM
At my work, "+1" means just that - "+1". However, it is expected that the +1 you bring is somebody who'd fit the atmosphere of the party. So bringing a friend is completely okay - bringing a parent or a child would not be.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: cwm on December 12, 2013, 08:55:39 AM
I think it's completely up to the company to decide. If they say spouses/long term partners only, then you can't bring a friend. If a single person can't come on their own, then they can't come and while that's sad, this is a bonus given by employers, not a requirement to attend. And as I said on another thread, if a guest can't or won't conform to the parameters of the party set by the host, the best thing to do is not attend.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Deetee on December 12, 2013, 09:15:31 AM
Though I have a long term partner, we often worked in different cities. All my work holiday parties that had a plus one were for any plus one which was nice. Sometimes I took someone. Sometimes I didn't. Sometimes it was employee only (that one was kindly find during work hours).

I really prefer it and, in general, it feels nice for the company to say "bring along any one person who is important to you, whoever that is."

It is also to my mind different from a wedding as the employee party is supposed to be almost entirely for the benefit of the employees as a perk for them.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: siamesecat2965 on December 12, 2013, 09:17:58 AM
My last two jobs were the only ones that had any real type of holiday celebration. Last job was with a law firm, and the bash was very nice, upscale, at a nice place, and was for employees only. As a single person, I actually preferred this. They were, however, very generous about including all temps, and new hires, even those who had not yet started. Which was nice.

My current company has done a number of types of holiday parties; when I started, it was after hours, in the evening, and you could bring a guest. I don't really know what the parameters were, as I had no one to bring, but we are a small, more laid-back place than my last job, so I do know while most brought their SO, many brought an adult child, or parent, but I do believe at least some of the staff knew the guest. I personally wouldn't be comfortable bringing a friend to a company holiday gathering, mainly beacuse they wouldn't know anyone, and would be bored.

Later years, it was later in the day, cocktails etc. and employee only. So you went right from work to the party. Again, having no one to bring, I actually prefer this.

My one boss, however, who is Queen SS, once had a bit of a hissy fit. You see, she wanted to attend one of the "bring a guest" parties, but as a single mom, well, there was no one to watch her 13 year old daughter. So she asked if she coud lbring her as her guest, and was quite put out to be told, sorry, that won't be possible. One of the things about being a parent, is perhaps missing out on something if you don't have anyone to watch your kids or some such thing. 

She was not happy, but we were all like, um, who DOES that? Child would have been bored out of her mind, and, as alcohol was served, if she somehow got some, the company would have been liable.  but this particular boss doesn't think ANY rules apply to her. ever. She then flounced around making PA comments about how it was horrible daughter couldn't attend, and so she couldn't as well. Quite honestly, she wasn't missed all that much.  >:D
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: AnnaJ on December 12, 2013, 09:45:00 AM
I have generally worked at places that let employees determine who they would bring to functions, and do not see that as an 'abuse' of the company.  If a business is that worried about who will attend, then just limit the gathering to employees, which is truthfully how it should probably be done anyway if you want to keep work/home boundaries in place.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: English1 on December 12, 2013, 10:25:47 AM
I think it really depends on the culture in the workplace. It doesn't hurt to ask rather than assume, but the answer should be accepted.

I own a small business and this comes up sometimes. We do a Christmas meal to say thank you to our team, but financially it is a struggle for us at a time of year when our cashflow is awful. But we think it's important.

The first couple of years when we were very small (only 2 -4 employees) we allowed people to bring their spouse/partner. One single woman turned up with her sister. It did grate on us because that wasn't our intention - we didn't want to split couples up for the night, and we also feel that spouses/partners support our staff/are indirectly involved in our business (if someone works late it effects the household) so deserved a thank you as well, but sisters don't count for that. We weren't happy about someone just grabbing a free dinner with no real justification.

I think that's the employers thinking behind the +1 being a significant other, not just a random other. The significant other has a one step removed connection to the employer. Any one else doesn't.

