The Dos and Don’ts of Office Parties

I know, I know. It’s summer and it isn’t really prime time for office parties. But, as I’ve discussed before, my husband’s company is anything but normal. Instead of scheduling the festivities around the holidays, they take one week in the spring or summer to do some office bonding. This includes going paintballing, out to dinner, playing a little golf, etc (are you jealous yet?). It also means that near the end of the week there’s a lovely party for all of the staff and their significant others and/or a date of their choice.

Where was my invitation? This looks like a blast!

Where was my invitation? This looks like a blast!

Not only do they provide a delicious dinner with an open bar at a beautiful country club, but everyone goes bowling afterwards (hello clown shoes)! I mean, who could pass that up? The party is usually so fun (and held on a Thursday evening) that I even decided to take the next day off this year so I can truly enjoy myself and not feel like we need to rush home because I need to wake up at 6am.

Now, just because this isn’t technically my office, doesn’t mean the normal rules of party etiquette don’t apply. In fact, it’s just as important that I make a good impression as it is for my husband to do the same. Here are some dos and don’ts to make sure you put yours (and your significant others) best foot forward no matter whose office party you’re at!

Do dress appropriately. For women, this means don’t wear anything too short, too tight, or wear shoes you can’t walk in. Instead, stick with a classy little black dress, a sleek pantsuit, or a cocktail dress that isn’t too distracting or over-the-top. You want to look clean and well put together, not like you’re heading out to the club!

If the only dress you own is leopard print, doesn't cover your butt, or has been sitting in your closet since 1999, please buy something more appropriate!

If the only dress you own is leopard print, doesn’t cover your butt, or has been sitting in your closet since 1999, please buy something more appropriate!

Men, make sure you still look groomed and are wearing at least business casual attire. You can’t really go wrong with nice slacks, a (non-wrinkly) button-down shirt, and a jacket.

My rule of thumb is if you’re questioning whether or not it’s appropriate, it probably isn’t.

Do not take advantage of the open bar. Last year there was one date who went a little wild with the open bar. While it didn’t ruin the night by any means, it was the topic of conversation for a little bit. Don’t be that person who looks sloppy and is slurring their words. It’s unprofessional, inappropriate, and makes you (and your date) look silly.

Please, for the love of all things good, do not make-out with anyone!

Please, for the love of all things good, do not make-out with anyone!

Instead, enjoy a glass or two of your favorite drink with dinner while adding in some water.

Do make sure you know everyone’s names (or at least the most important people). Nothing is worse than walking into a party and not knowing anyone or their names. If you’re like me and you constantly forget names, ask your significant other to remind you of them beforehand. Worse comes to worse, make sure you at least know the important names like the CEO, VP, his/her direct manager, etc.

Do not try to talk up your significant other’s accomplishments. In a nutshell, no one really cares. You may think you’re being helpful and highlighting why he/she should get a promotion, but this isn’t the time or place. Everyone is trying to enjoy themselves so try to lay off the humble bragging and too much business talk.

Stop talking… Now.

Stop talking… Now.

Do enjoy yourself. Even though this is technically a business related function, you should still be having fun. Just make sure you’re doing it without being inappropriate or completely trashed. For example, when we go bowling it’s always a blast because we’re in formal clothes and those awful bowling shoes. Everyone just laughs and has the time of their lives. We all remember that it’s supposed to be a party, not a funeral. Laugh, eat, drink (a little), and have fun.

Do not forget to thank the person responsible for coordinating the party. I mean, they did put together a huge and wonderful party that you got to enjoy. Be polite and thank them for their generosity.

Now, it’s your turn. What other tips do you have for successfully attending an office party?

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