It's the time of year when families visit, Christmas lights begin to go up, the masses flock like sheep to stores in search of more shit they don't need - and your office holds its Holiday party.
The annual tradition CAN be a huge opportunity for any employee - any employee who understands what it takes to win the party. For others it can be a chance to humiliate themselves in front of their boss and co-workers, or the less traumatic but equally wasteful move - "blend in and be forgettable."
The wild/STRONG Tribe should always have one goal - to win. This is a delicate dance, but lucky for you, I am here to guide you through the experience and guarantee you take advantage of this annual tradition.
We'll cover why booze is your best friend in a moment, but let's start at the beginning.
1. Who to bring: Bring a date. Even if you are not seeing someone seriously or at all. Showing up with a date makes you appear more stable to your superiors and more attractive to other women. Don't have anyone you are interested in taking? Grab a female friend who understands your mission. Remember - this is no place to take a first date. The last thing you need is to find out you brought Ke$ha's cousin, and she's here to party!
2. When to arrive: If the party has a schedule of events, or is a sitdown dinner to start, don't be the asshole that shows up late. Being punctual is a key wild/STRONG trait. If it is simply an open event, running from 8-11pm, don't show up before 9. The person who wins the party is NOT there hob-nobbing with the 65+ crowd and looking like a suck-up who showed up early just to get some face time with the CEO. Show up at least an hour after the start time, but give yourself at least 2 hours of time to work.
3. Booze:Quality: This is one of the most important aspects of the party. Too much and you're sunk, too little and you look like a bore. We'll cover how much in the next step, but first let's talk the "what". You're a grown man and grown men don't swig mixed drinks at a cocktail party. This serves you doubly well at the work party. Order a whiskey like a man, preferably something top-shelf. Even if you are sniveling pansy who drinks margaritas, you can at least appear to have some class. You can also taste the alcohol, which allows you to monitor your intake more successfully (my mom always taught me a gentleman can taste the liquor in his drink, i.e. a gentleman doesn't drink mixes). If bringing a date, discuss her order beforehand - suggest something classy - ordering a vodka redbull makes her look like a trashy club girl - you ordering a Cosmo or vodka soda for her, makes you like a gentleman who understands her and she appears to NOT be 19 years old and trying get "turnt".
4. Booze: Quantity: No more than three drinks per hour for two hours, no less than one and a half drinks per hour for two hours. This allows you to stay loose without getting faded. You'll be fun and drinking - without turning into "that guy" (every party has one, don't be him)
5. Working the room: Know how to properly introduce your date or yourself like a gentleman. There is plenty of information online about this etiquette so I am not going to bore you with it here, but you need to know this. Take 5 minutes to talk to the boss, make him laugh, introduce your date, offer to get him another drink, share a short story you think he would appreciate and get the fuck out of there. Talk to everyone you can, but don't spend more than 10 minutes max with any single group.
6. Never leave your date: You brought her, and whether she is your wife, girlfriend or someone you found on Craigslist and paid 20 dollars to accompany you - it is your responsibility to stay by her side. If she begins hitting it off with a group of women - your job is to leave her area, but never her eyeline. Stay where you can see her so when the conversation ends, you are there for her.
7. When to leave: Leaving early is just as bad as staying too long. People leave in waves. The first wave is the parents who have to get home so Dad can take the babysitter home, probably flirt with her and desperately try to get home before his half-drunk wife goes to sleep and he has to wait another month for an outside shot at sex. This is not the wild/STRONG wave. The second wave is the younger crowd who probably has another party to hit or has plans to hit the bar. This is not the wild/STRONG wave. The third wave is the adults, not classified by age, but by knowledge of when to leave. After the second wave leaves, you must be hyper-aware to get out after them but before the final group - they overstay their welcome and become the group that the hosts wish would leave.
Seven steps. You made an impression, you were fun without getting drunk, you had good manners, you didn't overstay your welcome and your date had a good time and never felt awkward. Go forth and win your holiday party people.