Christmas and New Year's office parties and other formal gatherings are becoming less common as more and more Koreans resent the enforced conviviality.
One 35-year-old office worker in Gyeonggi Province got married in May this year and has been facing pressure from his boss to hold a house-warming party for coworkers.
"I really don't want to invite my colleagues to my private space," he said. "Work is work, and I don't want to mix it with my personal life. I'm avoiding them by pretending that my wife is sick."
One restaurant in downtown Seoul used to be bustling with customers this time of year as businesses nearby held their year-end parties, but bookings are on the wane as more and more people spend their year-end holidays by themselves.
Analysis of Daumsoft big data shows references to year-end gatherings on social media fell from 73,811 instances in 2014 to 52,042 last year.
Job portal Incruit polled 2,887 people early this month and found that 56.3 percent were reluctant to attend year-end parties.
"Koreans have started to feel that it is no longer socially important to form groups and forge connections all the time," said Koo Jeong-woo at Sungkyunkwan University.
Lim Woon-taek at Keimyung University also said, "Koreans have started to draw a clear line between their professional and private lives and are less willing to draw their coworkers into their personal space. Unlike previous generations, young people are brought up with a limited range of relationships due to intense pressure to study."
Lee Joon-young at Sangmyung University suspects a commercial motive. "People these days start calculating the net value of relationships" -- in other words, only the most cost-effective relationships are maintained.
But this reluctance among young people to play the game often leads to friction with the older generation. One example is bickering with parents over whether to have a formal party to celebrate the first birthday of babies.
"The older generation grew up in a society that valued communities and places a lot of importance on social gatherings," said Shin Kwang-young at Chungang University. "But younger people place a lot of importance on individualism."