Also finances - Christmas bashes are a big financial drain on most firms and most firms simply don't do them any more in the UK. The firm might agree to double its costs by inviting partners, but not be happy doubling its cost because of other people who don't have the 'support of the employee' role mentioned above. It's a thank you to both people. It's not right to think that because an employer will absorb the cost of one VIP guest per employee, they might as well just pay for any old guest.

As we grew to have more employees we had to cut numbers, so now it is just staff and no guests. We do have one lady who tries to push that though. Two years ago her son came and did some work experience for a few months with us so she thought that he should be invited. No. Last year: Her husband is a bit funny and doesn't like her going out without him, so can he come if she pays for his dinner? Sorry you have a controlling husband, but no. She has declined her invitation this year.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Mikayla on December 12, 2013, 10:32:27 AM
I agree with those saying it varies among workplaces, and probably among regions and countries.  I've worked in places where you couldn't bring anybody - just to keep it simple.  Oddly, this wasn't a problem for most of us.

I've also worked places where you are allowed to bring an SO or partner.

With the OPs question, the places I've worked it *would* be considered odd to bring a friend.  I'm not saying it's wrong or anything, but people generally consider this to be something where you go with an SO or as a single. 
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 10:42:40 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.

It's kind of sad that they actually had to spell this out, but I understand why.

But, this is exactly what this OP is asking about. In my view, an employee with an immediate family (married with kids) is highly privileged in this rationale over someone who is single. So, due to the fact that the OP does not have a significant other, or any kids (my assumption based on the fact that none were mentioned), they get to go alone to an event whereas someone who has married and procreated could be bringing their own version of a soccer team.

I don't know that it is really "sad" to be spelled out, but rather sad that a single person might simply forgo their work festivities, and that people are fine with that when it clearly is not an issue of numbers.

See, this makes it sound like the employee's only reason to go to the party is to get free food and drinks - which is exactly WHY they put up limits.
If the employees have this attitude toward the company, they don't belong at the party at all, IMO.
At every workplace event I have been to, the real purpose is to create team bonding and personal connections amongst the firm as a whole, especially with people who might not normally interact a lot in the course of the work day.
Bringing your kids does not actually enhance that, indeed it tends to interfere.  If it was just about making sure everybody benefits the same materially, they could just forgo the party and hand out bonus checks.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: SamiHami on December 12, 2013, 10:46:06 AM
My understanding has always been that if the party takes place during working hours (a luncheon, perhaps) then the employees only are invited unless otherwise stated. If the party takes place on the employees' personal time then they absolutely should be allowed to bring their plus 1 of choice (with obvious exceptions for children if it is an adult only party) even if that plus 1 is a friend or family member that is not a spouse (brother, cousin, etc.).

Essentially saying it must be only be a romantic interest that one brings along is far too intrusive into the personal lives of employees and is not an appropriate area for speculation by an employer. It would also be offensive, and possibly discriminatory, to tell an employee that their bad luck in the dating world translates to them having to come the party alone. Plus lot of people who are single or have a spouse away (deployed perhaps?) are uncomfortable going to parties by themselves. There's no reason at all that they shouldn't bring a friend.

What it comes down to is that the employer is perfectly within their rights to try to control the numbers attending their event but they have no business dictating what the employees relationship to their plus one must be.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: SamiHami on December 12, 2013, 10:49:43 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.

It's kind of sad that they actually had to spell this out, but I understand why.

But, this is exactly what this OP is asking about. In my view, an employee with an immediate family (married with kids) is highly privileged in this rationale over someone who is single. So, due to the fact that the OP does not have a significant other, or any kids (my assumption based on the fact that none were mentioned), they get to go alone to an event whereas someone who has married and procreated could be bringing their own version of a soccer team.

I don't know that it is really "sad" to be spelled out, but rather sad that a single person might simply forgo their work festivities, and that people are fine with that when it clearly is not an issue of numbers.

