6 Essential Office Party Tips

Whether it’s the holiday season or you’re attending an office party for some other purpose, you want to make a good impression — and definitely want to avoid embarrassing yourself. It’s not easy to have fun at office parties, since you often feel like you’re too self-conscious about doing something embarrassing to actually enjoy yourself. Follow these 6 essential tips and you won’t go wrong.

1) Don’t avoid it

It might be tempting to just avoid the party altogether, especially if you’re worried about doing something silly or embarrassing. But no matter what your job description is, avoiding an office party can do some damage to your work reputation, so it’s important to put in an appearance.

If you’re only going for the sake of form, aim to spend at least 30 minutes to an hour at the party before making your excuses and heading out. On the other hand, if you’re looking forward to having a great time, make sure you don’t outstay your welcome by strutting your stuff on the dance floor until 3 a.m. In short, try not to be the first or the last to leave.

2) Dress well, but keep it tasteful

The party might be outside of business hours, but it’s still important to wear something that’s somewhat work-appropriate. Avoid anything that’s very low-cut or very short, or overly casual, especially if your normal work attire is a suit. Hoodies and Teletubby onesies are definitely best left at home!

3) Make an entrance (but not the dramatic kind)

Walk in slowly enough that you have time to take stock of what’s going on in the room before you have to greet people. That way you’ll have time to locate the people you’re most interested in finding (like your best mate, or the hottie from the accounting department) or avoiding (like your boss). You’ll also have time to locate all the most important parts of the party, such as the bar, the food, and the toilet.

4) Watch your alcohol intake

If there’s free booze on offer it’s tempting to get stuck into it and put away as much as you can. But you and everyone else knows that it’s quite possibly the worst thing you can do at an office party. One drink leads to a few, and a few leads to dancing on the tables or accidentally spitting on your boss’s face during a conversation, so if you know you’ll have trouble stopping at one or two drinks, consider sticking to non-alcoholic beverages.

You’re at a party, but don’t forget that it’s an office party. So while you’re there to have fun, you’re not supposed to have too much fun.

5) Be polite to everyone

Yes, even the people you don’t like! Don’t bring workplace disputes into the party, and try to stick to positive topics of conversation. Definitely avoid complaining about your job, bragging about your accomplishments, or gossiping about workmates.

If you happen to come face to face with your mortal enemy, or anyone else you’d rather avoid, just politely say you’re on the way to the toilet, or to get a drink. Easy!

6) Be discreet

Obviously, you’re not attending an office party planning for a hookup, but that’s no reason to suppose it won’t happen. However, if you do finally get a chance to spend some time with that hottie from accounting, be discreet about it. And if you decide you want to spend the evening getting to know each other better, head off to another venue rather than giving the office the chance to gossip about you for the next six months. Definitely do not start kissing in a secluded corner!

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