Top 10 Things Not to Do at an Office Party

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You’d think that an office party, a party flooded with adults would know the do’s or don’ts. But surprisingly – or not – that isn’t the case. A lot of people at office parties make the same mistakes an eighteen year old would at his or her first college party. Some people just don’t learn. Maybe you’re one of those people, maybe you’re new to the whole office party humdrum and don’t want to take your chances, or if you’re just trying to learn from your past mistakes; this is the post you’d want to read…thoroughly.

I’ve had a lot of friends come to me with dreadful stories of their first office party which is funny so long as it doesn’t involve them, of course. After laughing hysterically at the antics of my friends and their co-workers I’ve come to the conclusion that it is probably best to write this as a reminder to myself and those of you out there dealing with the same ordeal that comes with being and having a social life.

Office parties come with an unwritten set of rules and regulations that everyone is expected to know about long before you ever have to attend one. And if you don’t know these unwritten laws then you’re probably going to learn about them first thing Monday morning and chances are it isn’t going to be one of the weekly pep talks.

Here is a list of things you should NOT do at an office party.

10. Arrive first or leave last:

Arriving Early

You don’t want to seem over eager at office parties. Arriving early only sends one message out to your colleagues and superiors – you don’t have an active social life but you’re dying for one. You don’t want to seem like right through the year you stay home every weekend, filing papers or feeding your cat and the highlight of most of your weekends is a re-run of America’s Next Top Model, season 6. If you do arrive early you’ll probably find yourself in an odd corner of the room texting by yourself or trying to make small talk with the DJ. Also would you really want to be stuck in the midst of awkward small talk with a person you dislike but happens to be the only who arrives after you?

On the other hand, you don’t want to be the last to leave a party. It makes you seem as eager as arriving early does. You’re possibly passed out in a bathroom stall from too much whiskey or vodka or both. Everyone is thinking you’re thinking you’re just trying to make the most of the only party you’re invited to all year. That’s not the impression you want them to have. You want them to think you have responsibilities and a life out of the office and you need leave in order to keep living your said life.

9. Be a Debbie Downer:

Debbie Downer

There are three kinds of people at a party, the overly upbeat party person, the neutral – just here to have a good time and leave – person, and the Debbie downer. The worst of these three stereotypical groups of people is the Debbie downer, if you find yourself talking a lot while other people hover around avoiding eye contact then you’re the Debbie downer. It’s a party and nobody wants to hear about what a sad personal life you’ve lead after your boyfriend up and left you or your too depressed for some unknown reason to function like a proper adult at a party. Trust me when I say, you do not want to be the one bringing people down at a party. They will always remember you for that one reason and will avoid you at every other party ever. And they’ll also warn other people, you know, just in case.

 8. Be a loner:


As hard as social events may be for introverts, you still want to make a good impression on your boss and colleagues so that they see you in a fair light and don’t hinder or cause problems for you at work. Standing in a corner holding your drink and observing will come off as a tab bit creepy. People want to know you’re approachable and friendly; you enjoy conversation and are easy to get along with. This will not only help improve your life but you might find people at your workplace that whose company you enjoy and maybe, just maybe work won’t be too much of a drag anymore. So, try talking to a few people instead of texting people, or pretending to text people. It’ll do you a whole lot of good.

 7. Be the drunk:


If you were to take a poll you’d see that more people would prefer the depressed loner to the drunk at a party. People hate drunken people. They’re loud and noisy and can barely stand without resting against something or someone else. No one likes the pawing and clawing nature of a drunken sod and worst of all, there is no one who is simply your colleague that will take pleasure in cleaning up after you because the chances of you puking or making a fool of yourself is pretty high at this point. So don’t be that guy or girl. It won’t help you get along better with your colleagues or bosses and you can kiss that promotion bye-bye at the night of a “wild” night.

6. Eat everything you see:

Eating Everything

Looking dainty or sophisticated is not what you’re going to be if you’re mouth is constantly too stuffed to hold a polite conversation. If you aren’t dying, or living on the street, or haven’t eaten in months, it looks rather unruly for one to be gorging down everything in sight. “He’s/she’s just here for the free food”, is not something you want going around the office. Don’t let your love for cheese puffs or bits of chicken override your common sense of ‘office party behaviour’.

5. Under-dress/over-dress:


You’re about to go to an office party, weigh the options from your wardrobe first. You’re not going to a Vegas party neither are you going to prom where your dress is picked out by your mother. Office parties are rather dicey and you don’t want to be over or under dressed. Too much skin sends a bad image across to your fellow workers and may lead to some snide comments and unwanted attention. At the same time you don’t want to look like you’re dressed for a basketball match. You want to keep it semi-formal at the very least. Classy but party ready; over playing it or underplaying will not help you move up on the workplace food chain.

4. Be a braggart:


If you’re drunk or depressed then people are probably avoiding you because you’re bragging. Plain and simple, no one likes a braggart. No one wants to know about your expensive trip to Hawaii or the amount of sports cars in your garage. By constantly talking about the amount of money or expensive goods you have or the holidays you’ve been/are going on you’ll be making more enemies than you could imagine. And it’s not because they’re jealous of you, they just don’t like snobs who can’t stop talking about themselves. It get’s tiring after a while. Trying being more involved in the people around you and their lives, show some concern and they’ll show you respect and appreciation.

 3. Don’t be a brown-noser:

Brown Noser

As much as you think your boss likes the attention you’re giving him, there’ll come a point in time where he’ll find your presence annoying. Don’t hover around your boss attempting to cater to his every whim and fancy. Sure, talk, mingle and be a nice person but don’t forget about the other people at the party. People will naturally assume you’re just trying to secure your next promotion or hinting for a holiday bonus that you aren’t really entitled to. So hang around the other people, give everyone an equal opportunity and be friendly.

 2. Don’t flirt:


Most interwork relationships are frowned upon. Flirting with a colleague or even worse, a superior will not help you maintain or earn a good reputation. Flirting will just lead to awkward glances and crazy rumours around the workplace if your attempt doesn’t go in your favour or if a personal relationship with a colleague goes sour. Think of it, if you attempted to flirt with a boss and got rejected, how good are your promotion or even job prospects within the company after that? Exactly, it isn’t an ideal situation.

1. Don’t confess:


Most importantly, do not start making confessions about your personal life or feelings towards a particular colleague under the influence of alcohol. News spreads fast and gets rather distorted along the way. You do not want to have you colleagues knowing every personal detail about you that could be embarrassing and sometimes even a hindrance to your work. It does not showcase your respect for the work environment or respect of privacy for yourself and those around you.

If you follow these fairly simple don’ts you should have a really nice time at the party and live to talk about it at work the next day. Being cautious about ones behaviour never hurt anybody.

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1 Comment

  1. vaishali verma

    January 16, 2014 at 6:50 am

    hey, really nice article. well written. Thumbs up :)

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