How you behave around your colleagues during happy hour can say a lot about you.
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
How you behave around your colleagues during happy hour can say a lot about you.
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn

A Field Guide to Happy Hour

A Field Guide to Happy Hour
A Field Guide to Happy Hour
How you behave around your colleagues during happy hour can say a lot about you.
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Bar Belly-Uppers
Bar Belly-Uppers
12%<br/>Guys sitting elbow to elbow at the bar, glued to a game “may not think they’re interacting, but they feel they’re on the same team,” says Givens. Adds Navarro: “Their bodies are echoing each other in perfect synchrony as friends.” Wood: “Guys touch side to side. It’s relaxed camaraderie,” especially if they’ve been in battle mode at work.
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Bro-Tastic Touchers
Bro-Tastic Touchers
15%<br/> Men who give copious high-fives, backslaps, and the occasional fist bump are engaging in “a dominance display,” says Navarro. “It’s intended to get them noticed—to show who’s the biggest silver­back ape.” Adds Wood: “This is acceptable touching for heterosexual men.” Wendt: “These are stages of relaxation.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Nervous Munchers
Nervous Munchers
3%<br/> Women who nibble minutely on nachos are “starving but trying to look feminine,” Wood says. “If she’s doing something repetitively, like creasing her oyster crackers packet, it means she needs to control the situation.” Givens says, “Crunching snack food harkens back to primates eating nuts and berries.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Impromptu Boogiers
Impromptu Boogiers
13%<br/> Sudden, brief eruptions of dancing to old Wham! or Guns N’ Roses songs expresses “joy bubbling up without sanctions,” Wood says. Givens says people are “seeking attention by moving,” while Navarro notes, “smooth movements are psychologically attractive.” Lydon: “They’re either ready to go home with somebody or they’re drunk. Or both.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Device Bonders
Device Bonders
8%<br/> Intense, fetishistic sharing of photos, texts, or new apps on each other’s handhelds is “bonding, sharing your artifacts,” Givens says. Wood: “Sharing photos [on a smartphone] has replaced sharing stories. People get physically intimate, shoulder to shoulder. When you hand over your device, you’re sharing a part of yourself.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Disrobers
Disrobers
6%<br/> “You’re saying, ‘I can relax and don’t have to be alpha anymore,’ ” says Woods of the men who untuck their shirts and women who take off their heels and jackets at the bar. “It’s a display of freedom and unconventionality,” says Navarro. Givens: “It’s the new taking off your tie.” Lydon: “They’re one step closer to going home together.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
David Hasselhoffs
David Hasselhoffs
4%<br/> “They’ve had one too many,” Lydon says of people who stumble, slur, weave across the bar, hang on to colleagues for dear life, or spend 15 minutes trying to unlock a bathroom stall with no lock. Navarro says: “Some people have to self-medicate. Bars are a safe place for this behavior.” Notes Wood: “You can always just say, ‘I was sooo drunk.’ ” Wendt: “I don’t judge.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Sloppy Power Huggers
Sloppy Power Huggers
17%<br/>“You don’t have to be as PC as at the office,” says Wood of cocktailing colleagues who engage in excessive, extravagant hugs and kisses and rejoice in simply being co-workers. “You’re out of the office but with your tribe,” says Navarro. Wendt adds: “I guess that’s alcohol doing its thing.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Attention Lusters
Attention Lusters
19%<br/> Women who flip their hair and bob their legs “are flirting,” says Navarro. “Bouncing feet and dangling shoes mean she’s really into you.” Lydon agrees: “She’s hoping someone pays her some attention.” Givens has a different take: “A bobbing foot could mean some social anxiety.”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn
Solo Drinkers
Solo Drinkers
2%<br/> “They’re alone in a crowd, finding comfort in a noisy environment,” says Navarro of people who idle to the side as their co-workers have a rip-roaring good time. Givens thinks, “You’re secondhand socializing, like [inhaling] secondhand smoke.” Says Wendt: “I try to fly under the radar, but someone always yells out: ‘Norm!’ ”
Illustration by Elliot Thoburn