Holiday Season is upon us. Whether you work for a small company or a large corporation, chances are you’ll most likely be invited to a company holiday party. For some, it’s something they look forward to each year. But for many, they dread the office holiday party. Surviving, and even enjoying, the office holiday party is possible!
Your experience at the party will be directly affected by your own attitude. If you enter the reception actively seeking the positive aspects of the event, you’re more likely to find yourself having a good time rather than focusing on, and even attracting, the negative parts of the evening.
Having a plan for how you will spend your time at the party will give you confidence right off the bat. It will lessen the fear of the unknown and will distract you from any potential nerves you might feel. Will you set a specific time for you will leave? Is there a particular person you want to meet, but have not been able to meet yet? Perhaps set a goal to talk to a certain number of new colleagues. If the party has a philanthropic aspect such as collecting toys, perhaps you could spend your time increasing the success of that effort by making sure your colleagues know about the toy drive, help wrap those toys if needed, help load the toys at the end…
You’ll want to spend some time with your department peers, but take this opportunity to introduce yourself to people from other departments or locations. The more colleagues who know and like you, the better. A larger network of professionals can be very beneficial. You just might learn something or meet someone intriguing. If you’re shy, ask a mutual connection for a friendly introduction.
Don’t be a card pusher or push your agenda on your peers. Just be kind, get to know people and focus on enjoying the evening.
While it’s never a good time for either, holiday parties can sometimes be ripe with nervous or malicious gossip or “Negative Nancies” who just want to cause trouble. If drama or gossip begins to erupt around you, do your best to remove yourself from the situation. Even if you don’t directly participate in either, you could be guilty by association. No one wants to start off the new year with extra drama.
Even if sparks begin to develop between you and someone from another department or location, avoid any physical romance during the party–especially if alcohol is involved.
Know your liquor limits and make sure not to overindulge. If you’re worried about not being able to say “no,” there are some options. Perhaps avoid alcohol altogether or have a glass of water after each adult beverage. Other party hacks include always making sure you have a beverage in your hand so others won’t bring you unsolicited drinks, and you can even ask your server to serve you water or soda in a liquor glass which makes it appear like you have an adult beverage and could reduce the chances of peer pressure.
Be mindful of your manners when greeting others, eating, and during conversations. Unless you’re in political or religious industries, it’s best to avoid those topics if possible. It’s best not to discuss money either.
People will always tend to gather near the food. So, if you’re shy about going up to new people, stick near the food, and the people will likely make their way near you. Be mindful of the foods you choose, as well. Avoid foods that could get stuck in your teeth or cause foul breath.
If your office does a Secret Santa or small gift exchange, be sure to put some thought into your gift. You could use this as an opportunity to meet someone new at the office. Get to know a bit about the person beforehand to discover what they would be interested in receiving rather than something generic you picked up at the drug store.
This goes along with minding your manners, but it goes a bit further. Make sure you thank your bosses and/or the party coordinator. Holiday parties take time and money to host, so be genuinely thankful but don’t be a “suck up” or “brown-noser.” The same tip applies if you received a bonus.
What holiday survival secrets do you have?