How To Avoid Boring Office Christmas Parties

Dear Agony Uncle,

I find the Christmas season to be quite awkward. I’m invited to numerous functions with colleagues; most of whom are vapid, none of whom I particularly like nor want to spread any good cheer with. Given that non-attendance is frowned upon, what excuses can I use to avoid being trapped with drunken colleagues for hours on weekday afternoons as they lament their boring, suburban lives?

Christmas Snob

Dear Christmas Snob,

Work functions are those much-dreaded, frequently tolerated occasions that we all must participate in from time to time. Between the official working hours, you can take solace in the thought that your bank balance will increase every minute you spend there, however, with official extracurricular events you’re not even paid to spend time with those you normally wouldn’t. Listening to Tracey from Payroll’s tales of teething issues and dry nipples are about as much fun as a mammogram with mastitis, not least when they’re slurred as she clutches her warm glass of sauvignon blanc as she corners you or anyone else who’ll indulge her at the end of the bar. It’s the one moment when grabbing an armchair, defenestrating it and make a break for it sounds like common sense.

Of course, some might say that these events are important for career development with many scaling the corporate ladder over company-sanctioned booze and finger food. Others would argue that mixing business and displeasure can be career suicide. No matter your view, both require patience and at the very least a minor painkiller to tolerate their duration. Or a darn good excuse to avoid them.

Believable excuses are made from the banal, rather than the sensationalist. While saying you’re taking French classes might sound like a good evening occupation, it might come unstuck when a colleague propounds their views on French classical literature and tests your knowledge of the tongue. Instead, arrange your diary so that possible evenings have prior engagements, even if those dates are with your sofa. Fortunately, it is the busiest time of the year and being booked out a month in advance is entirely plausible and your non-attendance should be free of scrutiny. Attend the bare minimum and you won’t look like a grinch and enjoy the attention when everyone clings onto every word of your fascinating and fabulous life.

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