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I'll leave for a new job in a month. When some of my colleagues left the team for another one (but still remained in the company, which means we hang out around coffee regularly, it's not like they left entirely), they organized a "goodbye party" in a bar, where they paid for beers and snacks for everyone invited.
I, on the other hand, am about to leave the company completely. I'll still see some of my co-workers with whom I have a rock band and some others that I got to know well and so we already agreed to go grab lunch together about once a week.

I'm considering organizing my goodbye party at home. I don't have enough money to pay for an open bar and I believe I could organize something nicer at home. I also believe that organizing my goodbye party at home might convey my want of keeping in touch with them. But I'm afraid my invitation will seem weird- why would I organize it at my place when I could do it in a bar? Please note that I'm not really inclined to disclose my financial "limitations" to my co-workers, although they may be able to figure out by themselves since I'm much younger and therefore my salary is significantly lower.

So here I am, wanting to invite my co-workers at home for my goodbye party, but I'm afraid they'll be embarrassed because it's too personal to invite your colleagues to your place. I'm autistic and an oversharer and so I usually struggle to understand where to draw the line between privacy and professional life.
How could I invite them to my goodbye party at my place without embarrassing them for not doing it in a bar?

Frame challenges are welcome as long as you explain why you think I really shouldn't organize my goodbye party at home. Ideas on elsewhere to organize it are welcomed as well.

  • Do your workplace have a kitchen/break-room where you could organize such a "goodbye party"? – Ælis May 9 at 9:20
  • Yes, we do. However, I don't think we're allowed to bring alcohol in here. – avazula May 9 at 10:32
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    Is covering an open bar at a going-away party typical in your part of France? My experience in the US is that these sorts of gatherings at bars are usually not paid for, or the guests will buy drinks for the person leaving. It may be that your coworkers have set a precedent that goes above what would actually be expected of you. – David K May 9 at 12:18
  • What do you consider to be a problem at home? Did you discuss this with a colleague you trust? If you should find this isn't a problem then you already have the solution. On the other side, if David is right and you will get drinks from the others, you make a better deal to go to a bar. This also aviods having drunk people at home :-) – puck May 9 at 17:42
  • Is this typical where you are? I'm in the US, but whenever I have left a job, my co-workers put out a going-away party for me...usually in the office, but it wasn't my responsibility to arrange it. Throwing your own party seems odd to me, but different countries have different customs – bluegreen May 10 at 18:28
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Inviting people at your home is often much nicer, but also more personal. So you'd better make sure before that people are willing to go that far. Usually, when I decide to host such an event, it's because I've already (roughly) counted up the number of persons who will attend. And I know it's worth the extra step. You should list them, and decide whether you'll keep up with your idea or not. If you do...

  1. prepare home-made stuff: snacks and one special drink.
  2. get some "standard" drinks, like beer, wine, juices, soda.
  3. make a card with fun and puzzling content.

Bullet #1: it's much better, tastes better, and is far less expensive. I make some snacks (because I can cook), and if you have no idea, a quick search will help you find some nice stuff, fast, easy to make, and tasty. For the drink, any punch will do the trick.

Bullet #2: don't forget people who only like one thing, or may not like your cocktail.

Bullet #3: don't tell them what they'll have, tease them :) get some funny or weird wording (about the snacks / drinks), give them clues, have them think about it. And play with them if they ask before (don't disclose!), and even play with them when they arrive at home.

By doing that, you show them that you care, and wanted to be more involved that just "paying for drinks". Of course, you know your colleagues better, so you'll have to know where to draw the line. Don't go too far or too weird, don't get too personal, as they might be "scared" because they think it's too "nose up". Be nice, and let them decide.

That's what I do all the time, and only people who have something important already scheduled excuse themselves before the event. The others come in and have fun :)

  • Have you done the above for work colleagues aged 30+ and it worked? – ooOOooK May 15 at 0:20
  • Well, actually, can't tell you, because the 1st time I did it, we were mainly 25/30 YO. After that, we grew older :) and now, I suspect that people come because they know/heard about/like my party, and the funny email may not be the main point of attraction. But the homemade stuff is really what they enjoyed and still do, so it has worked for me, no matter which part was the most important/attractive to them. And people come easily if they like you :) – OldPadawan May 15 at 5:12
  • Could you give an example for the email? Especially, what do you mean by "don't tell them what they will have"? Is it strictly about food and drinks? Or also activities? I would be quite worried to go to a party with coworkers (even informal) if there is a mysterious "fun" activity (karaoke? costumes?...). I would lean towards a more informative but still fun email. – Taladris May 21 at 9:04
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Background

I used to live in a place where going to bars was considered the social norm in terms of celebrations between colleagues of certain lines of work. Even high-school students would sometimes consider sharing a slice of cake with their classmates at the local bar.

Those that wanted to make a celebration special, or memorable, used to arrange it at home. For instance, a co-worker who was about to move abroad and leave the community prepared a pot-luck buffet at her place, where we all contributed with a dish, or by bringing drinks. Another colleague who retired had a garden barbecue. And another one rather suggested a pic-nic at the local park, given that his home was a room in a shared flat, and his flatmates were not of the social types.

In light of the above, having your party at home is not just about making it cosy, or inexpensive. It is also about making it memorable and special.

Some suggestions on how to invite others and convey the idea that you wish to keep in touch

I'll address the invitation and keeping-in-touch points, as it seems from the question that the OP has already a rough idea of what to serve.

How to invite them:

I am organizing a party at my place. I would be very pleased if you would like to join too.

How to address the question of why at your home:

I find bars very impersonal, (and boring,) and I wanted this party to be memorable.

How to address any comment about you doing it at home in order to save money:

Great parties don't need excuses.

How to convey the idea that you may want to keep in touch:

You can have a (nice looking) notebook where each guest can add their contacts by the table. You can invite them to add their contacts, if they wish, so that you can keep in touch. Offer to give them your contacts after they add theirs to your notebook.

A few considerations, inspired by past experiences

  • There is absolutely nothing embarrassing about having a party at home. It shows that you care, and that you are willing to commit and share on a personal level. It also shows a type of generosity that does not rely on monetary shortcuts. On the other hand, it is fairly embarrassing to do it in a place as common and public as a bar, and pretend it is the best you can do.

  • To clarify the point above: any person with a credit card can open a tab in a bar and let perfect strangers get wasted on their savings. The procedure is so anonymous that there is not even the need to shake hands. The bar staff arranges the drinks, cleans the place, and make it available for whoever to come by and spend money.

  • To invite someone at your home in the way that you describe you need to open it, you need to welcome them at the door, and you will take time and effort to make your home welcoming for them, and you will clean it after they have left. All this is added effort that will tell your guests just how much you cared.

  • Let others contribute with their work, or with something that they can bring, if so they wish, but, unless you need them to, make it clear that it is not an obligation to do so.

  • Your first 2 bullet points convey the same idea as mine, and I think that it's important to have people understand that. Our methods are different, but the core is the same. I don't think people's age will matter that much, but I agree with you about the way to tell them. You won't behave the same way with millenials or much older folks, and presentation should correspond to the audience. My answer is more "european" I guess (but England is different here IMO, bars were the norm), what about yours? – OldPadawan May 15 at 6:43

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