6 Personalities To Avoid At The Office Christmas Party

‘Tis the season for another round of enforced socialisation with all your workmates. Here’s a handy guide of the people you should avoid.

The office Christmas party is a hazardous event, where all the signposts of a good time – alcohol, dancing, merriment and Christmas – are evident, yet offset by the fact it’s with people you work with.

#1 The Gossip

The Gossip is an interesting figure at the work festivities, and must be approached with caution. They are a double-bladed knife, a sword of Damocles, a landmine with a hair-trigger. They are risky business.

On the one hand, spending the Christmas party with The Gossip can be a lot of fun – they have all the best stories, and with the free champagne flowing, they’re going to drop the really shocking stuff. If you’ve got a grudge against Kathy, now’s the time to get the lowdown on just how many cats she lives with. The Gossip can keep you entertained for hours, and sometimes that’s really important at a work event. However, on the other hand, indulging in gossip can tar you with the same brush, and people might start to get wary around you and not trust you, scared that anything they share might make it back to your mate, The Gossip.

Plus – if you accidentally have too good a time at the party within The Gossip’s sight, you can be sure everyone will know by Monday.

#2 The Surprisingly Emotional Colleague

This is a hard person to predict, precisely because they are an unexpected source of emotion. For whatever reason, this usually stoic workmate seems to bottle up their emotions and save them for situations with a bar tab. While sometimes this might be a group situation – with the emoting taking the form of a teary speech, or some awkward round of public compliments – what we’re usually looking at is an ambush scenario.

The SEC loves to bail their poor victim in a dark corner and unleash all their sadness in one inescapable, awkward flood. Whatever you do, you must not allow this to happen! Not only is it not a fun evening, but if you make the mistake of letting yourself be the vent out of misplaced sympathy, the Surprisingly Emotional Colleague will be EXTREMELY awkward with you in the office forever more… until the next Xmas Party, upon where their watery eyes and brain full of problems will seek you out with unerring aim.

#3 The Professional

It’s the end of the year and its time to put the stresses, hassles and losses you’ve experienced in the workplace behind you. It’s time to cut loose and relax into the holiday period, and the work Christmas party is the best place to get started! Except that you can’t, because you have just been pulled aside by The Professional.

This guy is ignoring the canapes, the funny hats and the truly awful dancing that the accounts department is doing, and is instead talking over the McFlanahan account with you. The Professional is unable to stop working, and if you’re not careful, they’ll metaphorically drag you back to your cubicle and the hundreds of unread emails awaiting you. Keep away from this dude and join the marketing team at Karaoke.

#4 The Boss

This isn’t so much a personality, as literally the boss. Your boss. They run the joint and they pay you. They are also paying for this Christmas party. If you want to be super strategic, you make sure you have a polite word, maybe even a sensible chuckle early on in the night – and then you stay away forever.

Make sure you’re like two positively charged ions, and no matter how much you drink or which terrible colleague you make out with, it all happens away from their powerful gaze. You do not want The Boss calling you a cab home. (Exceptions can be made for Bruce Springsteen, you can talk to him).

#5 The Mess

This one should be obvious – they are a mess, in every way. They are probably only just hanging on to their job, they probably have a lot of “personal days”. Perhaps they’re just on the end of a terrible run of bad luck, and should have your sympathy – but also your extreme caution.

Be careful that the almost inevitable blow out that they will experience at the Christmas party doesn’t bring you down with them. At worst, you might be seen as complicit in the debauchery that led to bottles of champagne being thrown at HR, and at best, you’ll be holding someone’s hair back as they vomit. Steer clear of The Mess.

#6 The Lecher

The Lecher is a person who thinks that there’s been some chemistry between you both all year and maybe it’s time to try out some moves on you/every single in the office. Shut them down.

Patrick Lenton is a writer and digital marketer. He runs Town Crier, a social media and marketing consultancy for authors.