It’s getting to that point of the year when offices up and down the country get to have a night out on the company – a night which in many cases leads to regrets on the morning after the night before.
It’s not always a case of hanging your head in total, career jeopardising shame, however. Sometimes it’s simply a case of mild embarrassment and cringing at the thought of the antics that a few too many drinks brought about.
See here for our guide on Christmas Party Themes.
But whether it’s all out regret or just the awkward flashbacks, here’s our guide on how to survive the Christmas party without wanting the ground to swallow you whole the following day.
Brace yourself and make sure you go
It can be pretty daunting for many to attend the fateful Office Christmas Party, but it’s vital that you actually take part and show yourself to be a true team player. The potential benefits are plentiful – not only will it give you the opportunity to relate with your colleagues on a human and social level, making your day to day that little smoother, but it’s the perfect scenario to familiairse yourself with other senior executives who may well play a pivotal role in your career ascension at your company. So even if you’re dreading it, build yourself up and go no matter what.
Dress Up and Not Down
The Christmas party is also an opportunity to show off a more relaxed and personal sense of style. However, always keep a professional edge when dressing yourself for a professional do – as much as there will be music, dancing and alcohol, it’s not a night out on the pull! The dress code will, to some extent, determine what direction you go in, but even then, consider the occasion and dress as you would if meeting with a new set of in laws in that environment – you obviously want to look nice, prove yourself pretty (or handsome!) out of your work rags, but too much flesh on show, or too tight a fit, will definitely give the wrong impression.
Socialise and Mingle
These situations can be awkward and uncomfortable for even the most season networking aficionado. But they’re an excellent opportunity to get to build relationships and cement office friendships which can make going to work that little bit more enjoyable. Be sure to have a chat with everyone, but try to avoid talking about work, and consider preparing a set of stock conversational topics or questions that you can break out in case of “uncomfortable silence” emergency. Who knows, you may just make a new friend or forge a newfound personal bond with your boss.
Complaining and Bitching
No matter who you talk to, how comfortable you get or how much drink, follow the strict rule of refraining from complaining, bitching or slagging anyone – or anything – company related off. It may just be one of the things you end up regretting that haunts you for the remainder of your time at your post.
Overfamiliarity and Language
If the atmosphere is pleasant and the drinks are flowing, you may just get comfortable with your colleagues. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you do your best to maintain a “professional” filter at all times with what you do or say – these are your work colleagues and not your mates, after all. Getting overfamiliar or using explicit language might seem appropriate at the time, but it may well prove differently in the morning. If another colleague seems to be crossing these lines, by lewdly complimenting your figure or resorting to unsavoury topics or terms of phrase, be polite and maintain your composure and move on.
Drinking and Moderation
It goes without saying, but watching your intake of alcohol is pretty much the most important task you’ll be encumbered with throughout the night. But, of course – and in this we speak from experience – “moderation” is a word easier said than done, particularly when your employer is picking up the tab. Try to plan ahead, limiting yourself to a certain (low, that is) number of drinks an hour, and when you start to feel wobbly, make sure there’s plenty of water in between your alcohol intake. If it comes to the point where you’re going down the slippery slope, either stop entirely before it’s too late or call a taxi to take you home before you do something you’ll truly regret.
Flirtations and Hook-Ups
And on the topic of regrets, we come to the dreaded Christmas Party hook up, which we aptly include directly after our point about alcohol, as the two tend to go hand in hand. The rule of thumb in such circumstances is that it’s very rarely – almost never – a good idea to get smoochy, let alone go home, with a colleague during the Christmas Party. So, if faced with a scenario that’s leading in that direction, the advice would simply be: DON’T. It’s the most common regret people tend to have the next day.
However, if you find yourself being hit on, remain gracious, polite and move away, even if the beer/wine/tequila goggles are making your would-be admirer all that more attractive. The alternative scenario is, of course, that the party provides the opportunity to finally act on long harboured feelings towards a colleague. In this case, whether taking action and approaching that special someone, or if you’re lucky enough to find yourself as the object of affection of the one you’ve secretly longed for, be discreet and opt for an exchange of numbers rather than a stolen kiss as it’s far more likely to prove fruitful.
Relax & Enjoy
With all the potential pitfalls and problems that can arise from a Christmas Party it’s easy to forget that it’s just that, a party. So, do your best to relax and enjoy.