See, this makes it sound like the employee's only reason to go to the party is to get free food and drinks - which is exactly WHY they put up limits.
If the employees have this attitude toward the company, they don't belong at the party at all, IMO.
At every workplace event I have been to, the real purpose is to create team bonding and personal connections amongst the firm as a whole, especially with people who might not normally interact a lot in the course of the work day.
Bringing your kids does not actually enhance that, indeed it tends to interfere.  If it was just about making sure everybody benefits the same materially, they could just forgo the party and hand out bonus checks.

Not at any employer I have ever worked for. Company parties that take place on an employee's personal time are meant to be a reward/gift/thank you to the employees by providing an opportunity to socialize and have a pleasurable time with their coworkers. If it is intended as a networking or team building event, they need to pay the employees for their time because it is no longer a party and is simply work.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 10:53:50 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.

It's kind of sad that they actually had to spell this out, but I understand why.

But, this is exactly what this OP is asking about. In my view, an employee with an immediate family (married with kids) is highly privileged in this rationale over someone who is single. So, due to the fact that the OP does not have a significant other, or any kids (my assumption based on the fact that none were mentioned), they get to go alone to an event whereas someone who has married and procreated could be bringing their own version of a soccer team.

I don't know that it is really "sad" to be spelled out, but rather sad that a single person might simply forgo their work festivities, and that people are fine with that when it clearly is not an issue of numbers.

See, this makes it sound like the employee's only reason to go to the party is to get free food and drinks - which is exactly WHY they put up limits.
If the employees have this attitude toward the company, they don't belong at the party at all, IMO.
At every workplace event I have been to, the real purpose is to create team bonding and personal connections amongst the firm as a whole, especially with people who might not normally interact a lot in the course of the work day.
Bringing your kids does not actually enhance that, indeed it tends to interfere.  If it was just about making sure everybody benefits the same materially, they could just forgo the party and hand out bonus checks.

Not at any employer I have ever worked for. Company parties that take place on an employee's personal time are meant to be a reward/gift/thank you to the employees by providing an opportunity to socialize and have a pleasurable time with their coworkers. If it is intended as a networking or team building event, they need to pay the employees for their time because it is no longer a party and is simply work.

I get what you are saying, and that's a very good point.  However, I think the attitude that "they left with more $$$ worth of calories than I can get" is not a productive or helpful attitude toward your employer.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: jaxsue on December 12, 2013, 12:09:14 PM
I would find it a bit odd for someone to bring a guest who isn't a SO. In one former company my then-DH worked for, you were allowed and expected to bring SO's only. It may have gotten out of hand (or costs went up?), because after a few years they scrubbed the big party and had a smaller party for employees only.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: citadelle on December 12, 2013, 12:29:20 PM
Not at any employer I have ever worked for. Company parties that take place on an employee's personal time are meant to be a reward/gift/thank you to the employees by providing an opportunity to socialize and have a pleasurable time with their coworkers. If it is intended as a networking or team building event, they need to pay the employees for their time because it is no longer a party and is simply work.

This is my experience, too.

However, parties can vary. My experiences tend to be of the picnic variety, where there are kids' games provided and sometimes entertainment, and usually cookout type food served buffet style.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: jaxsue on December 12, 2013, 12:36:32 PM
I have been working for a LOT of years, and I have NEVER had any kind of an SO to bring to a party.  Either I don't go to the party, or I go stag.(I hate those parties anyway)   I think my biggest fear would be that everyone would think that the friend was my lover (not that there's anything wrong with that!), and that's not the impression I wanted to give to my work friends.

I was married, but now that I'm single 90% of my socializing is done solo. It isn't always fun, but I'm not about to stay home for every social event! It's doable.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Allyson on December 12, 2013, 12:59:02 PM
It's not about "I want to get as much out of this as I can" as when everyone else has someone they're bringing, and you don't, that doesn't feel so good.

With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

I do understand that it's the culture or the norm to only bring significant others, but I think it's too bad because really what difference does it make to anyone else what the exact relationship is as long as the person they bring is pleasant? (and I say this as someone who is part of a couple who does pretty much everything together, so it's not sour grapes on my part.)

