Parkland Press

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Moderation best at company office party

Friday, December 13, 2019 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

This year I’ll be going to my first company holiday office party. I sometimes drink socially and co-workers have told me there is an open bar at the event. What are the rules for drinking at a company holiday party?

Dear Reader,

Beware: You may think the holidays are the time to eat, drink and be merry. But the holiday office party should be approached with more caution than the rest of the events on your social calendar.

When the words “party” and “office” appear on the same invitation, the emphasis remains on the word “office.” While it is called a party, it’s that in name only. While drinking with your colleagues can be a great time, it can also easily become a landmine masked in merriment.

There are ways to avoid potential pitfalls. Don’t overdo it. If you’re invited to join your co-workers at the bar, think twice before going overboard. Two drinks are acceptable; no more.

Most people are able to handle two drinks. If you aren’t completely confident that you’ll remain unaffected by two drinks, then stop at one drink. This ensures that you remain in control and do not say or do anything you will regret.

Don’t presume that your managers won’t notice if you make frequent trips to the bar. Even if you can hold your booze, stop after two drinks. You want people to remember you for how charming you were, not your ability to hold 10 gin and tonics. Moderation is key.

Make your decision about what to drink and how much prior to the event.

This will help you resist the temptation to change your mind. It’s very easy to get caught up in the merriment and drink more than you actually intended.

Holiday parties are a great opportunity to spend time with coworkers, but you still have to be on your best behavior.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2019 Jacquelyn Youst