‘Tis the season of the office holiday party, and though you’re looking forward to letting loose with your coworkers, it’s important to keep one thing in mind. The office holiday party isn’t Vegas, and what happens at the office holiday party will be talked about until next year’s office holiday party. Let loose responsibly with these tips for your work soiree this year:
Don’t Get Drunk
What’s that old Dorothy Parker quote? “I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host.” Make sure you don’t end up under (or over) the table or the host at the office holiday gathering by keeping track of how many drinks you’ve had. Most of us have a sweet spot somewhere between “pleasantly buzzed” and “who wants to play strip end-of-year review?!” Stay as close the former as possible, even if your office is casual and social. Treat the party as an extension of your workday, not as the kickoff to the Wildest Weekend Ever. Besides, being the drunkest person anywhere never leaves a good impression, least of all at a work event.
Do Take It Easy at the Buffet Table, Too
Yeah, we’re totally ruining your fun. First we tell you not to get drunk and now, snacks in moderation?! Here’s the thing about the allure of free food at the work party—staying glued to the buffet table or having one foot practically in the kitchen so you can be the first to pounce on the appetizers trays makes you look like you’re there for the food. Even if that’s true, the point of an office holiday party is to get to mingle with your coworkers, not the tiny quiche. Grab the quiche, by all means, but then keep it moving and make chit-chat with all the other people just there for the food.
Don’t Talk Business
Venting some work frustration—as long as you’re not venting about anyone at the party—can actually be a good way to bond with someone at the office who you don’t know too well. Just keep it light… don’t start talking about upcoming meetings, deadlines, or projects. And use the brief work chit-chat to move on to other topics. Ask about upcoming trips or holiday plans to get the ball rolling, and don’t be afraid to offer up information about yourself.
Do Dress Smart
Sure, loosen your tie and let down your hair, but keep the sequined hotpants at home. Unless otherwise specified, a good rule of thumb is to stick to the office dress code for the holiday party—just keep it fun. That means you might not want to change out of your suit into an old t-shirt and jeans or swap your wrap dress for a deep V-neck… but a more causal button-up or bold jewelry may be in order.
Don’t Play With Your Phone
This goes for any party really, but doubly so for a work event. If something urgent comes up, excuse yourself, make a phone call, and rejoin the conversation—don’t stand in a group of people and rudely text back and forth (if you’re texting, it’s not urgent). Not only does it make you look bored (and boring), but it breaks the flow of conversation for the people around you and encourages others to pull out their phones too… until everyone’s too busy staring at screens to talk to the people right in front of them.