Maybe this is one of those situations romantic comedies are made for; "pretend we're partners for an evening so I don't have to go alone." :D I honestly didn't realize there were still situations where that would matter, so this is interesting to me.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Ginger G on December 12, 2013, 01:01:12 PM
At my current job, we have three Christmas parties (yes, we are spoiled):

Party #1 - Includes everyone in the company, retired employees, and board members and everyone is welcome to bring a guest. It's in the evening on a Friday night (tomorrow night actually) at a banquet hall with open bar, live band, huge appetizer smorgasbord.   It's perfectly fine with us for the +1 to be a friend or relative.  It would be very weird for someone to bring a child to this event, fortunately it has not happened so far.

Party #2 - A very nice dinner at a high dollar restaurant for the employees in my department, again +1's are invited, and some of the single people have brought a friend or close relative.  Again, that is perfectly normal and ok with us.   This is also an adult event and no one has ever tried to bring a child.

Party #3 - This is held at the office on the day before our two day Christmas holiday.  The foold is usually pot luck or deli trays,  each department does their own thing but there's usually lots of mingling and visiting between departments.  Now this is where it gets odd to me.  You would think, actually being at our office, that it would be employees only.  However, family members are invited and some do show up.  I have never invited my DH, he's usually working anyway.  Over the 10 years I've been here, it has become increasingly chaotic as some families have increased in size.  Our department head for example, has gone from having 1 grandchild to 8 grandchildren (some are step-granchildren), and ALL of them come.  All of these children, plus the other employees' children, just completely run amok in a fairly small area.  There's not even enough seating for everyone.  Did I say it was chaotic?  It really is!  I'm a quiet type of person and my nerves just can't take it for long.  Maybe I'm just a Scrooge or a Grinch, but I no longer enjoy this event at all.  I make a brief showing to be polite and get some food, then I return to my office, which is fortunately in a completely different area!
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: TootsNYC on December 12, 2013, 01:04:37 PM

With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

I think that's because of this:

Quote
we also feel that spouses/partners support our staff/are indirectly involved in our business (if someone works late it effects the household) so deserved a thank you as well, but sisters don't count for that.

Someone who is your life partner (or close to being one, as with a long-term sweetheart) will be impacted by the business; your brother or friend aren't impacted in the same way.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: MindsEye on December 12, 2013, 01:20:17 PM
With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

Married legal spouses, engaged couples, and long term partners only. 
Not your sister, not your BFF, and not even the person you have been dating for the past couple of months. 

It may be billed as a "party" but it is still very much a work event and not a social event.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 01:26:26 PM
It's not about "I want to get as much out of this as I can" as when everyone else has someone they're bringing, and you don't, that doesn't feel so good.

With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

I do understand that it's the culture or the norm to only bring significant others, but I think it's too bad because really what difference does it make to anyone else what the exact relationship is as long as the person they bring is pleasant? (and I say this as someone who is part of a couple who does pretty much everything together, so it's not sour grapes on my part.)

Maybe this is one of those situations romantic comedies are made for; "pretend we're partners for an evening so I don't have to go alone." :D I honestly didn't realize there were still situations where that would matter, so this is interesting to me.

I think this also comes back to the perennial discussion of "what is a social unit?"

A social unit is NOT "anyone who is important to you" or "anyone you would have a good time with."  It is a person who, for formal social events, would be rude to exclude.

Which, I think, is why this varies so widely according to firm culture- if the event is supposed to be a traditional formal social event, then you invite social units.  If it is work-only, you invite only employees, if it is more relaxed/casual, or positioning itself as "family-friendly", then you do a family or "bring a friend" event.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: citadelle on December 12, 2013, 01:26:39 PM
With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

Married legal spouses, engaged couples, and long term partners only. 
Not your sister, not your BFF, and not even the person you have been dating for the past couple of months. 

It may be billed as a "party" but it is still very much a work event and not a social event.

