'Tis the season for that annual event we approach with a mix of trepidation, horror and curiosity. It's a time when CEOs do the Electric Slide, when cocktail weenie sales soar and professional reputations are made or sorely lost. Ah, the office holiday party. You know the protocol, but just in case, we've pulled together tips for maintaining your composure and setting limits.
But don't put the "ho" in holiday party.
If your workplace normally calls for pearls and hose, the holiday party is not an apt occasion to bring out your sexiest club wear. And speaking on personal taste, save your Christmas light necklace and snowman sweater for your family gathering.
Do get personal…
Let the conversation stray from work-related matters to build deeper connections with your colleagues. Maybe knowing that Albert from Accounting spends his evening hours taking care of his aging mother will give you a softer insight into his uptight manner.
But don't spill your guts.
The festive atmosphere and holiday cocktails can be a deadly lip-loosening combination. Don't fall into their trap. Keep your eyes on the prize: Remaining both gainfully employed and well respected at the office tomorrow.
Allow yourself a slow dance à la Love Actually with the colleague you're sweating. Same goes for heavier-than-usual eye batting and other innocent means of flirtation. After all, holiday is a synonym for indulgence, right?
But don't fawn.
Even if your third martini is insisting that you profess your love to your possibly unrequited crush, remind yourself how well that went for you in high school and think again.
And, remember, when it comes to office holiday parties, the goal is for next-day water cooler "PDA" references to be of the Blackberry variety, and not the "Did you see Max slipping that intern the tongue on the dance floor last night?" kind.