Farewell Faux Pas: Is attending your own party really necessary?

Q: A co-worker is leaving after 8 years of employment. She has requested that a farewell party not be held in her honor. Instead, co-workers have decided to take her out to dinner. Her boss has decided that a farewell party will be held during office hours. Can she refuse to attend?

A: There is no correct answer. It might be awkward for her not to attend a party in her honor that is held during office hours. However, it’s her choice. Nonetheless, it would be more diplomatic for her to attend and graciously accept the good wishes of those present.


  1. Joanna

    I agree that it’s rather awkward, and not to mention rude – all these folks want to do is wish her well, after spending countless hours with her over nearly a decade, and she’s basically spurning that. It’s her prerogative, of course, but especially given today’s economy I would be especially careful of that, if for no other reason than she doesn’t want to burn her bridges. What happens if she needs to use these colleagues as references? I know it sounds crazy, but it IS possible that the last impression people will have of her – i.e. going to great lengths to avoid socializing – is going to override whatever good work she may have done for the past eight years. Sometimes it’s simply easier to make an appearance at that dinner, smile graciously for an hour or two, and leave on a positive note.

  2. Jonathan

    As a quiet introverted person, I disagree. Introversion has many different levels and some of us don’t want to go through all the prodding, prying questions (and many times out 0f bounds) that accompany such gatherings. We like our privacy, we aren’t stuck up (or burning bridges) we just prefer not to be constantly the center of attention. Another thought: I am a very skinny guy who is constantly harassed because of it. This makes eating in front of those doing the critiquing of what I choose to put in my body awkward for me. I can imagine other scenarios that would explain why this woman wouldn’t want to socialize with co-workers. If her co-workers had any respect they would’ve honored her wishes, maybe provided a nice card or gift with well wishes.

  3. Steve Muir

    If the person does not want anything done in the office…leaving that is their prerogative.
    may not want to or does not intend to keep in touch with former co workers…

    Boss could be embarrassed with her attitude.. spouse left her job…retired 1 year ago…
    not happy about verbal rows that 1 had with 3 co workers and how an employee with 35 years of service was treated on her last day…no gift was bought….t/l said no time to
    get a gift(s)….nonsense…told them 4 months in advance….told Upper Management she intended to comment on this incidents….bosses freaked out…clean 95% of her stuff days before…now signed 2 documents….gone within 40 minutes. no lunches/party or anything…not interested in fake activity….Month ago, another male employee did the same thing…followed by 2 female co workers….2 weeks later…team lunch held…nothing else…’did not want any gifts..’ left 3 pm…spoke to 1-2 staffers that s it….

  4. Lisa

    I have a separate question. I am currently getting married soon. My office is throwing me a bridal wedding shower. It is common in my office for them to do that for anyone who is getting married. I also plan on quitting this job and taking some time off and had planned to do this around the same time they are throwing me the party. Should I refuse the party since I will be quitting around the same time?

  5. Janet

    I am retiring soon after supporting the same physicians for 26 years. I would like to give each of them a small gift. What is appropriate?

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