Tis’ the season for holiday office parties! Whether you work in the private sector, a small business or the U.S. government there is bound to be some sort of work soiree to help celebrate the season. Which also means the likelihood of a social disaster could also be lurking around the corner. In an article in Wall Street Journal, holiday party do’s and don’ts are discussed. Although these tips are comical in nature, they do remind me of three things that you should seriously veer away from while socializing this season.

Oversharing still counts

Showing cat videos and sharing details of your failed past relationship can seem like a good idea after a few martinis. It is not. Just like on your favorite social media site, oversharing has no place at the work or at the holiday Christmas party. If you wouldn’t say it to your mother, chances are the older woman from accounting, or your boss, probably doesn’t need to hear it either. If there is alcohol at your party, moderation is key. Which brings me to my next point.

Don’t be “That Guy”.

We all know him or her. The colleague that goes too far. Too many drinks can cause a huge problem for even the most sensible people. Limit drinks to one or two, and if you are a nervous drinker, rotate water with your alcoholic beverage. This will keep you out of trouble. Another trick is to enlist the help of a “battle buddy”. Having someone deter you from your crazy dancing tendencies or work-related rants can be a career lifesaver.


At a social event, some folks forget the most important part. Talk to people. Is this a “mandatory fun” situation for some? Yes, but it’s also a free opportunity to communicate with colleagues in your organization in a semi-informal environment. This is not the time to revert to your wall-flower tendency, or the “boys on one side, girls on the other” trend from middle school. Talking your boss’s ear off is not a good idea, but reaching out on a personal level can have its merits. According to a study by Northwestern University management and organizations professor Lauren Rivera, having the same tastes, experiences and leisure pursuits as your boss — as well as good “emotional spark” with him or her — is just as important, if not more, than actual job skills. People tend to hire people they “like”. Find a common ground, and have a real conversation. Knowing someone on a personal level can significantly benefit a working relationship. It’s harder to ignore a request from someone you know personally. This is why I always am sure to chat up the HR folks, and stay in their good graces.

Have you been a victim of one of these faux pas? Or better yet, have you witnessed someone working their way to the unemployment line via spiked egg nog? Share your holiday party horror stories below! (Names may be omitted to protect the dignity and clearance status of those involved.) Happy Holidays!

Erika Wonn is a communications analyst and proud veteran in Washington, DC. Follow Erika on Twitter @erikawonn

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Erika Wonn is a communications analyst and proud veteran in Washington, DC.