Saturday, December 14, 2013

Surviving Your Company's Holiday Party : A Guide for Introverts

2014 New Art Journal

It is that time of the year. The one lots of us dread: the company holiday party season. Lots of mingling, chatting, and if you are lucky(or not) drinking. 

I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who is not a big fan of "expected to attend" work functions. I already spend endless hours of my day mingling, chatting and hopefully not drinking with co-workers, so I am not really into spending my free personal time talking about work.


But there comes a time when I know, I just have to suck it up and make an appearance and this time is tonight. Yes, you heard it right. My company's holiday party will take place on a Saturday night. A Saturday which I much rather spend in my home watching a good movie or reading a book.

So what's one to do? I still have to be professional and make sure I am not seeing as anti-social, because even though I am not, I live in a society where certain expectations exist and I am no fool.


So these are a few tactics I put together for myself in order to make this event a bit more tolerable:
  1. Leave when you feel like it: Now, social grace dictates I have to show up, but it does not dictate I have to be there from beginning to end. I will be there and when I can no longer, I will discretely dash for the door. Don't make excuses why you have to leave, just do it.
  2. Small Talk with Grace:  for you who have been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I despise small talk and company holiday party's are all about the art of small talking. Find someone you like and get along with and stick around. Staying close to someone you have an affinity with will make the time pass faster. To all others: smile, nod in acknowledgment when they speak, but be careful not to give too much attention or you might find a chatter box who thinks you are a great listener and will talk you to death.
  3. Have a friend call you if necessary: if it all fails and things just get too overwhelming, have a friend call you and just say something's come up and you have to leave.

This is it. I honestly have only these tactics to survive my own holiday party. It was born out of despair, because all the excuses I came up with (feeling sick from the flu to the bubonic plague, killing some distant relative, or exhaustion) just were not good enough.

25 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I hate company parties!. Its not fair to your significant other nor to the employees.. I was at one where a big wig came onto me and he happened to have had a bit too much to drink... Alcohol plays a big and bad part at these functions... Its embarrassing for all... besides most of the food at these functions aren't worth eating.

beedoo747 said...

Hmm.. You know, I don't think it is anti-social not to show up at the Christmas Party. Me personally I would much rather be stewed in a pot of boiling water rather than go to one of these things.

It has nothing to do with being an introvert or being anti social - it has to do with the fact that my spare time is exactly that, my own, and I am not getting paid to be at the Christmas party, so be there I will not.

Fortunately the place I work at is a 24/7 call centre and I usually work the evening shift, so I have a perfect excuse. I have to work.

But if I didn't have to work, and just did not want to go, nobody would hassle me about it - there might be a few didn't see you type of comments, mainly from the people I like, because the people I don't like wouldn't make enough small talk with me to ask where I was.

Ours was held just last weekend, and those of us who had to work had a much better time I think - we ordered pizza, and had our own secret santa.

If you can't not go, get out as fast as you can is probably the best plan. :) But maybe next time plan your excuse far in advance - be out of town for the weekend. :)

the only daughter said...

I worked for a company (for over 30 years) which went through varying phases of company parties. Thankfully, few were held during non-working hours.

Since August I've worked for a company which seems prone to small group gatherings, except for conventions and contest trips. While the gatherings are small(ish) I do employ the, "stay with or near folks you already like" gambit.

My daughter's company party is today. She made it clear when it was announced she would not attend and has had to pretty much defend her decision all week. Several members of the staff actively worked to change her mind.

Here's to the time at the party passes fast and uneventfully.

Maike Bohlen said...

No chance for you than to give the evening one? My sons told me there is a function on their samsung that rings you up when ypu hold a certain button a few moments so you can fake a call. Makes me wonder whether samsung company parties are a bit annoying sometimes, too.

Japolina said...

