Office parties are a strange mix of holiday cheer and office politics. If you're careful, you may be able to avoid most office party faux pas.
- Plan to go to the party. Even if office parties are not your cup of tea, you're part of the group and need to make an appearance.
- Find out before the party what most people are wearing. You don't want to show up in a casual outfit if everyone else is dressed to the nines. Make sure your spouse or date has this information.
- Be conservative in your dress if you are a woman. Shockingly short dresses or plunging necklines are not appropriate for this type of business occasion.
- Get to the party on time, or shortly after it starts. Even if you only stay a short time, this is better than "popping in" at the end of the evening.
- Be sure to acknowledge all of your co-workers, bosses and associates. Introduce your spouse or date, and include the spouses or dates of others in your conversations.
- Avoid drinking too much. Over-indulging may be the number one cause of inappropriate remarks and behavior at office parties. Remember, you have to face all these people when you go back to work, so leave a good impression.
- Avoid pigging out. Loading up your plate, grabbing handfuls of hors d'oeuvres or shoving down chips and clam dip does not present a flattering image.
- Go along with games or other arranged activities.
- Save gift-giving for another time unless everyone is exchanging gifts at the party. If you begin handing out gifts to your boss or associate when no one else is exchanging gifts, people will be uncomfortable.
- Be sure to thank the host or hostess before you leave the party. If the company paid for the party, thank your boss or the person in the office who arranged the party.
If you know you will be partaking of alcoholic beverages, eat a little something before you go to the party, or have some food when you get there (before you start drinking).
Before you bring your spouse or a date, make sure he or she is invited.
Try to avoid office gossip at the company party. You never know who may be standing within earshot.
If "gag gifts" are to be exchanged, keep the humor tasteful. Remember that spouses and possibly even children may be present, and what you may view as a lighthearted sexual or scatalogical joke could be an embarrassment to others.
Dare to have fun. Don't go crazy, but do wear an outfit that you look stunning in. Who cares if you are the last one on the dance floor, as long as you are the first one at the office on Monday? They already know that you can work hard, now show them that you can play hard, too. Live a little! Put the "party" back into "office party!"
Remember when you attend an office party, Less is More! Don't marinate yourself in cologne! You may not be able to smell it, but rest assured, everyone else can. A little spritz in the air above you (not hosing yourself down) is more then enough.