It sounds pretty simple. There’s one rule, right? Don’t get so wasted that you a) spill the beans to your boss about i) the fact that you hate him/her or ii) the fact that someone is quitting, b) touch someone inappropriately, or c) throw up in your boss’ lap. And yet come holiday season, we’re bombarded by so much inane advice on how to not screw up at your office party that it’s enough to make anyone paranoid. So to save you some time, we thought we’d do a summary of the not-so-helpful suggestions from our local etiquette experts.
According to the Globe, things you should be worrying about include: drawing too much attention to yourself, appearing clique-y, afterparties, sweating too much, being hungry at the party, and getting caught up in “mass hysteria.” Oh, and drinking Long Island iced teas, which apparently some people do in order to signal being “upscale” and “cultured.” Um, what? Since when? Don’t these people know that drink is named after Long Island for a reason? Relax, jokes!
And of course it’s an entirely different set of problems if you happen to be the boss. Thankfully the Post has two separate articles advising employers on how to deal with the holidays. First, though it’s nice to let your employees have fun, it’s important to make sure they understand that that fun is a Scheduled Event, and that except for the holiday party, “the expectation is that the holiday chatter is secondary to getting the job done.” Also, it’s important to do a refresher of the company code of conduct before the party, not let people drink too much, and be sure to invite spouses so employees don’t get too frisky.
But bringing your spouse as a date is its own conundrum. Luckily the Globe has devoted an entire article to tips for the spouse. It is absolutely crucial to prepare discussion topics in advance, sticking to “safe” topics (i.e. they should come from the “Food and Wine,” “Travel,” or “Entertainment” section of the newspaper—don’t even think about bringing up an editorial!). Other “appropriate” things you can discuss include “celebrations” and “customs.” If you’re not sure how to start a conversation, you might want to begin by making an “interesting comment” and then “asking a question.” (Seriously, what would we have done without this advice?) But be careful to remain “sincere” and “genuine.” And don’t forget that, as the spouse, it’s important not to “outshine” your partner.
So basically, be charming but not too charming, friendly but not too friendly, and drink but don’t get drunk. Got it?
Photo by dman861 from Flickr.