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5 things to avoid at an office party

How must you behave at an office party? What are the do's and don'ts to be followed when partying with co-workers? What are the best ways to handle situations and people, at a night out with colleagues? Get your answers to the things you should avoid when you are out with office colleagues.

Frequent office parties are an accepted norm these days. It is quite common to find a bunch of young people (colleagues) at city hotels and restaurants getting together, to unwind after hours. Such gatherings are always noisy. A lot of loud, tumultuous voices, laughing and joking can be heard from the tables.

The camaraderie between those present is palpable. The atmosphere is relaxed, there is no work-related stress, and people carousal, almost nonchalantly. It is the perfect setting for some out-of-office bonding.

Parties organized in restaurants are usually paid for by the office, or the tab is shared equally among all those present, unless it is a birthday, anniversary or a promotion party, in which case, it's the one celebrating who pays.

The thing with such arrangements is that people tend to go overboard with the liquor. Why not have an extra peg or two if someone else is footing the bill or that since I'll be paying my share, why not have a few more beers, is what goes on in people's minds. It's all part of the mentality, and it does happen, no matter how much people deny indulging in such behavior.

However, before you begin downing those extra glasses of your favorite poison, be wary. It's not the right thing to do, even if everyone else is doing it. You must realize that there are implications and you should be careful how you conduct yourself at an office party. You want to walk into the office, the following morning, looking fresh and confident, and not feeling awkward and embarrassed.

I'll make it easy and break it down for you – avoid the following situations at a gathering with office colleagues –

The gossip mongers

Every office has people who talk about others; they laugh at people behind their backs, spread half-truths about them and run them down. Needless to say, such behavior is gross.

It's natural to want to feel accepted and be a part of a group, but choose whom you mingle with, especially if the group involves the office crowd. You do not want to be part of a group that dishes out dirt on other colleagues. Keep away from them; office-gossip is the last thing you want to get involved in. And tongues fly loose, in informal settings, such as a party. Individuals who indulge in the loose talk can be nobody's friend. They'll easily backstab you too because they maintain no loyalty to anybody.

A few minutes with them and you'll be able to identify which way all the jabber is directed. If you notice that you have wound up in a group that is making unsavory comments about some others from the workplace, politely excuse yourself, and join another group. The temptation to add your bit to the conversation could land you in trouble, because this group will quote you, at the first chance they get.

The flirt

Avoid the office flirt, like the plague. You don't want to be involved with them, especially if they single you out, and their intention is obvious. If you are a woman, you may find the guy attractive, magnetic, amusing and suave and if you are a man you may find yourself drawn to the woman's physical beauty, her charisma and flirtatious behavior. You feel a surge of attraction because you are getting all their attention. However, play safe and ignore how you feel about them. You have probably observed their behavior in office and know that they are always seeking attention and giving attention. Today you are their 'target'; don't walk into the web.

Office romances can be tricky, so snap out of it. Remember those gossipers I mentioned above, they'll have a field day, spreading rumours about the two of you. I am not advising you to be scared of them but move away, for your own good. When you find the conversation becoming uncomfortable, just laugh it off, make light of whatever they said, turn your head to another group, excuse yourself and head that way.

The sob-story tellers

Alcohol is a depressant, it also makes people lose their inhibitions and speak freely of their problems. You could find yourself chatting with someone who has had one too many, at the office party, and becomes besieged by their tales of woe. They'll talk of the promotion they missed or missing the chance to work on-site or share their family problems. When you find someone beginning to talk about their personal problems, it is your cue to leave.

It may not seem like the thing to do, but trust me, you do not have to get involved in other people's emotional problems. It can lead to other problems. They'll either be embarrassed when they see you in the office or expect support from you, for their problems. Involving yourself in their affairs when you hardly know them could be emotionally draining for you and create problems at work, especially if you are expected to take sides.

The 'cheers' gang

This is the gang sitting on barstools downing shots. They are young, the new joiners or junior staff. Tempted; you might find yourself wanting to join the fun of gulping down shots, but don't do it. Maintain the decorum as you would in office. If you are not on back-slapping terms with them, you cannot begin raising shots with them. If you do that, you bring yourself down to their level, and that diminishes the authority you have.

College humour

You had a great time in college and also did some really crazy things, but that was all in the past when you were young and raging with hormones that made you behave stupidly. Those moments were perhaps 'legendary', but it isn't appropriate to share them with your colleagues. And such talk does come up, especially when people have had one too many.

When everyone around is chilled out and having fun, it may seem fine to talk about your silly exploits in your days at the university, but believe me, it isn't. Such small talks can prove to be your nemesis. Keep those tales to yourself, you have a reputation to maintain. Sure, people will have a good laugh and enjoy themselves, at your expense, but they'll always remember this part of your life. It is not worth it – you should be known for your performance in the office, and not for your foolish mistakes.