However that isn't always true, and saying that it is doesn't trump the experiences of people for whom the reality is different. Follow the culture of your specific workplace would be my advice.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 01:36:22 PM

However that isn't always true, and saying that it is doesn't trump the experiences of people for whom the reality is different. Follow the culture of your specific workplace would be my advice.

And if you haven't been there long enough to have a good "read" on the culture, it's always better to err on the more cautious side.  You will come off much better having people tell you, "Hey, you could have brought somebody!", than to the other extreme and have people think you are being inappropriate.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: MindsEye on December 12, 2013, 01:48:51 PM
With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

Married legal spouses, engaged couples, and long term partners only. 
Not your sister, not your BFF, and not even the person you have been dating for the past couple of months. 

It may be billed as a "party" but it is still very much a work event and not a social event.

However that isn't always true, and saying that it is doesn't trump the experiences of people for whom the reality is different. Follow the culture of your specific workplace would be my advice.

I assumed that the question was about workplaces that are very strict about the "+1" which is how I answered (my workplace is very conservative and strict like that)

YMMV as always...
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: fountainof on December 12, 2013, 02:58:32 PM
My work's policy is employee plus date.  So you could bring someone you were dating only briefly.  However, it is a small party and a new SO might feel intimidated by the whole party vibe.  No one has ever tried to bring a friend, even those single probably because the event is small.

I think for large parties how would someone even know if the person you brought is your SO since they might not even know you at all.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Arila on December 12, 2013, 03:31:06 PM
Personally, I would never bring a friend (or family member other than spouse) to a work event. The whole point of allowing a +1 to a work event is to sort of get to know one another. A person's spouse is their other half, and it's socially beneficial for the spouse to finally put a face with a name that they always hear about at home, and vice versa. A +1 not so closely related to your coworker is.......moochy. It feels like they are just there for the free food.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: AnnaJ on December 12, 2013, 04:01:24 PM
I'm surprised at the number of comments that anyone other than a significant other is there to mooch.  Bottom line, very few company holiday parties are crash worthy for their food or entertainment - if I invited someone to go to a company party with me I'd consider it a favor on their part.

There have been several threads lately about people feeling isolated at company social events - seated with only their partner at a large table, or having no one sitting on one side of them because one of the 8 chairs is empty (a single person attended) or people who admit to social anxiety and being dependent on their partner for support at an event...and yet, people seem to feel that if you are not part of a couple you have no right to this sort of support.

I have been very lucky, apparently, to have worked for employers who see social events as rewards and not as extensions of work where 'team building' is expected.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: EllenS on December 12, 2013, 04:12:14 PM
I'm surprised at the number of comments that anyone other than a significant other is there to mooch.  Bottom line, very few company holiday parties are crash worthy for their food or entertainment - if I invited someone to go to a company party with me I'd consider it a favor on their part.

There have been several threads lately about people feeling isolated at company social events - seated with only their partner at a large table, or having no one sitting on one side of them because one of the 8 chairs is empty (a single person attended) or people who admit to social anxiety and being dependent on their partner for support at an event...and yet, people seem to feel that if you are not part of a couple you have no right to this sort of support.

I have been very lucky, apparently, to have worked for employers who see social events as rewards and not as extensions of work where 'team building' is expected.

I don't think it would necessarily be intended to mooch - but that is how it would be perceived in the corporate cultures I have been in.  However, I have seen plenty of people who make it very clear they only go for a free meal/open bar - and they do not advance in their careers.

I think you have been very lucky to work for employers where attending company events is enjoyable enough that you would go for fun.  If I am to be "rewarded", I really would rather have a check.

And, of course, the other point about being "paid for their time" if it is work-related?  A lot of people are not paid by the hour, and of course those are usually the positions with the most pressure to live up to company expectations.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: AnnaJ on December 12, 2013, 04:19:58 PM
I'm surprised at the number of comments that anyone other than a significant other is there to mooch.  Bottom line, very few company holiday parties are crash worthy for their food or entertainment - if I invited someone to go to a company party with me I'd consider it a favor on their part.

