I've been working in a small IT company (about 20 employees) for a few months. Last night (Friday) we had the Christmas company dinner, all employees together.

After the dinner the manager and some senior employees wanted to go drink and party more, while me and a couple others junior employees wanted to call it a night and get some sleep since we have to leave early to reach family/girlfriend/wife that are far from the workplace city. So we politely refused and left.

However, our manager knows that we live together in a shared flat, so he started calling us on our mobile. They were all a bit drunk, so at first we just tried to be polite but firm answering "no please we need to sleep now", "we're sorry but we cannot join you but you have fun" and so on. Then they came to our place and kept ringing the doorbell for a while, so in the end we went downstairs and told them to leave us alone and shut the door, and we were quite upset.

In the end they left, but now I'm wondering how should we have handled this situation and how to approach our manager next Monday, since he seemed offended by our reaction. Did we respond in the best way?

Small addendum:

Probably it was not clear from the original post, but the shared flat is not far from the workplace and the dinner location. It's our families or wifes or girlfriends that live far away (hence the shared flat), and we usually reach them on Friday evenings. We made an exception for the dinner, but we had planned flights or trains early on Saturday and we warned everybody from the start that we couldn't stay out all night, just the dinner.

  • 2
    I would imagine that will be embarrassed (if they can remember it). If they cannot they do not mention it. We have all had embarrassing moments.
    – Ed Heal
    Dec 12, 2015 at 0:20
  • I bow out of work social events or leave soon after they start, well before people start getting drunk because people can often be totally different under the influence. It depends how harmless it was, if you think it was harmless, then there is no need to go into it with the managers, (or display it to the World in general on the internet). If not, then you probably should have sorted it on the night.
    – Kilisi
    Dec 12, 2015 at 0:31
  • Once they started refusing to leave you should have frankly called the police.
    – Weckar E.
    Mar 9, 2017 at 9:43

4 Answers 4


It's your manager who owes you an apology, and not the other way around. They should have respected your wishes. We've all (possibly) drunk dialed someone on a Saturday night, then apologized on a Monday. So I wouldn't be surprised if you get an apology on the Monday.

As for how you think you behaved, I'll be honest I'm surprised you didn't call the police. Or thrown a bucket of cold water on their head, so well done for not doing that :-)


Don't approach them. Let them approach you. Accept their apology.

If they don't apologize then you have a problem. I have done much dumber stuff drunk and when I sobered up I knew it. Hopefully they are embarrassed. But forgive them - even managers get stupid.


Without history I would just chalk it up as a good story to tell.

Sure the manager was inappropriate. But it sounds like the manager was treating you as a friend and he was the drunk friend trying to call you out for going home early.

Does he need to apologize? Naaah. Friends don't apologize they just do dumb things while drunk and then you make fun of them after. I think you took the situation a little too serious. He acted a little dumb, well a lot dumb.

No use holding a grudge or behing uncomfortable about one event and one stupid night. Making a joke about it or just going over and saying "hi" breaks the ice a bit. If you are waiting for an apology - well maybe he owes one to the Serious Steve - but don't be Serious Steve. Laugh it off. He didn't do anything but act dumb. You act like nothing happened and he will trust you more and maybe look the other way when you make a mistake at work.


Generally, there is not a defined professional response to unprofessional behavior.

While you did not appreciate or welcome the behavior of the manager, the best response is to behave as if their behavior was appropriate. They did not break the law (from your description), they were annoying to you, and it's possible they don't remember the events in the same way that you (and your flatmates) do.

They may apologize for being aggressive - following you to a place "far from the workplace city" sounds like a significant effort on their part. Impaired judgment aside, they were eager to continue to include you in their festivities. You had other priorities and plans. This happens in social settings, and expecting an apology or providing one is polite from either and both sides.

To prevent this from happening, next time it is important to ask about and communicate expectations in advance. Business events (even "social" ones) should include a planned start and end time. Without knowing their expectations, it is easy to miscommunicate.

So before committing to a business function such as this, it is completely appropriate to ask when is starts and also when it ends. If an end time is not specified, then respond in advance with when you expect to leave, if you already have expectations. Otherwise, it is not clear to others your motivation for leaving "early". You will be expected to stay as long as it seems like everyone is having fun... or some other soft measure.

Alternatively, if you did not specify an end time and need to leave but your host/boss is not receptive, feign illness or express an urgent personal matter that requires you / your party to exit. Saying you need to "leave" and your boss/manager says, "Oh please stay!" - you can politely explain the "details" of your need to leave. Matters that involve medicine, wash rooms and/or a change of clothing typically end the evening quickly for those afflicted. However, fake illness is really a last resort, as most people exhibit symptoms or if you use it often, it will be obvious that you are faking it, but not obvious why you are doing it.

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