Some people love office parties. They can’t get enough of socializing with the people they work with all day, even that picky person in accounting.
Others genuinely care about the people we work with, but when we come home at the end of the day, we want to spend time with family and friends. We want to do something that has nothing to do with work whatsoever.
Going to an office party is something we “have” to do, a duty or chore. We make an appearance for the sake of office politics.
For the shy, private person, or one with social anxiety, though, office parties and events are a nightmare. Aside from using your anxiety-management techniques such as breathing exercises and visualizations, what can you do to get through the next office bash?
Some simple tips:
1. Help out. If it’s a non-catered affair, offer to help set up, serve beverages, clean up. If it’s a catered party, offer to hand out name-tags, compose the invitations, do the decorations, get involved in the organization, make phone calls, etc.
2. Invite one or more people to travel to and/or from the event with you. Offer to pick them up and/or take them home if you’re driving.
3. Unless it’s a formal event, offer to be the photographer. Bring a real camera if you have one, rather than a phone. Bring a tripod, if possible, too. The camera is a great prop and conversation starter. You become “the photographer” and people relate to you in this capacity.
4. Ask if pets are allowed. Bring your dog, parrot, or chameleon.
5. If you’re brave, wear a truly ridiculous mask and/or a costume. Walk in and say, “Hey, who sent me that email saying this was a costume BBQ?” (Someone I know did this a long time ago, as a joke. We all laughed, and she became the star of the event. Most of the employees barely knew her name before.)