There have been several threads lately about people feeling isolated at company social events - seated with only their partner at a large table, or having no one sitting on one side of them because one of the 8 chairs is empty (a single person attended) or people who admit to social anxiety and being dependent on their partner for support at an event...and yet, people seem to feel that if you are not part of a couple you have no right to this sort of support.

I have been very lucky, apparently, to have worked for employers who see social events as rewards and not as extensions of work where 'team building' is expected.

I don't think it would necessarily be intended to mooch - but that is how it would be perceived in the corporate cultures I have been in.  However, I have seen plenty of people who make it very clear they only go for a free meal/open bar - and they do not advance in their careers.

I think you have been very lucky to work for employers where attending company events is enjoyable enough that you would go for fun.  If I am to be "rewarded", I really would rather have a check.

And, of course, the other point about being "paid for their time" if it is work-related?  A lot of people are not paid by the hour, and of course those are usually the positions with the most pressure to live up to company expectations.

Perhaps I've been lucky, but part of it is choice - I was not interested in a career that would involved being 'at work' all of the time.  Also part of it is making a choice to attend - the institution I currently work for has several events every year and I rarely attend because I have no interest in doing so...frankly, the vast majority of people in my work position do not attend for a variety of reasons. 

It really is the 'mooching' accusations that I find so odd, mostly because I can't understand the idea the generally mediocre food and drinks are worth it, so I find it strange that there are so many people willing to attend these events just because it's free.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: amandaelizabeth on December 12, 2013, 04:20:30 PM
I am taking five mins out of the preparation for our staff barbecue in the back garden tonight.  This is a once a year gathering and I make sure that people understand that they can bring a partner and then define that I mean husband/partner/relative/friend but that must an 'adult'.  Because I have to specify that I don't just mean partner as husband or equivalent, people do not expect to bring a friend or a relative.  We have met some wonderful people over the years and one or two have ended up being invited in their own right. 
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: katycoo on December 12, 2013, 04:35:24 PM
I've never worked in an office where it would have been appropriate to bring anyone other than partner.
But then, the culture here for weddings is that your plus one is a partner too - not a friend so I'd say that's the default for both workplace and social events.

That said, I've attended functions of my friend's workplace as a friend as it was ok in that environment. These tended to be 'family' day events rather than evening parties though.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: GlitterIsMyDrug on December 12, 2013, 04:48:44 PM
I've gone to company parties solo, I've gone with Partner to her's, I've gone as a "date" with friends, I've even gone with my mom on several occasions. It's never been much of a big deal in any of the offices.

I do caution, whomever you bring, make sure they can behave appropriately at a work function. If you bring them, they represent you.

I've met a lot of people's brothers, sisters, cousins, best friends, and even parents at work parties. I think nothing of it other then "Oh, this is someone Joe knows that is important to Joe, good to know", and I treat them the same as someone's husband, wife, or girlfriend/boyfriend. I don't think "Look at single Joe, bring his friend John, just to get John a free meal! Bad Joe!", the company gave him a +1, it's up to him to do what he'd like with it. Now if John gets wasted hops up on the table and gives his best Miley Cyrus impression...well now I'm thinking "Dang Joe, why'd you bring John? Reel him in!", but if John was Joe's husband, I'd be thinking the same thing.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: DavidH on December 12, 2013, 05:00:37 PM
Everywhere I've worked that has has a +1, the intent was it to be your spouse/partner or maybe someone you were seriously dating, not just some other person you knew. It was clearly understood that kids or other family members would not be appropriate as the +1.  From a practical purpose no one was checking marriage licenses at the door or evaluating how serious your relationship was, but the intent was clearly understood. 

The party is a reward, but it's different from a bonus check.  I see it as intending to reward and build camaraderie among employees and their families.  There was definitely an element of networking and team building as well. 

