In work, you don’t really need conversations. After all, you’ve got work to do.
But what about at the office Christmas do, when you’re primary purpose for being there is to have a good time?
When the first awkward silence comes along, you’ve got no spreadsheets to retreat to. You’re going to have to strike up conversation with Gary from HR who is more obsessed with UFC than any sensible grown-up should be.
Don’t worry. We’ve got your back.
Now it’s blistering cold outside, the weather is going to create absolute carnage for us Brits. Delays, cancelled trains due to “wet weather” and roads closed are far too familiar. So what do we do when we finally get away from it?
Yep, that’s right, we spend at least three hours talking about it. When Bill from IT arrives with his coat completely drenched, just ask, “What’s it like out there?” and await his exaggerated explanation.
“The wind nearly blew me away” he’ll say following a loud tut. Chances are, he’ll continue to give you a whole story about how the traffic has been a “bloody nightmare” and that the queue on the motorway was about “50 miles long”.
The Christmas break
This is the part where you pretend to have loads of interesting plans. Even if you’ll be watching NetFlix in bed whilst wearing five layers of socks, make something up. You’ll probably get a few interesting answers from the group.
However, you’ll soon regret asking Brenda when she goes into full detail about her Lake District getaway plans with her husband. Having seen his photos on her desk you know the thought of him taking out his dentures for a special moment isn’t one you’ll want to linger on too long.
Outfits of choice
Since you’ve been studying your colleagues from afar all year, you should be about to decode everything. If Linda from accounts walks in and people comment on her “interesting” dress, you know it’s not good.
Try and give genuine compliments, even if it’s difficult to think up of reasons why you like Jim’s choice of musical Christmas tie. People will appreciate your efforts and might return the favour.
Stay away from debates surrounding politics and religion, because you’ll probably get someone hot and bothered. Instead, try and talk about TV, film and music. Even if you believe it’s absolute rubbish, try and join in on some sort of trending topic, such as the X Factor Finals or I’m a Celeb.
You will grab people’s interest, but try to change the subject as quick as possible. This way, you won’t have to listen to the endless discussion about Spencer’s suspicious muscles. If you don’t make the effort at all, you’ll soon be as bored as a Chelsea fan at Stamford Bridge.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to bond with someone over the love of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. If you can spare a couple of quid, ask them if they want a cocktail with the hope they’ll politely decline.
This will show that you’re friendly yet you won’t spend a penny. Who knows, it might get the conversation going. If it doesn’t… well, the unappreciative sod didn’t deserve the gesture anyway.
Many of these conversation topics are hit and miss depending on the person. Do you want to help break the ice without having to make all the effort? Pluck up the courage and suggest to your boss that an ace Christmas Party at Revolution will suit everyone’s taste.
Or, you could book a cocktail masterclass that will help the colleagues join in with the booze-filled fun and get everyone chin-wagging.