How To Politely Be A Wallflower At Your Next Company Party

office christmas party

If you’re usually a wallflower at parties, you might feel a bit uncomfortable being a wallflower at company parties. It can be especially awkward when you don’t want to attend the party but don’t want to disappoint your boss (or be seen as weird).

If the unspoken pressure to mingle and engage in small talk is overwhelming, here’s how to be the perfect wallflower at your next corporate party while following party etiquette:

Stick with people you know

When you arrive at the party, find someone you know and feel comfortable with, and join their conversation. Stick with them as much as possible. If they leave your circle, you don’t need to carry on the conversation if you don’t want to. Ask other people in the group to share their experiences, so you don’t have to do much talking.

If your friends disburse, quickly excuse yourself to use the restroom to avoid a long, awkward silence. By the time you walk out of the restroom, people will have shifted around, and you can inconspicuously look around for another group to join.

At most parties, people are too busy mingling with each other to notice what other people are doing. It’s unlikely your boss will call you out for staying in the same group the whole time.

If you don’t know anyone well, walk up to the most casual looking group, and compliment someone on their attire as a gentle way to join the conversation. Stand there for a bit, and if they don’t seem to acknowledge you into the conversation, walk away.

Volunteer to help organize the party, serve alcohol, or DJ

The more involved you are in organizing, planning, and setting up the party, the more reason you’ll have to excuse yourself to perform duties during the party.

Ask your boss if you can choose the party supplies, and during the party ask people what they think of the decorations. Let people know you picked them out. Volunteer to be part of the setup crew and you’ll have an out to go into clean up mode anytime you feel uncomfortable. You don’t need to wash dishes, but you can take your time gathering dirty napkins and abandoned plates.

Serve beer and wine

If your boss plans on serving alcohol, volunteer to be the server. You won’t need to leave their station for most of the night, and serving alcohol will keep you busy. You’ll have shorter, frequent conversations rather than longer awkward ones.

Be the DJ

After playing the DJ at a party, Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower said, “it was a great way to sit alone at a party, and still feel a part of things.”

If you’ve got experience as a DJ, that’s the ideal position for a serious wallflower. Unlike serving alcohol, you’ll be concentrating more and fewer people will attempt to start a conversation due to the nearby speakers.

Give the host’s pets attention

Provided they’re friendly, make friends with the host’s pets. If you see a dog or cat wandering around looking for attention, give it some scratches or belly rubs, but don’t be the person who disappears into the spare bedroom with the host’s cats for hours. That might earn you a reputation for being weird.

Pets are a good out for you if you show up to the party alone and don’t want to feel awkward for long periods of time.

Ask questions and deflect other people’s questions

It’s okay to deflect other people’s questions when you don’t feel like answering them. People love attention, and the chance to talk about themselves is like gold. Deflecting questions and giving someone else the spotlight is a sure way to take the group’s focus off of you.

Dress plainly to avoid compliments and attention

You don’t need to impress anyone at the party, but you should dress professionally. Whatever you wear, make sure it’s plain and standard attire according to the formality of the party.