On the face of it, office parties are all laughs, whether they're for a birthday, someone leaving, a summer shindig or the Christmas knees-up. What could be better than kicking back with your co-workers and enjoying a drink or two socially?
But we all know the truth: the office party can be a recipe for disaster. A few too many G&Ts and suddenly you're left hiding in the toilet for the rest of the year, desperately avoiding that regional boss. You're still not sure why, but you know there's some reason. The fact is, office parties can be great fun-just remember a few simple rules that'll ensure you get out unscathed.
Don't drink too much
This may seem obvious, but easy to forget when faced with a free bar. All embarrassing pitfalls at an office party can be traced back to the alcohol on offer. By all means, enjoy yourself and have a few-this is a party after all. Just know your limits, as you have to face all these people again. Act accordingly. It's OK to go hell for leather when you're out with your real friends, but these are your co-workers and however much you like them, this is just not the place to let rip.
The key word is office here. Unless it's themed, stick to something simple and elegant but still smart. The iconic little black dress has never been more on point, as it hits that sweet spot between party chic and office smart. Put down the giant sombrero and the leather thong-tonight is not their night.
Don't treat it like closing time on Friday night
A little flirting at an office party isn't just fun, it's almost a tradition. Keep it tame though, as getting aggressively with a co-worker will not end well - you'll have an awkward few months ahead if you do, along with giving ammo to the office gossips about what you and whatsisface from accounts got up (or down) to. Not pretty.
Back away from the buffet
A good tip is to eat something light beforehand. You don't want to be struck by ravenous hunger pangs and spend the night with a face full of pastry. Remember it's a professional environment, so anything that makes you look disinterested in the company you're in-including being more interested in the food-is a bad idea.
Hold back on the jokes
You know how this goes: everyone is joking around, having some laughs and then somebody takes it too far. It's almost inevitable at these things that an off-colour joke or remark will get aired-just make sure it isn't you who airs it. It really is not worth it. If it offends people there can be larger ramifications.
Don't Talk Shop
Good-natured ribbing or commiseration amongst colleagues is a great way to form tight bonds at work. Keep it vague and you'll be OK. Start talking about someone specific, or worse, complaining about the details of your job, and you will make a fun situation uncomfortable very fast.
Mingle, mingle, mingle. The party is there for you to get to know people, so get in there. Itâ€˜s a great opportunity to make connections with co-workers you haven't got to know yet. So standing in the middle of the room, texting and acting like you've got somewhere better to go (even if you have) is no way to make friends. Get in there and have some fun.