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Sticky Situation: Surviving the Holiday Office Party

11/27/2013 12:25 EST | Updated 01/27/2014 05:59 EST

Sticky situation:

Pop quiz!

What percentage of holiday office partygoers have seen that guy or that girl do something that he or she regretted the morning after?

The annual Caron Treatment Centers survey says: when the truth serum flows freely, 60 per cent of employees will witness sticky and maybe even illegal holiday office party situations.

So, what is one to do when the scene unfolds during one's jolly get together?

Foremost, have your own party manners in check with these top five tips:

1. Make safe ride arrangements ahead of time.

2. Avoid being light headed. Eat a little something before. Don't drink past your tipping point. Alternate drinks with a glass of water.

3. Spread good cheer and mingle with a PG-13 rating in mind. Dancing to Gangnam Style is OK, while twerking is not.

4. Dress with festive flair, as if #1 Client was attending the celebration. I recommend the Tristan holiday collection.

5. Don't even think of calling in sick the day after.

Solutions:

1. A colleague shares TMI (Too Much Information).

Keep calm and prepare for a smooth exit. Even if this is your company rival, resist the temptation to find out all the juicy details. Don't show interest, lean in or offer sympathy. The inebriated employee is most likely not aware that he is crossing from the professional to the personal line. He may not even remember doing so the day after. Politely excuse yourself and forget about everything you just heard.

If the sharer is a close colleague, mention that this is uncomfortable, if you have to, to make him stop sharing, say that what you are hearing may impact your work relationship. Redirect the conversation to your usual comfort zone with holiday plans.

2. A colleague has a loose tongue and is repeatedly swearing.

Disrespectful language and jokes are never appropriate. Granted there are company cultures where the rare 'F' bomb is tolerated. You know what is acceptable in your work world.

When you are uncomfortable with foul language brought on by alcohol consumption accompanied by less than coherent sentences, take these behaviours as your cues to move on.

The general mingling merrily time at a work event is on average a polite 10 minutes per person.

When you are ready to leave, smile, shake hands, exchange holiday wishes and exit. Don't make up excuses for departing and don't say that you're going to freshen up. Why? You may be caught in the act of not doing what you said you would and, you could have someone accompanying you to the buffet, the bar and yes, some will even follow you to the restroom to continue chatting stall-to-stall.

3. You see two colleagues lovingly kiss in a darkened corner.

Move on to share a cheer elsewhere with others, even if they are breaching a company policy. The only people that can intervene are a superior or someone from HR. They, those in authority, will probably prefer and would be wise, to wait until the day after to deal with the lovebirds. For the others, this is none of your business. Delete the scene and professionally carry on.

4. You witness a drunk party-goer getting ready to drive.

Don't let it happen. Don't let a co-worker drink and drive.

If you are close to this colleague, take him away from the group and speak to him one-on-one to make safe ride home arrangements: call a cab, their loved one, Operation Red Nose or drop them off if you can safely drive.

If you do not know this employee very well involve the event's coordinator or the personnel of the venue.

5. You witness someone arguing or becoming aggressive with a colleague.

Even if you do know this employee well, it is best to stay away. You don't want to be caught in the middle. Instead seek the support of the venue's staff.

Whatever you do, remember that whatever happens at the holiday office party, does not stay at the holiday office party. Act and talk as if the whole affair was a TV reality show that will be viewed tomorrow morning by all, including Big Boss.

Have a holiday Sticky Situation at work or home yourself? This is your forum and your chance to enlighten others just like you. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more Solutions to Sticky Situations? Like her fan page on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or read Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility, now available for pre-order. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast to present customized activities.

How To Enjoy Your Office Holiday Party -- Stress Free!