Here are my thoughts:
-Some people actually like going to Holiday Office Parties.
-You spend more time at work with co-workers than with most of your friends. Even if you are not social with your co-workers, it is nice to celebrate with them once a year.
- The company spends the money on the party (it is usually more expensive than you think) to show appreciation for the hard work. when the recession hit, many companies eliminated them
-Some people don't ever go out so it is nice to have a night out with drinking and eating for free
- If you don't go or leave early, no one really cares!

Hope you have more fun that you think you will have!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Ha ha, I know what you mean. My office xmas party was last night. Yay, it's over for another year!

Terra said...

I'm with you on this, parties associated with work, on your own time, ugh. Your tactics are good, just leave when you want, no excuses.

Sherri B. said...

Oh yes, as an introvert I so relate to this...Ana, I hope it goes well and you can leave as soon as you feel like it! I like the "have a friend call" idea - that's a good one. :)

LAUGH AN said...

... At that time I am introverted...Christmas time is a crazy part of the year :-\ I don't really love that!

http://ecrireautrement.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-crowd.html

LAUGH AN said...

... At that time I am introverted...Christmas time is a crazy part of the year :-\ I don't really love that!

http://ecrireautrement.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-crowd.html

Ola said...

and I already had it last Friday... I also did not stay til the end - my 4-month son is more important:)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I am reading this on a Sunday morning so I hope the Saturday night party went as well as can be expected :)

Jeanie said...

I just read a great article in an online PBS publication called Next Avenue -- if you google pbs next avenue holiday parties you'll find it. There were a bunch of tips which go for parties of any kind.

I think yours are great -- I especially like number three. It's good to have a friend there to give you that "emergency release call."

I hope it wasn't as awful as you thought it might be and these tips both served you well -- and didn't really need to be used all that much!

Magic Love Crow said...

I hope you had a good time??? Love your tactics! I have wrote them down ;o)

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I haven't had to do one of these for quite some time, but when I did, I stuck with a small group of people that I really clicked with, and went home when I'd had my fill. Thank goodness this is only once a year, right?!

Jenny said...

I can relate Ana... hope you survived the holiday party... love your tactic list... would love to hear how it went...

Jenny ♥

Lois said...

Good tips! We already had husband's work function, and we made a pact to leave early this year and did. I wish for functions that were simple and heartfelt. Instead of a fancy dinner I wish more places would just take the money and donate it, or give everyone a small bonus, so many do not get bonuses any more. Hope you survived!

Michaela said...

I hope you survived! I skipped all 5 parties, summer or winter, while I was working in my previous job. I did enjoy parties during my employment a few years ago, but I simply did not accept the invitations in my latest work, I decided I didn't care what one might think of me. I sort of had brilliant excuses all the time, but too long to go into that now.

Riot Kitty said...

I hadn't heard of the friend call one before! Thanks!

Arden said...

OK, me coming across this post now is perfect... I live in Tel Aviv, and thankfully it's very uncommon to have work holiday parties, or events at all (think about moving here ;) ) But this year, my boss decided to host an event. On a TUESDAY night (the 24th). And attendance is absolutely mandatory. Your tips may as well be saving my Christmas this year. Hope you're turns out well! xx

Jess said...

The bubonic plague is one I might try next time! ;) I hope you had a lovely time and it wasn't too awful. I HATE gatherings too, with a PASSION.
Jess xx

Francie M said...

Ha ha. Borderline extrovert/introvert - I must say the "party" is the time that my introversion takes total possession of my psyche. Parties are so painful - especially now that I don't drink. Relieved to be retired, it is one I don't have to go to.

AntiquityTravelers said...

These functions are just not how I want to spend my 'free' time. I'm with you ... I spend all day with these people, must I also then dress up and chit chat with them too? sigh. For me it usually means staying late, after work in NYC only then to catch a 'local' train home adding an additional 30 mins to my already long 90-min commute. The icing on the cake is riding the train with all the drunk people who stayed late in the city. I make sure to have music and earbuds

Palomasea said...

Perfect advice...
I hope the party wasn't too awful.. ;)
xoxo

Mrs. Teacher said...

Love this!
Our Christmas parties are during work time, so we never have to stay late or come an extra day. Helps a lot!