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So, I've handed my notice in at my job and one of my colleagues (let's call him Bob for the sake of argument) is giving me the suspicion that he's throwing a surprise get together with the office for my leaving (only a small office, we're all professionally quite close and it has happened previously with other colleagues who have left). The sentiment is great an' all, but I really feel uncomfortable with surprises (I don't know why? I'm quite an extroverted person). I'd much rather people just told me and arranged things with me (boring, I know!) but I make plans out of work a lot and I don't want to let anyone down (both in and out of work).

The reason why I suspect him of doing so:

  1. He's asked me if I'm doing anything for it, which I replied "I haven't organised anything, nor' was I planning to." (normal question)
  2. He's also asked me, what day specifically I'll be leaving (in a separate conversation, as he doesn't know when I handed my notice in, just knows that I'm leaving).
  3. He's also asked whether I've been to a local bar in the city centre before and what I think of it (in the same conversation as 2, I wouldn't suspect anything if it was a separate conversation)

The thing is, I don't want to just approach him and say "Please don't do any surprises or anything, I'd rather we just arranged something!" because I would literally look super arrogant (and it would be slightly awkward if he wasn't and was just curious about my leaving). Safe to say though, I'm probably not the only person who doesn't like surprises.

Which begs the question, how can I subtly tell someone I don't like surprises?

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    Are you opposed to a get-together at all, or just a surprise one? – HDE 226868 Aug 13 '17 at 16:43
  • @HDE226868 just a surprise one. – Bradley Wilson Aug 13 '17 at 16:46
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    <comments removed> Folks, if you have an answer, please post it below. These questions are meant to help future visitors who may run into similar problems in the future — so asking "Will <my solution> work for you?" is completely unwarranted. We have to decide if this subject fits our Q&A format, so if every question is a prelude to a discussion, maybe this subject does not work on this site. – Robert Cartaino Aug 15 '17 at 13:59
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If you know that it's customary you can just say that you're aware of that.

I know you all usually throw surprise parties for people who are on their way out... Please don't throw one for me. I don't like surprises.

Another option, if you don't mind getting together with your co-workers, would be to circumvent their planning with your own.

You know that local bar you asked me about the other day? I was thinking about throwing myself a little going away party there on my last day.

Option two would probably be a little more gracious. It gives them an opportunity to give you a nice send-off, without the surprise.

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    I think the second option is the one. It shows I'm not assuming that they are doing it but I also get abit of flexibility in where it can be and when it can be. +1! – Bradley Wilson Aug 13 '17 at 21:41
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I've never had to do this myself but, imagining one such situation, I'd probably say:

It sounds to me as though you guys are planning something. You wouldn't have asked these things otherwise, perhaps. I hope to be involved from the planning itself and avoid any surprises, you know. Or maybe I've misread it.

Or, I could ask another friend to do something similar in my stead, if he's sure there's a party in the works.

Guys, about that surprise party we're planning for him, I think it's best to include him now itself. He doesn't like surprises much. He'd have loved to be a part of the whole planning and stuff.

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