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Office Party Etiquette

Photo: Thinkstock / The Nest

Going out to drinks with your favorite coworkers? Fun times. Eating stale Christmas cookies by the water cooler and listening to your boss sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? Not so much. But let’s face it -- there’s no avoiding the office holiday party. So keep your cool and make it through this year’s shindig without becoming “that person” everyone’s talking about well into the New Year. Here are the five party profiles to avoid.

The Brownnoser

What’s that you say? You’ve stayed late every night this week? Oh, and you volunteered to take on extra projects? And after the office party, you’ll put on your cape and save the world? Awesome. You might be gunning for one of the few promotions coming up (hey, why not?), but the office holiday party isn’t exactly the right platform to launch your campaign. For one, your coworkers will think you’re being a suck-up (which you are), and two, just about the last thing your boss wants is to be cornered by a ladder-climber when he’s got the whole company to schmooze with.

The Grinch

Sure, you leave the office most days by 6 p.m., and yeah, maybe you’re a little annoyed that the office party has been scheduled for 5:30 -- meaning there’s no way you’re getting home for Jeopardy. But watching the clock and complaining about the lost hour of your precious time will make you look like a stick in the mud. So unless you have dinner plans with the President (as in, of the United States), get over yourself and pour some punch. Acting like you can’t wait to leave will make you look too cool for, uh, work -- and if everyone else in your office can spare an hour or two, so can you.

The Flirt

Turning the office bash into your own personal flirt fest is a major no-no -- and yes, that includes sitting on your hot coworker’s lap and telling him what you want for Christmas. Even if you think you’re just being playful, those batting eyelashes can be misinterpreted, and the last thing you want is your coworkers getting the wrong idea. Keep it friendly, but not suggestive -- unless you want to wake up with regrets (as in, Did I really have to mention the naughty Santa’s Helper outfit hanging in my closet?).

The Clinger

You don’t want to be left in the corner -- understandable. But that also doesn’t mean it’s kosher to latch on to the person next to you and follow her around like some freaky, uncoordinated shadow. Instead, pick a group of people to talk to so that you’re being social but not holding anyone hostage. You won’t have to carry the conversation, and you’ll avoid giving off a desperate, stalker-ish vibe that’s sure to get your name knocked off the email list for next week’s happy hour.

The Frat Boy

Okay, they get it: You were, like, so good at beer pong back in college. But bragging about your drinking days is hardly the way to impress your boss -- no, not even if she herself can drink half your department under the table. The fact is, nobody’s going streaking through the quad...er…office, so make some casual conversation, sip the eggnog, and go home. Office parties are part of the job -- not grounds to start a rager.

-- Caitlin Moscatello

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