Too much booze, end-of-year stress, and coworkers can be a recipe for disaster.
That's why office holiday parties are such a minefield of awkward situations.
Many offices are doing away with alcohol, or the party altogether, in the wake of sexual misconduct scandals currently plaguing a range of industries.
But if your office is having festivities this year, it's crucial to remember that you're pretty much still at work, even if it's a party.
You need to be able to loosen up and enjoy yourself without looking like a complete fool or jeopardizing your job.
Business Insider spoke with HR and career professionals to highlight topics you'll want to avoid at your office holiday party:
1. 'Could you introduce me to your daughter/son?'
Avoid hitting on your coworkers' relatives. It's awkward and it won't end well.
"Be careful about jokes or crude remarks... there is nothing like your colleague asking to be introduced to your daughter that really makes the night and subsequent days at work uncomfortable," Rebecca Henderson, global group president of HR firm Randstad Sourceright, told Business Insider.
2. 'I never realized you had such an amazing body — the way you dress in the office is far too conservative'
TriNet director of human capital services Jackie Breslin said, "Give a compliment that is appropriate and won't make a coworker uncomfortable. A fair number of workplace complaints regarding inappropriate conduct have an origin at the company holiday party."
CEO of HR consulting firm OperationsInc. David Lewis agrees, noting that even statements as simple as "You look great" can come across as creepy. "Avoid anything that suggests anything sexual in lieu of the word 'great,'" he said.
On a similar note, the holiday party is usually not the time to confess your office crush.
"Don't use the holiday party as an excuse to share your intimate feelings with a colleague," said TopResume career advice expert Amanda Augustine.
Basically, don't forget that you're still at work.
3. 'Can I drive you home?'
If you and your coworkers have been drinking, it's important to make sure your coworkers are safe to drive. However, if you're not sure about a colleague's level of intoxication, you don't want to sound overbearing or off putting.
"Instead, try, 'I hate driving home after a party, don't you? Let's call it a night and call an Uber,'" said "All the Leader You Can Be" author Suzanne Bates."If alcohol is served, the one thing you don't want to say is 'Can I drive you home?'"
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