Q: Do I really have to go to my office holiday party? I hate pretending I’m friends with people I wouldn’t invite to my own house.
A: Ugh. I used to hate office parties too. Forced frivolity. Frozen smiles. Too much bubbly. But now that I’ve mellowed with age, I try to “make every moment matter,” as any minister or meditation teacher urges. So yes, go. You might even enjoy yourself.
The main rule is to keep it professional, which will guide you in many ways: when to arrive (on time); what to wear (festive but still appropriate); how much to drink (minimal); how to behave (engage with others, get away from your clique, don’t look bored, don’t flirt); and when to leave (don’t be a hanger-on).