The time is nigh my friends. When we must, once again, endure the yearly tradition of being forced into a room with our work colleagues to drink alcohol and reminisce on all the hard work we put in the past year (Facebook scrolling and online shopping).
I imagine a scene vaguely similar to mine: we’re all stiffly standing around in a semi-circle, bopping self-consciously to some shit awful rock band & studying the froth on our freshly poured beers in awkward silence. With the arrival of each new guest to walk through the door – someone will pipe up: “Oh so-and-so is here!” for lack of anything better to say.
If coming up with witty banter to contribute at these uptight events feels about as natural to you as shaving your tits then listen up:
I HAVE VERY LITTLE HELPFUL ADVICE TO OFFER YOU
It seems the dreaded work xmas party will forever be marred as an excruciating experience for all of us.
See, I have a theory. There seems to be some sort of invisible force field protecting the four walls that is ‘The Office’. Any small talk that happens inside those four walls flows easily and comfortably between us all, but the minute we walk outside, into our natural habitats, we morph into this socially retarded version of ourselves.
All those times we disingenuously asked each other how the other’s weekend was and what we did, was an opportunity to gleam your work colleagues for little snippets of information about their lives. You should be armed with conversation starters by the end of year Christmas party – you should be a conversationalist God.
Alas, once you are an unsafe distance from The Office, all those fun little facts you’ve been hoarding, go flying right out of your anxious little head. You’ll remember none of it. It happens to me as I’m getting in the lift of an afternoon. Suddenly I’ll start rooting around in my handbag looking for the most elusive item ever. Even I don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’m definitely too busy to have a conversation with you.
It’s not that I don’t like my work colleagues, I do. In fact, some of them I would even class as ‘friends’ – and those special few aren’t the ones I have a trembling fear of socializing with – its my bosses that I’m worried about, and our avid church-goer accountant and the IT Specialist who sits up the other end of the office. She has a coffee addiction and lives alone with her cat.
I’ve studied the different types of personalities that are showcased at these horrible affairs and I have classed them into 3 broad categories.
First there are the true introverts, who freeze up, watching anxiously for the first person to speak. When someone finally does, they pray for them never to stop so they can just stand back and nod their head, hoping to blend into the wall behind them.
Then there’s me, the word spewer. It makes me feel better to fill the silences with my own verbal diarrhea so I start rambling and telling anyone who will listen, all of the menial details about my life that I can possibly think of:
- How we dress up my dog in a ‘Santa’s little elf’ outfit and that she’s a little pudgy so her fat rolls clump up at her neck
- Or that time my Grandma wrapped up a can of black cherries as one of my Christmas presents, because “they’re so good for you, Rebecca” and laughed hysterically when I stared blankly at her. HAR HAR HAR everyone, what terrible Christmas presents have you gotten? PLEASE CONTINUE TO FILL THE AWKWARD SILENCES WITH WORDS.
And then there’s the overly enthusiastic drinker (who probably smuggled a flask in and sculled half of it in the car). The night will probably end with them making an enormous moron of themselves, like falling, Bambi-like, onto the Christmas tree, and crying when the tree branch stabs them mercilessly in the eye.
Its mostly out of your hands, your awkward-as-fuck coping mechanisms will likely take over.
However, I can tell you that if in doubt, it always goes down wonderfully to throw in a “got much planned over Christmas”? Chances are they’ll just tell you how they’re spending it with family. People are egotistical and only care to talk about themselves. So shut up and let them.
Also, please don’t be a hero and try to do it sober. Absolutely nothing good will come of that.
I plan to park myself by the free grog, get tanked, and wait, patiently, till it’s socially acceptable to leave.