I think that taking the stance that "Company parties that take place on an employee's personal time are meant to be a reward/gift/thank you to the employees by providing an opportunity to socialize and have a pleasurable time with their coworkers. If it is intended as a networking or team building event, they need to pay the employees for their time because it is no longer a party and is simply work." is problematic since it can be both, rather than just one or the other.

Had anyone suggested they be paid for attending the holiday party, it would be hard to even take the request seriously.  If they pushed, I think the easy answer, would have been along the lines of then don't come, but it would certainly not reflect well on the person asking.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: nuit93 on December 12, 2013, 06:04:03 PM
My BF and I both work for the same company.

Said company has held the occasional holiday party in the past and allowed all employees to bring a "plus 1" (generally assumed to be an SO).  Technically, we would both be allowed to bring a guest/date of our own and have considered doing that.  Typically we end up skipping those events altogether though.  We're kind of boring like that.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: LazyDaisy on December 12, 2013, 06:47:40 PM
The only times I've been offered the option of a +1 at work functions stipulated that employee dinners were complimentary but any +1's had to pay for their meal. I've also seen this at fraternal and professional organizations, and alumni functions -- the members or alumni are free, their companions must pay.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Figgie on December 12, 2013, 06:57:27 PM
With those who say no to bringing friend or relative, is the rule 'you must be romantically involved' or 'long term partners only'? The first one doesn't make much sense to me; if I can bring someone I've been dating for 3 months, why not my best friend or my brother?

Married legal spouses, engaged couples, and long term partners only. 
Not your sister, not your BFF, and not even the person you have been dating for the past couple of months. 

It may be billed as a "party" but it is still very much a work event and not a social event.

This has been my experience too.  I attend my spouse's Christmas party because in his conservative workplace, superiors knowing the spouses is part of how people advance. 

I've never, ever seen them as fun.  Just as the equivalent of the spousal part of the job interview. 

I need to be on the entire night and make sure that I am showing my spouse's bosses and coworkers that I am supportive and able to deal with a variety of people and situations.  We both come home exhausted.

That's just how that particular fairly conservative corporation prefers to do things.  Kind of like the "free" trip to an all inclusive resort in Mexico where they bring along their customers isn't a vacation for either of us.  It is work, as we are expected to do whatever we can to make things positive for the customers. 

I'm very grateful that we've done our turn and I am hoping that my spouse will be retired before we have to do it again.  :)
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Allyson on December 12, 2013, 07:57:36 PM
Figgie, I am curious, in a situation like that where the spouse is expected to do more than just 'not be a social embarrassment', what happens with single employees? Is it just expected everyone in the company is married? I know you say it's conservative, is that what's meant? I have honestly never experienced anything like that, so it's totally out of my frame of reference. It seems really stressful, in any case!
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: *inviteseller on December 12, 2013, 08:13:48 PM
The reason my company had to institute the rule was because it is a catered event at the facility (we are 24/7 and because of this if they had it off site some people by default of their schedule would not be 'invited') was in the last few years, from what the ED and a few others have told me, people were bringing not only their SO, but parents, siblings, their kids, nieces and nephews.  There was one girl who showed up with her new BF, her mom, aunt, 2 sisters and all their kids (5 or 6 of them).  These companies try to put on something decent, spending a lot of money, for the employees and their spouses/partners and kids as a thank you for all our hard work and to our other halves, a thanks for putting up with sometimes weird hours.  I have set these events up at previous jobs and I always see people take advantage of the companies generosity, be it on or off company property.  I know my ex husbands company had to go to the pay for the +1 because people were bringing anyone for guests and people who didn't care about their behavior because they had no connection with the company were chugging the free alcohol and one guy had a serious drunk driving accident leaving and sued the company..they figured employees would pay for their spouses/partners..not so much for their drunken friend. 
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: Figgie on December 12, 2013, 10:18:23 PM
Figgie, I am curious, in a situation like that where the spouse is expected to do more than just 'not be a social embarrassment', what happens with single employees? Is it just expected everyone in the company is married? I know you say it's conservative, is that what's meant? I have honestly never experienced anything like that, so it's totally out of my frame of reference. It seems really stressful, in any case!

