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I’m a gay man in my early thirties and this is the first year I’ll be attending my company’s holiday party since coming out at work.
I’m proud of who I am, but I’m also nervous about how I’ll be received in a more social, less professional setting.
Do you have any advice on how to handle any potentially awkward situations and enjoy the evening?
-Nervous but proud
Related: Gay Test – Am I Gay?
Dear Nervous but proud,
First off, kudos to you for embracing your true self at work!
The holiday party is a great opportunity to solidify this new, open chapter in your professional life.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the evening:
- Confidence is key: Remember, you’ve already taken the brave step of coming out at work. Carry that confidence with you to the party. Your comfort with yourself can set the tone for how others interact with you.
- Have an ally: If there’s a colleague or two who you’re particularly close to, consider sticking with them during the party. Having an ally by your side can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel.
- Prepare for questions: Some people might be curious about your life since they now know you’re gay. Think about how much you’re willing to share and prepare some polite but firm ways to deflect anything too personal.
- Avoid confrontation: If you encounter any negativity or awkward comments, it’s usually best to avoid confrontation in a party setting. A simple change of topic or excusing yourself to get a drink can be effective.
- Focus on common interests: Conversations don’t have to revolve around your sexuality. Discuss common interests like holiday plans, hobbies, or work projects to build connections.
- Exit strategy: If you start to feel uncomfortable, it’s perfectly okay to make a polite exit. You’re not obligated to stay the whole time.
Remember, this party is as much for you as it is for anyone else.
Enjoy it, be yourself, and who knows, you might end up having a great time and strengthening your relationships at work.
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