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Ah, It begins. Yesterday, the e-invite for the annual holiday party docked itself in my inbox. Lo and behold, a plus-one came along with it.
December is approaching us, and it always brings its own complications. Office holiday party season is right around the corner and it can be tricky business navigating it as one of the only (extremely) single employees. Could I ride solo? Sure! If my office was full of young, single people, I’d opt into that. But my office is incredibly small where I would stick out like a sore thumb if I went alone. And in all honesty, going alone is no fun, especially when I feel guilty to depriving someone of the opportunity of free food, entertainment, and an open bar. Why should I hoard that all to myself? That’s just being selfish. If I get the opportunity to bring someone, I always try to bring a casual (keyword: casual) date. It makes the night more enjoyable for everybody.
Here’s the catch: the office holiday party is an institution that largely exists to that coworkers can pry into one another’s personal lives. If you disagree, you’re just lying to yourself. We work closely with certain people and it only leads to curiosity about what kind of lives they lead outside of the workplace. There’s a lot of pressure being the only single gal at these events. People expect me to be in the dating scene so I don’t just want to show up with any random dude. I want to show up with someone who projects good taste, can shake a hand confidently, and muster witty banter with my coworkers. You know, the basics of being a decent human.
But the big question… who? Well, there are a few prerequisites here. Whoever attends needs to be able to handle their alcohol. We’re talking open bar with light hors-d’oeuvres, so I need a champion. My job is important to me, and I don’t want my date to harm the reputation that I’ve worked to establish. Does that mean they shouldn’t drink? NO! Drinking is encouraged at these events. A LOT of drinking happens, but I don’t want to be the laughing stock of my office just because “that dude Katie brought one year puked in the photobooth.”
In addition to a strong booze tolerance, I’m going to need a social butterfly. This person is going to be in a room full of strangers. Sure, the liquid courage is plentiful – but the more outgoing and personable the better. After all, I’ll need my date to be comfortable being left alone as I converse with other people at my company, as I will inevitably have to do for the majority of the night.
Is this approach to choosing a casual date way too calculated or cynical? Maybe. Especially for something as simple as a holiday party. But the fact is, every event with people I work with is an opportunity to make an impression on the people who can advance my career.
Maybe this is the year I decide to suck it up and go alone, but for now, I’m on the hunt for buy plus one for the 2018 office holiday party. Serious inquiries only. Thanks. .