The company doesn't expect all of its employees to be married.  It does expect those who move to the upper tier to be in a supportive re*la*tionship (marriage equivalent) because at those levels, the demands for time and travel that they place on their employees means it is difficult to do what the job requires without someone else managing all of the rest of the details of your life.

It is hugely stressful, especially during the interview process.  As the spouse, I have to be able to figure out what the people doing the interview want from a wife and then give whatever impression it is that they want so that I don't sink my spouse's chances.  I need to be able to get along with everyone and I also need to know how to order and eat in the restaurants and even which fork to use.  :)  Generally (but not always) the spousal part of the interview has taken place at a restaurant.

Everyone at my spouse's level and above is married.  All of them but one to their first spouse.  While I don't know for sure that that is a criteria when they advance/hire people, I suspect that it might be because of the prevalence of people at that level who have been married a good number of years to only one spouse.

And to bring it back to the original question...it would kill someone's chances of advancement to come to a Christmas party (which is really just another work function) with someone other than a person that they are in a spouse type re*la*tionship.  Since one of the functions of the party is to assess how well people are working together and to see which people are ready to move up and which aren't, it is important for the higher ups to see the couples together.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: KarenK on December 13, 2013, 05:34:36 AM
Our Christmas party is next week..it is a catered event being held on site (which we didn't want but oh well).  The sign up sheet specified that you could only bring your spouse or partner and any kids had to be your own.  They have, in the past people bring friends, other relatives, nieces, nephews.  This is for immediate family/long time partners.

It's kind of sad that they actually had to spell this out, but I understand why.

But, this is exactly what this OP is asking about. In my view, an employee with an immediate family (married with kids) is highly privileged in this rationale over someone who is single. So, due to the fact that the OP does not have a significant other, or any kids (my assumption based on the fact that none were mentioned), they get to go alone to an event whereas someone who has married and procreated could be bringing their own version of a soccer team.

I don't know that it is really "sad" to be spelled out, but rather sad that a single person might simply forgo their work festivities, and that people are fine with that when it clearly is not an issue of numbers.

I was not looking at it in that way. I was seeing the problem was that some people were bringing all and sundry and the company was sick of paying for it. I do think that if spouses/significant others are invited, then single people should be allowed to bring a +1 of their choice.

ETA:

Actually, according to inviteseller, my interpretation was correct:

The reason my company had to institute the rule was because it is a catered event at the facility (we are 24/7 and because of this if they had it off site some people by default of their schedule would not be 'invited') was in the last few years, from what the ED and a few others have told me, people were bringing not only their SO, but parents, siblings, their kids, nieces and nephews.  There was one girl who showed up with her new BF, her mom, aunt, 2 sisters and all their kids (5 or 6 of them).  These companies try to put on something decent, spending a lot of money, for the employees and their spouses/partners and kids as a thank you for all our hard work and to our other halves, a thanks for putting up with sometimes weird hours.  I have set these events up at previous jobs and I always see people take advantage of the companies generosity, be it on or off company property.  I know my ex husbands company had to go to the pay for the +1 because people were bringing anyone for guests and people who didn't care about their behavior because they had no connection with the company were chugging the free alcohol and one guy had a serious drunk driving accident leaving and sued the company..they figured employees would pay for their spouses/partners..not so much for their drunken friend. 

People were taking advantage of the company's generosity. That's the sad part - the fact that people had to be told that it's inappropriate to bring their entire extended family just because it's free.
Title: Re: S/O You can't come...Bringing friend to work event
Post by: ladyknight1 on December 13, 2013, 03:07:01 PM
My previous employer had a lovely dinner provided to all staff, and closed the business during the party so all employees could come.

Some people really made an effort to come and be social and one of our junior employees brought her dog, since he was her family. That was the last one of those parties I attended.

In my current field (higher education), it is important to attend these events for networking purposes and to socialize. When employees do not attend, it is noticed.