Tips for Surviving Your Office Holiday Party
Company holiday parties are a powder keg of pent-up emotions, flowing drinks, and colleagues you’re less than fond of. This can make an upcoming holiday party a bit of a daunting challenge. We’ve given you the low down on mistakes you should avoid during your holiday party, and now we’re going to prep you with the tips you need to make this an office party to remember—for the right reasons.
Limit Your Drinks
While a holiday party is a fun time to let loose, don’t take that theme too liberally. Getting a little too friendly with the drink table could have you hurting in more ways than one in the morning: you don’t want to blurt out some office drama you weren’t even supposed to know about or make a fool of yourself in front of one your company’s higher ups. Give yourself a drink limit and stick to it. A good general rule of thumb is three glasses of wine or the equivalent over the course of the evening, chased with plenty of water. If you think you’ll have a hard time stopping, simply don’t start. A sober evening definitely outweighs the risk of embarrassment come Monday morning in the office.
Don’t Talk About Work
While you’re bound to touch a bit on work happenings at a party composed of all of your colleagues, make sure you keep the shop talk to a minimum. An office holiday party is meant to be a morale-boosting break from the normal hustle and bustle of the regular work day, so respect that and leave excessive work talk in the office. If you’re having a hard time coming up with other discussion topics, always ask your conversation partner questions. People love to talk about themselves, it’s a fact of life, and getting them talking is a surefire way to ensure you don’t have to. Other conversation topics to avoid include politics, religion, and any gossip you may have picked up around the office—you never know who is listening.
Don’t Leave Early
While it might be tempting to run out early on an event filled with coworkers you get more than enough of during the week, it won’t reflect well on you if you leave the party ahead of time. Being the first to leave the party can make you seem ungrateful, and others might see you as a stick in the mud. If you have a valid excuse or simply don’t think you’ll be able to keep your sanity if you stay at the party for longer than an hour, tell your host as soon as you walk in the door and have a surefire reason. Whether it be “the babysitter can’t stay past 10” or “I have to get to a family party,” make sure it’s believable while profusely thanking the host. On your way out, make sure you don’t hoard the office party favors—that won’t reflect well, either.
Follow Attire Guidelines
If it’s a black tie affair, don’t show up in jeans. Follow along with the dress guidelines and you’ll feel a lot better once you’re there and not sticking out like a sore thumb. Make it easy and fun by suggesting that your employer choose an ugly Christmas sweater party theme. It’s sure to be an icebreaker, and you’ll get to see the comedic sides of your colleagues—plus no uncomfortable dress shoes for the fellas or aching heels for the ladies.
Spend Time Mingling
While it’s tempting to stick around your office buddies during the festivities, make sure you take the time to do your fair share of mingling. Holiday parties provide the perfect opportunity to network with your higher ups. Now this doesn’t give you license to schmooze—be generally and sincerely interested in what the person you’re talking to is saying. Avoid saying too much about yourself, you don’t want to come off as pompous or pretentious. All you need to do to break the ice is to come up with a toast: to the holidays, to a lucrative business year, or any other viable reason you can think of. Clink glasses, and bam—you’re having a conversation with the out-of-state supervisor you’ve only ever heard about.
If you’ve got an office party coming up, make sure you do your best to avoid the common mistakes employees and employers alike make every year. Avoid overdrinking, take the chance to mingle with those you may not see on a regular basis, and have a good time—you never know, this could be the year to take your career to new heights.