With the silly season underway, you might be plagued with misgivings but this easy guide will help you avoid regrettable incidents and celebrate the best aspects of office Christmas parties.
The office Christmas party is a great way to commemorate the end of the year with your colleagues. A chance to relax and unwind while you sip a few drinks may sound like a straightforward, uncomplicated invitation to have fun. But this is the silly season when we are more likely to engage in impulsive behaviours, often with negative consequences for ourselves and for others. It is tempting to think alcohol will make us braver and help us overcome social shyness; however, not controlling alcohol intake have undesired consequences.
Look after your mental health during this time and prepare a plan for dealing with your office celebrations.
C – is for Celebrate but not for cutting loose
Yes, you are invited to celebrate and have fun; however, this means fun in moderation. Remember that your friendly and polite colleagues are not necessarily your actual friends who would understand, forgive and forget all your shortcomings. So when you dance, dance but not on the table. When you tell jokes, do so tastefully – ensure others have a good time as well.
H – is for Having a plan to limit your alcohol intake
Know yourself and know your limits. Do not try to compete with your office buddy on who has the greater tolerance for alcohol. Your limit should be not when you are blacked out on the office floor near the water cooler. You should decide for yourself that two glasses is your limit. There is no need even to drink until you are tipsy – and suddenly find Mary from the accounts department more attractive than ever. If you intend to have a really big night, leave your office party in good time and go on to a pre-organised gathering with your friends where your can’t jeopardise your career in any way.
R – is for Relaxing
Yes, it’s fine to relax and unwind. You don’t have to bore Sam from the IT department with your frustrations about the slow internet, being blocked from FB or Pinterest or that your computer doesn’t work well and how this all impedes your otherwise highly effective work performance. Leave Sam from IT alone, talk about these issues when you get back to work.
I – is for showing Interest
If you decide to join your office party, show some interest in being there. Don’t be the one in the corner complaining about the venue, menu, management and everything else. You did not have to come – office parties are not usually compulsory. And your boss probably isn’t compelled by employment laws to throw one. So just appreciate the generosity and don?t be the Grinch who ruins the festive spirit of those who enjoy it.
S – is for Self-control, not for making sexual advances
If you waited the whole year to talk to Jenny from Marketing, about your feelings, maybe the relaxed atmosphere will help give you courage. However, following your sexual urges and checking if the corner or under the stairs is dark enough might not be a good idea. You might have fewer regrets if you switch to soft drinks, stick to vertical dancing, or just leave for home.
T – is for Time to have fun
Have fun, tell jokes, and dance. Here is how you know that you and people around you are having fun: you are in a good mood and you are in control of your behaviour, you choose to avoid controversial topics and don?t make comments that may offend someone else, people are happy to be around you and they smile or happily engage in a conversation with you.
M – is for Making an effort
Make an effort to be nice to your colleagues. You don’t have to become best buddies but you surely can be courteous. Look out for any colleagues who have had too much to drink: don’t make fun of them, steer them away from the boss, offer them a glass of water and may be even call a taxi for them.
A – is for Avoiding any other illicit substance.
After a couple of drinks when you feel relaxed and happy you might think that by enhancing your experience you will become even happier. Taking illicit substances is not the answer – breaking the law and potentially losing your job are unlikely to make the party more enjoyable.
S – is for Saying goodbye and going home.
Know when to say goodbye and go home. Unless you are on a cruise or on an island, you are pretty much in control of when to go home. Prior to the party you can decide on a suitable hour to go leave, and perhaps pre-arrange with like-minded reliable colleagues to share a taxi. Unsuitable ways to leave an office party include rolling out or being dragged out by colleagues or even worse – by paramedics.
Don’t dread the office Christmas party. Enjoy yourself and help others to relax.
But don’t inflict on yourself a new year hunting for another job after being fired or ruin your holiday break feeling unable to face your colleagues due to shameful and embarrassing party antics.
If you do suffer from social anxiety there are steps you can take to feel more at ease during your office Christmas party. Take a moment and read about how to deal with your anxiety in an appropriate way.
Posted November 18, 2014 by Yuliya Richard.
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