Many of us dread the workplace holiday party.
After all, we already spend the lion’s share of our time at our jobs. Partying with co-workers, even the ones we like, can feel fake and forced. This time of year is already uber busy, as many of us take on extra shopping, cooking, decorating and personal socializing.
For we introverts, or for the folks who always feel blue around the holidays, attending a “fun” party is at best tiring, and at worst, a serious drain on psychic resources.
If any of this rings true to you, you’re probably not going to like hearing that you really should consider attending your workplace holiday party.
For one thing, it’s just good manners. Even the lamest event costs your employer effort, time and money. Your role in all this is far less demanding — all you need do is demonstrate appreciation. Here’s what to remember:
Arrive around starting time. If senior managers are going to show up, it will most likely be early. Use the opportunity to smile and say hello.
Make it a point to chat for a bit with your direct supervisor. Even if you normally interact with him or her all day long, it’s important to connect at the party.
Don’t forget to express thanks. In fact, feel free to spread around your sincere appreciation — to those senior managers, to your direct supervisor, to the unsung ones who organized the event. When you can’t think of anything else to say, you can never go wrong with, “What a great party. Thanks so much for hosting.”
Avoid faux pas. Adhere to the dress code (ask about it in advance), have no more than one drink (if any), keep conversation light (try to avoid work-related topics) and stay at least 90 minutes. In general, imagine that someone, somewhere, is livestreaming the whole event and then act in a way that makes you look smart, mature and capable.
Finally, if you are truly unable to attend your workplace’s holiday party, be sure to inform your boss sooner rather than later. Have a compelling reason. Say how sorry you’ll be to miss it. Later, ask how it went and mention again your regret at not being able to attend.
And, next year, try to make it.