On one hand, having a cocktail with work associates can help you get to know each other better and build team camaraderie. That’s a good thing. On the other hand, you have to see these people for forty-plus hours per week, and if you do or say something ridiculous, you could pay for it personally and professionally. That is very, very bad.
That’s why the advice for attending most office holiday parties is simple: Be careful about imbibing. But when there’s an open bar and tasty appetizers and carols playing, it’s easy to get caught up in the spirit and lose control. If you made a fool of yourself at your work Christmas gathering this year (or are about to in the coming weeks), here’s how to handle it.
You Did Something Crazy, but Lovable
Whether you took over DJ duties, did a mean rendition of “I Touch Myself” at karaoke, or danced atop the bar, you put your sloppy, drunken self on display for everyone to see. Luckily, you were charming and entertaining. When co-workers try to high-five you in the elevator, graciously accept compliments and make dark allusions to your exciting extracurricular life, such as “Yeah, usually it’s just the gang down at Scandals that sees that side of me.” If you don’t seem too upset about it, eventually everyone will find something new to talk about.
You Made a Friend You Don’t Really Want
Usually, you avoid Kathy from accounting like the plague, but after a few glasses of nog, you two bonded over your mutual love of Welsh corgis and orthopedic sandals. Now she wants to have lunch every day.
Go on a lunch or two and make polite conversation. Then mention how insanely busy your schedule is getting, or start booking your haircuts mid-day. After a string of cancellations, she’ll get the hint.
You Blabbed a Secret
You told your least-trustworthy co-worker that you’re scouting for a new job or that you know for a fact that the receptionist got a nosejob. To mitigate the damage, find your drunken confidante and greet her head-on. “Jen, I had a few too many last night, and I should not have told you that. Please keep it between us.” Then cross your fingers and hope for the best.
You Were an All-Around Ass
If you fell on top of the buffet or vomited on the gift table, odds are good that your bad behavior is the talk of the department and people are pissed. The best way to win back respect is to own up to your deeds. As soon as possible, send a mass email to your co-workers, apologizing and dignifiedly asking for forgiveness. Animated gifs help lighten the mood. As penance, bring muffins or cookies to share and offer to do all the refrigerator-cleaning, printer-cartridge-changing, and dish-washing that you can.
You Made Out with a Co-Worker
If the co-worker is single, pull him aside and in a friendly way, tell him that although you think he’s a great guy, you’re not looking to start a relationship and you hope the two of you can stay work friends. (That’s the truth, right?) Try hard not to act awkward.
If the co-worker is your boss, start looking for a new job.