Office Christmas party survival guide
The Christmas office party is a veritable minefield if you're lucky enough to have one this year. You’re supposed to hang out with your colleagues, let loose, have fun but not so much fun that people start whispering behind your back. It’s a difficult balance to strike but here are some strategies to get through it …
Make sure and have a decent meal before you go out. Even if you are certain food will be provided at the party, line your stomach so you don’t end up attacking the canapés like a Cavan man at a buffet. Protein and fat slow down the absorption rate of alcohol into the blood, so your standard dinner will suffice. If you find yourself in a position where you have no time for a proper meal, just eat cheese - on it's own or on some toast. It has protein, fat and calcium in abundance.
Don’t think a wedge of brie and an Easi Single will allow you to hit the double brandies though, as you may risk being escorted into a taxi shouting “Bush I had cheese.” Stay away from salty or greasy food as they make you want to drink more.
Social media in all its forms is best left alone for the night. Colleagues may not appreciate you taking photos of them and posting them to Facebook or Twitter without their permission. If you have your hand welded to your iPhone or Blackberry all night you will appear antisocial, so put down the phone and engage in some conversation with some real-life people.
If you must keep an eye on your phone, log out of Facebook and Twitter to prevent yourself posting any tweets or status updates that may cost you your job. John from HR may have lost his shirt, have his tie around his head and started a conga line but the world doesn’t need to see it.
If you’re lucky enough to have a free bar at your office party, tell yourself you are actually paying for it to slow yourself down. You wouldn’t normally order a flaming Drambuie and this is certainly not the time to start. Do not mix the grape and the grain, unless you want to wake up more nauseous than a pregnant Kate Middleton.
When drinking, keep your drink in your left hand so that when you have to shake someone’s hand, it isn’t cold or wet. If you’re not a drinker, be a good Samaritan and keep an eye on colleagues who may have become inebriated. Keep them away from the bar and book them a taxi home. That way, you can use it to your advantage in the New Year when you want a day off.
Don’t use the office party as an excuse to list a litany of complaints and gripes to anyone who will listen. It is acceptable to talk about work for a certain amount of time but “talking shop” the whole night will have you marked out as the office bore. Avoid getting into controversial subjects like religion and politics and stick to more general topics of conversation. As Benjamin Disraeli put it, “talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours”.