20-40-60 Etiquette: Party like a boss?
QUESTION: Is there a protocol about inviting my boss to my party? He is a lot of fun, but I really don't know him very well. Would he feel like he has to come?
CALLIE'S ANSWER: What kind of party is it? Would he know the other guests or just you? I switched jobs a few months before I got married and invited my new boss to our wedding. She knew a few of the guests and hopefully enjoyed herself!
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: It depends on the relationship you have with your boss, but if all of your co-workers are invited, then please invite him, too. However, I wouldn't completely let your guard down at any party in front of your boss — don't do anything wild or stupid that could get you in trouble at work or make him wonder why you work there. I know this statement is obvious, but use good judgment. Keep things light and fun and enjoy getting to know everyone outside the office, And if he doesn't come, then that is OK, too. He probably is being cautious, too.
HELEN'S ANSWER: If you are inviting the entire office, then invite your boss. And if he is available at that time, he will probably come. If he feels that it is inappropriate, then he will decline.
If you are having a small social gathering and just want to get to know him better, then probably you should leave him off the list. I like being inclusive, rather than exclusive, but a little more formality is in order for the office.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Joe Hight, University of Central Oklahoma journalism ethics chair, and president of Best of Books: This could create an awkward situation, depending the type of party you're planning. If you're in a small office and inviting everyone, then invite the boss without expectations that he will attend. Otherwise, consider whether inviting your boss is the proper or right thing to do. He may be fun, but your fun at the office could end if you don't handle the situation properly.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.