October 25, 2021

A Friendly Reminder to Slobbering Drunks: Be Less Slobbery and Drunk at Your Company Holiday Party

Remind me again why I click on random Forbes articles when they show up in my extensive trawling of the Internet?

How Not To Behave At The Office Party is one such story I would like to demand payment from for stealing 2 minutes of my precious time. I should have known before I even got through the first paragraph — which, trust me, was no easy feat — that I would instantly feel a twinge of reader's remorse not at all unlike the stabbing pain you get in your colon after eating Taco Bell.

What a stressful year. Congressional gridlock so severe that the government shut down for 16 days. Obamacare’s massive glitches. Continuing high unemployment and an economy that remains shaky. You’d think that at the office holiday party you could grab a glass of bubbly, let your hair down and speak your mind.

Don’t do it. The office fête is not the place for unconstrained chatter. It’s also not the place for personal confession, expressions of frustration or speechifying about what you’d do with the company if you were in charge.

Instead, remember that you are at a professional function and behave that way. That means listening as much as talking, keeping your conversation on safe subjects like hobbies, movies or family and deferring to superiors.

Got it. So basically office holiday parties are like being at the office except with alcohol (depending on your office, I know happy hour has started at mine before noon in some cases).

And then the experts come in. Oh here we go. Are you, like me, a social butterfly who tends to dominate a room with your unmistakable glow whether you've had 0 drinks or 5? WELL STOP BEING SO DAMN GLOWY, YOU ATTENTION WHORE:

“Don’t outshine people who need the spotlight, or hold some aspect of job security in your hands,” advises John Challenger, chief executive of the worldwide outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. “The holiday party is a great time to build relationships. Don’t get into behaviors that might cause relationships to deteriorate or be damaged.”

I really hope "outshine" is another word for "vomit on" otherwise this is stupid advice. Yes, you shouldn't make anyone look bad for your own benefit but that is basically general life advice we all should have mastered by the age of, oh, 6, not something grown people need to be told ahead of a holiday party with colleagues.

And remember, you guys, drinking a lot is bad. Real bad:

The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption are well known, but cautionary tales are worth retelling: Annmarie Woods recalls a holiday gathering a few years ago for her sales team at a leading financial services firm. The group began the evening at a downtown restaurant and then headed to a dance club. The evening being celebratory, their boss picked up the bill for a limousine to get them from the restaurant to the club. While en route, one of the staffers vomited into Woods’ purse.

“The next day at the meeting, everyone was talking about it. Their opinion of her had been altered,” Woods puts it mildly.

The office party offers a unique opportunity to bond with superiors and colleagues. But don’t blow it. “If you can’t keep a lid on it, don’t go to it,” Challenger advises.

Yeah, because every raging, out-of-control drunk I've ever met has the self-awareness to say before downing half a dozen gin and tonics "you know, I really can't handle my liquor, perhaps I should forgo this party that will include free alcohol and possibly even food."

Here's the only advice you really need: eat beforehand and CONTROL YO'SELF. If you, like me, tend to get a tad chatty and creeper gropey around your third Double Bastard Ale, then drink lots of water between beers/tonics/shots (if you're doing shots at an office party, is your firm hiring?) and for the love of all that is sacred and holy, cut yourself off BEFORE you get to the point of no return. We all know what that is and exactly how many alcoholic drinks it takes to get there. So be an adult about it. Failing that, I guess you can just hope everyone else got even more shit-faced than you did and no one will remember anything, thereby allowing you to pin any vomit on others.

Anyway, I will spare you all tales of my own holiday party antics and encourage you to share your own in the comments as a bit of a cautionary tale to any of the raging, out-of-control drunks out there actually considering drowning themselves in free booze and vomit this holiday season. Cheers!

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