Here we are back in this time of the year that all introverts dread; that of the traditional office parties. Introverted or not, this party can be stressful and even embarrassing, especially this year. In light of the #Me Too movement, many workplaces are revising their policies and implementing training activities to raise employee awareness.
Are you usually uncomfortable with this type of occasion? Wondering what to say or do? Here’s the introvert’s guide to the office party.
Shall I go?
The ultimate decision on whether or not to attend is of course yours. No one will force you. However, be aware that if you don’t go, your absence will be noticed, and this absence may harm you.
Remember, the key word in office party is “office”. It is an activity organized by your employer. He or she invests time and money so that everyone celebrates together. Not going may be seen as disrespectful or disengaging. Go to it.
What should I talk about?
The “small talk” is stressful for many, especially for introverts. Avoid these discomforts and prepare this courtesy chat.
For starters, don’t talk about work. This is not the time to ask questions about a project or showcase your talents for a promotion. This party is an opportunity to get to know your colleagues better. Think of the party as an intra-company networking activity. Every encounter can improve your job satisfaction and well-being.
Take stock of the successes of your colleagues and superiors. What have been their accomplishments over the past year? Spot them and congratulate them!
What should I wear?
As with casual Fridays, you should never wear clothes to the beach, bar, boudoir or gym, unless of course you work in one of these places.
Follow the dress code written on the invitation. If there is none, the location, time of day and what will be served will give you clues as to what is appropriate to wear.
Trendy restaurant or reception hall? You might want to dress fancy.
Cocktail served at the office after work? You can dress as you do every day. Adding a few sequins or festive accessories can help you transition to the party.
Make wise choices in relation to your role, your values and those of your employer. The image of you wearing antlers and a red nose may be difficult to erase from your boss’s mind when the time comes to evaluate your performance.
If you really don’t know what to wear, ask the event organizer or your human resources representative. You’ll never make a mistake asking for clarification.
Shall I dance?
Worried about looking like Elaine in Seinfeld? I don’t blame you.
You are right to keep a little embarrassment, but at the same time the office party is the time to spend some good time with your colleagues. Participate, dance and sing. Have fun, but keep in mind that everything you say and do is observed, no matter how brightly the room is lit.
Shall I have a drink or not?
It may be “open bar” but that doesn’t mean you have to enjoy it happily. Respect your limit. You don’t want to be held responsible for anything you say or do under the influence. After all, it’s not uncommon to hear of an employee who has shared too much information at these parties.
Stay well hydrated throughout the party and eat a snack beforehand.
Can I get some pictures?
With social media and the speed at which a photo can go viral, it’s always best to say “cheese” with caution. So if you take pictures, ask permission before immortalizing the scene.
Be present and in the moment. Put your phone on standby to avoid the temptation to check your texts and post on Instagram.
How long should I stay?
You may prefer the cocooning mode, but arriving late or rushing home before the thanks from the parton, will not be well received.
Show up on time and don’t be the last one to close the party.
Most importantly, take the time to thank the organizers and your superiors for the celebration. If you don’t see them when you leave, send an email the next day when you arrive at work. It may seem trivial, but these little touches show your appreciation for the effort and gratitude is contagious.