Final note

Office parties can be fun but know where to draw the lines. They are a good platform for getting to know the others in your office. They are also an excellent opportunity to make an impression on the managers – they watch how people conduct themselves. And you also get to network and build contacts.

Look at these get-togethers in restaurants as richly deserved breaks from the routine monotony of office work. So, don't go overboard with alcohol and make a fool of yourself. You must know how to hold your drinks and steer clear of those embarrassing situations that can jeopardize your career.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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Author: Natarajan10 Sep 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 12

A very practical article about office parties that can be a fun-filled event or a disaster based on the etiquette and behavior of the people who know each other from the workplace or via professional contacts.

I'm glad that the author has mentioned about alcohol first, alcohol can be the root source of trouble or friction socially and financially. It is always better to just nurse a drink or two rather than binge drink at the expense of somebody or everybody (when the tab is shared by all). Alcohol often helps to break the formalities and one needs to be cautious about losing self-control. There should be a few teetotalers who should shoulder the responsibility of identifying the members causing trouble after drinking much more than they can handle. This preemptive lookout prevents the party mood from getting sour or potential verbal or physical brawls.

Regarding gossip, parties are a great source and a place for people to share gossip. One should exercise great restraint and draw a line when it comes to personal, physical, sexual and relationship-based gossip that would hurt the other person and can potentially backfire at a later time.

Flirting at office parties may be encouraged by the party atmosphere, alcohol, and individual receptive behavior. Man or woman, one should be cautious about body language, physical contact that can potentially encourage flirting to go to the next level of feeling threatened or potential abuse.

When the party mood is upbeat, at times we find one or two individuals cornering a colleague and pouring out their woes. This is a human trait to confide in someone to unload the excess baggage. If one is concerned and can help out the person in distress, then, by all means, do it at a later time and reassure the person. If not, at least bring it to the notice of other close friends or supervisors who can help them. One thing to be avoided is not to get dragged into this too deep unwittingly.

At parties, recollecting old nostalgic memories, telling macho stories, previous love stories etc can prove to be a costly aftermath emotionally and socially. One needs to watch how many personal details or delicate issues are put out in the open.

Yes, office parties are a time to relax and have a good time but one needs to know the importance of respecting other colleagues, our own limitations of handling alcohol, respect the personal space especially while interacting with members of the opposite sex. One should not overuse the liberty given to interact with the boss or superiors as this is bound to have an adverse impact.

Lastly, one should avoid driving out alone after too many drinks and attention needs to be paid to the travel arrangements of female colleagues after midnight or in the early hours of the morning.

Author: Umesh11 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Office parties are the occasions when people informally share their personal or even sometimes the 'secret' things with each other and especially after taking alcohol they become so frank and open that they forget what they are talking.

For graceful, reserved and composed persons it is a tough place as they have to smile many times though they may not be feeling to smile internally. Many drunk people will try to take liberty with them to show off to others that they can make a reserved person behave like an irresponsible person at a party. So definitely for those who respect others and expect the same from the crowd, a party is a place of embarrassment and that is the reason why they avoid it on some or other excuse.

For the common people who drink only to make a nuisance, these parties are the ideal places to make all sorts of aggressive behaviour and loose talk within the stipulated time. People should be very cautious of these black sheeps and try to be out of their arena.

Author: Reena Upadhya11 Sep 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

Office parties are different from the usual and casual parties. At office parties, we cannot afford to completely lose ourselves as it would show us the path of unemployment. Avoiding certain behaviors will help us to enjoy the party as well as keep up our job.

All the 5 things that the author have mentioned are well researched and well represented in the article and she deserves appreciation for the same. I would like to add a few more which are equally important when attending office parties.

1. Keep your honesty to yourself. It may sound a little bit rude but yes, honesty may get an employee fired. It is a valuable trait but you cannot keep expressing your honest views and throw opinions every now and then, especially when nobody has asked you.

2. Don't try to skip your office party unless you have very important plans for that day.

3. Don't try to be the first person to leave the office party as you don't want others to get a wrong impression of you. If you leave first you will be considered the rude one.

4. Don't drink too much and try to make fun of yourself. Limit your alcohol intake to moderate.

5. Don't dress very uniquely or inappropriately. Remember it is not a birthday party or a get-together party. It is an office party and thus dressing should be appropriate.

6. Do not sit in the corner and pretend that you are anti-social. You need to participate a little and indulge in the conversation. Don't look depressed or bored.

7. Don't bring office work into conversation. Though it is an office party, it no way means that conversation should be regarding the tight schedules and work pressure. Lighten a little and keep your conversation fun and light.

8. Don't try to make fool of yourself. Having said that, if you are not good at something, don't try to indulge in such activities. Don't try to act smart and show your dancing or singing skills when you can't dance or sing.

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