As you may know all too well by this point, holiday office party season is upon us. For many, it’s a chance to kick back and relax after working hard all year, but for others, it’s a chance to do unspeakable, embarrassing things that will force you to publicly apologize to Angela in HR the next day. So -- to prevent you from having to apologize to Angela in HR the next day -- just follow this simple guide to what constitutes decently appropriate office party behavior:
Appropriate: Festively ugly holiday sweaters, a sport coat with a button down and that tie your grandfather gave you that plays the dreidel song, whatever the theme of the party is.
Inappropriate: A santa suit. Even if the theme of the party is “santa suits”. SantaCon is over, and you’re just going to make “come sit on Santa’s lap” jokes all night. Really, we’re saving you from yourself. And lawsuits.
Appropriate: Occasionally grabbing passed appetizers as they come your way, and making -- at most -- two trips to that table with the cheese & crackers and weird fondue thing on it.
Inappropriate: Hanging out by the entrance to the catering kitchen and taking 40% of the passed apps off the plate like some kind of Norwegian troll seeking its tax in stuffed mushrooms.
Appropriate: It’s a party, and we’re not your dad (are we?), so it’s cool to throw back some drinks, and maybe even some celebratory shots, and get festive and loose and make heartfelt promises to do regular social things with co-workers that you will never actually do (“Yeah, man, we HAVE TO start a LEGIT puppeteering studio!”).
Inappropriate: Whatever amount of booze turns you from “festive and loose” to that person that someone has to “take care of” by the end of the night. Everyone hates that person with an undying passion, except for that one weird girl named Margaret who only seems to relish being put in that martyr caretaker role.
Appropriate: Hilarious dancing. Have people never seen you do the Roger Rabbit, or the Aunt Jackie, or that dance that Kid 'n Play do in House Party? Now is definitely the time to show off those hip hop dance lessons you learned from Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas.
Inappropriate: Grinding. Do you really think that Jenna from Sales is going to be psyched when you go all middle-school-dance on her? And no, we don’t care if "Humpin’ Around" is playing.
TALKING WITH YOUR BOSS:
Appropriate: Small talk about cool things happening in the office, the 1992 Oakland A’s starting lineup (which surprisingly included Lance Blankenship), your eagerness to get started on a project you don’t really feel that eager to get started on, the TV show Double Dare, and college football mascots that don’t end in S.
Inappropriate: Trying to advocate for a raise, talking about Alex Robinson’s chest, intimate details of your personal life you’ve never revealed to anyone else, and college football mascots that don’t end in S.
Appropriate: If you’re eyeing Alex Robinson in Tech, and neither of you are spoken for, and your company doesn’t have one of those weird Summer camp fraternization policies, this is your time to make your moves. Make self-deprecating jokes about your parents’ divorce, buy the lass some already-free drinks, and flirt it up.
Inappropriate: Escalating the flirting into a Mom's-basement-with-Pelican Brief-playing make-out session in public. Save it for the after-party, or the after-after-party, which will NOT be held in the hotel lobby.
Appropriate: You’re no longer at the company sponsored event, so pretty much anything goes! After all, R. Kelly didn’t make a song about it to start putting limits on things. Also, obey normal laws and everything.
Inappropriate: That damn Santa suit. Still not cool, man.