Office Party Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts for the Holiday Work Soiree

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Attention employees: It’s that magical time of year when you and your colleagues get forced together to perform a different kind of labor: making merry. Whether it’s your workplace or your spouses’ setup, same advice applies: Don’t over do it! Here, 10 golden ground rules to help you navigate the party scene unscathed.

Don’t skip out.

Make sure you go, or you’ll get talked about behind your back as the girl or guy who doesn’t give a tinsel, and make a genuine effort to be friendly. Stay long enough to speak to those co-workers with whom you interact daily or weekly.

Don’t slow dance.

Even with your spouse. Sorry: No one wants to see that sultry side of you! And if you slow dance with a co-worker, it will be weird on Monday morning when you remember his clammy palms or the way he smelled like Kentucky Fried Chicken up close.  

Don’t freestyle dance either.

If you’re secretly super smooth, you might see this as an opportunity to show off. Resist. What office in America is not a breeding ground for jealousy? If you’re a bad dancer, you probably already know not to dance. Everyone remembers Elaine from that “Seinfeld” episode. 

Don’t wear an overtly sexy dress, etc.

Do you really need this explained? No cleavage, no short dresses, no tight white holiday slacks. We wouldn’t even recommend open-toe shoes if you don’t wear them on the job. 

Don’t overeat.

If you’re prone to eat too much when you’re nervous or uncomfortable, remember: No one wants to see you sidled up to the PuPu Platter stuffing the egg rolls. It’s majorly uncouth.

Don’t gossip. Until after the party.

Few can resist the temptation to talk about Dawn and Rob talking too close in the corner, but most people can tell when they’re being talked about. It reflects poorly on you! And hurts co-workers’ feelings. Plus, they’ll turn around and talk about your almost excessive egg-roll consumption asap — you’ll look over at them and know it, too.

Don’t get talked into doing something you will regret on Monday, like making out with another secretary to entertain the guys (this one really happened).

Why not? Duh.

Don’t get drunk unless you can hide it extremely well.

No, you know what? Don’t get drunk period. Sober, you’re highly unlikely to accept your cubicle partner’s creepy dare.

Don’t ask for a raise.

Tonight is not the time to talk upcoming business strategy or anything too serious or personal. It’s certainly not the evening to corner your boss and explain how much you love your job, how it’s the only thing you’ve got going for you, since the divorce, and therefore, basically you deserve more income. “Please?!”

Don’t stay too late.

You’ll appear desperate. And while you may well be, let’s face it: At the office party, appearances are everything. 

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