Written by: Shani Fowler
With the party season in full swing for the festive period, there are quite a few of us who can get a little carried away, especially at the work’s Christmas do! Those extra glasses of wine give way to our inhibitions, leaving us the next morning with not only a hangover from hell, but a terrible feeling of shame of how badly we behaved! Our work colleagues are unavoidable and we have to face them again, spend a lot of time with them, but what do we do when we have overstepped the mark?
Sometimes all that pent up frustration with your boss or colleague reaches fever pitch and the Christmas party alcohol and atmosphere can lead you to say things you should not. Suddenly you think it’s high time you let your boss know that he is not quite the charismatic schmoozing “fun to be with” guy he believes himself to be. Moreover, you decide the time is right to let him know he has as much charisma as a damp dish cloth and frankly you doubt you would grace him with a phone call should you win the lottery.
What do you do?
Well firstly try to recall exactly what you said. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as you think and maybe they took it as a joke – try to recall their reaction. Yes you were drunk but were they drunk too? This has to be damage limitation exercise. You could go in and see what they say first, see if they are happy to let the whole thing go without anything else said about it, or (probably more advisable) you could apologise!
You could tell them that you can’t remember everything you said (even if you can – no point raking it back up) but you do recall you weren’t very nice and you are sorry for the things you said. Most of us have spoken out of turn from time to time, so an apology is a good start, shows courage and contrition and hopefully your boss or colleague can have empathy with your situation.
Have you blabbed a secret you were trusted with? Over the Christmas meal did you tell Joan from admin that you know there are financial difficulties within the organisation or did you tell Mike from accounts that his married boss has been seeing “rather a lot” of his secretary? Oh dear – well one thing is certain you can’t turn back the clock and you can’t erase your colleague’s memory. Approach them and tell them how “silly” you were to say those things, that although you said them it is purely between you and your colleague and you would be grateful if it stayed that way – and hope that is the end of it.
Three red wines and a baileys into the night and you suddenly think that you could give Beyoncé a run for her money at this dancing malarkey! So you start dance rather suggestively to Tom Jones’ “sex bomb” around all the directors. Oh the shame! Well at least this one is one of the lesser of the party behaviour evils. The best policy is to brush off the comments that will inevitably follow the next working day and play down your antics saying “I rather thought I was very good actually!” Most people will probably see the funny side, even though you are probably mortified with yourself.
You’re not sure who brought the mistletoe, but what a stroke of genius! You have been round everyone giving them a Christmas kiss – no real harm done – but then there was Josh! You remember it was more than a peck on the cheek and you also know his wife mightn’t be too pleased should she get wind of it! Best thing – tell Josh that know things went too far but he can rest assured not only won’t it be happening again but you won’t be letting anyone else including/especially his wife know about it either! And hope you can stay friends.
It won’t be the first nor the last to exercise bad party protocol. In truth most of us have done something at the office party that with hindsight, wished we hadn’t. The trick is to recall what you can, apologise where necessary and brazen some of it out! Then vow that next year (if they allow you to remain in your job ha ha) it will not be you that makes the after party headlines!