Notable Etiquette: The Holiday Party

Another day, another holiday party to attend. Such is the day in the life of a young professional such as yourself with a knack for networking. The difference however is that these parties you’re attending this month are in the company not of your friends, but of your colleagues. They also (more often than not) involve open bars. So the question that begs to be asked before you head to these grand holiday parties, is what is the proper etiquette? Eight Etiquette Rules for Holiday Parties:

Stick to a two-drink maximum.
When we hit number three, we tend to lose count and get sloppy. Though you might want to take advantage of the open bar, it’s not worth it the next day.

If invited with a plus one, only bring someone you are serious about such as a girlfriend or a wife.
This point is key. Often people find the need to have someone by their side, but it makes for awkward conversation when co-workers start asking you about your date and where you guys stand.

Play the same role that you play in the office, while at the party.
Now is not the time to unleash your ‘at home’ personality. It’s important to keep your boundaries and look at this event as the perfect opportunity to network with work people, not to make them your best friend (or your new bed buddy).

Dress to impress, always.
When you dress well, you tend to feel better, which in turn draws people into you. An out-of-the-office party is the perfect opportunity to show off your style, in a tasteful, chic way.

Keep the conversation light.
Sometimes, when you have a drink or two in you and your feeling less inhibited, it may seem appropriate to you to bring up some resentment about a certain situation or assignment, but you’re not right. It is never appropriate to unleash your inner monologue, no matter how at ease you or others feel. Keep the conversations light and avoid TMI (too much information) moments.

Don’t overstay your welcome.
I wouldn’t eat and run, but I wouldn’t wait til ‘the lights go up’ (so to say) to leave either. If you notice people are starting to call it a night, I’d start thinking about your route home. Overstaying ones welcome makes rule breaking easier and then what would the point be of having read our tips and tricks in the first place?

Only attend a party to which you are personally invited.
This sounds obvious, but many people throw out the ‘you should join us at our holiday party’ line, yet may not mean it or may not know that they shouldn’t be inviting you in the first place. If you are going to an event, it’s best to RSVP and to follow up and make sure (if it’s a client’s party) that you are still on for attending the event. Same goes if you are interning: If you weren’t personally invited to the event, but hear chatter, better to ask someone if you’re included rather than show up.

If you have two parties on the same night, feel free to go to both, going to the one you think you’ll enjoy later, so you can spend the rest of the evening there, being sure to tell the host in advance that you have another party to go to, but don’t want to miss their celebrations either. As long as you let everyone know, party hopping is holiday friendly. 

Image courtesy Creative Commons.