Anyone's who seen the "Little Kicks" episode of
Seinfeld where Elaine makes a fool of herself at an office party fears they're one glass of wine away from their own embarrassing little kicks dance. As it turns out, those fears are well founded. Regrettable things people have done at holiday parties include drinking too much, hooking up with a co-worker, and telling off the boss. If you think it can't happen to you, new research from OnePoll in conjunction with online invitation company Evite found that one in three people have committed a work holiday party faux pas.
Um, guilty. I once made out with a co-worker (who, to be fair, I was dating) in front of everyone during a work holiday party. My behavior was slightly less embarrassing because at the time I was working as a bartender where that sort of thing wasn't totally out of the norm. If you work in an office, letting loose at the annual holiday party could come back to bite you in the butt. However, despite there being a 33 percent chance you'll make a fool of yourself at the office holiday party, you're probably pretty unlikely to skip it.
In fact, you may even be looking forward to it like 75 percent of those polled. "
Anything can happen at an office holiday party, which is why it’s no surprise that the majority of employees look forward to it every year," Evite's in-house party specialist Julian Clark said in a press release about the study. If you do end up being the one in three who does something regrettable, here's what you're most likely to do.
Unleashing Your Inner Diva On The Dance Floor
Maybe you're one of those people who keeps it all buttoned up at work, but after one or two drinks you become super extroverted. Perhaps you even shed your wallflower persona and hit the dance floor. "For those seemingly ‘quiet’ co-workers, the office party is their time to shine," the survey reported. "Results showed that 35 percent of office workers witness their bashful and reserved colleague become the life and
soul of the holiday party." There's nothing wrong with this. But maybe practice your moves before the party so your little kicks dance doesn't go viral on Twitter.
Workplace romances are real, and they might just start at the office holiday party. According to the survey, 37 percent of people reported a kiss between colleagues as one of the top five experiences at the office holiday party. However, it's important to remember that consent is key to office party kissing.
The office holiday party is definitely the place to impose a drink limit on yourself: 57 percent of people reported either drinking too much themselves, or witnessing a colleague toss their cookies. This is why it's no surprise that being hungover is the reason 53 percent of people cite for being late to work the day after the office holiday party.
Most employees tend to keep what they think of their co-workers to themselves. However, the office holiday party seems to prompt folks to overshare their way to regret. According to the survey, getting the office gossip is something 29 percent of office-party goers look forward to, while learning about office drama and secrets is listed as a top experience by 41 percent of people. If drinking alcohol is synonymous with gossiping for you, consider sticking to sparkling cider.
An informal survey from NPR reported that a top office holiday party faux pas was knocking something over, which is pretty likely to happen after a few cups of holiday punch. What is in that stuff anyway? "Welp — one time I had a little too much and
knocked over the Christmas tree. I'll never live that one down," one person said in the NPR survey.
There's an episode on
season three of Mad Men where a riding mower gets delivered as a sample. After a few drinks, someone decides to test it out in the office and ends up slicing off a co-worker's toe. As it turns out, a hospital visit after a holiday party injury is a very real possibility. "As the night progressed, someone made a makeshift slip-and-slide in the warehouse that was quite fun until the IT guy of the office broke his collarbone going face first and 911 was called," one person said in the NPR survey. Oops.
Once on a work trip, some co-workers and I decided to have a late-night dance party in the company's communal hotel suite. A few hours in, one of my co-workers started live tweeting the experience. Don't do this. In fact, if you plan on getting tipsy at an
office holiday party, stay off social media until the next day. No one needs to see your office antics on Instagram Stories. According to an office holiday party regret chart from Vizzlo, inappropriate tweeting is a regret 15 percent of office party goers wake up with the next day. Remember, while you can delete those tweets, screenshots are forever.
If you hate your job, and there is any way to avoid the office holiday party, do it. Unless of course you want to end up like this person. "I initiated a toast in which I screamed, ‘
I hate my job!!’ In front of my boss," one woman told Forbes. A stunt like this could spell the end of your time at said company, and a poll from human resource firm Adecco found that 14 percent of people reported losing their jobs after an office holiday party debacle with this number being highest in the Midwest.
In extreme cases, over indulging at an office holiday party has landed people in jail and out of a job. "An IT guy at our company had
so much whiskey at our Christmas party's after-party that he attacked random plates of food that weren't his, broke glasses on the floor, started a fist fight with our CFO in the 'put up your dukes' style, and when the cops came to calm him down he fought them and got arrested," one person told Forbes. "He was promptly fired — while sitting in the back of a police cruiser a week before Christmas." A good rule of thumb? Avoid office after parties. Nothing good can come of it.
If you fear you'll make a spectacle of yourself at the office holiday party, or you're just uncomfortable attending in any way, plan to make a short appearance and leave early, or talk to your boss or human resources about skipping it altogether. If you're not comfortable doing that, use a sick day and take care of you. Seriously, you've got enough going without having to worry about the fall out from the office holiday party.