Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · ~10 ·

Geoff blog
With the office Christmas party season now in full swing, how do you survive the festive season without a communication mishap?

With the office Christmas party season now in full swing, how do you survive the festive season without a communication mishap?


The office Christmas party is fraught with perils usually due to the over-consumption of alcohol. There is the danger of having had too much to drink and telling your boss that you hate them or posting inappropriate ‘selfies’ of you at the party all over social media and texting your hot colleague or partner with innuendos.

Now, a survey of more than 1000 UK workers and managers by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) reveals which misdemeanours at the Christmas party cause the greatest unease when you return to the office.

So what are the consequences of the office Christmas party and what should you watch out for? The ILM survey found:

• Almost 9 out of 10 workers (87%) have seen colleagues drink too much

• 48% have gone to work with a hangover after their office party

• 28% have heard staff revealing their colleagues’ secrets

Every so often we get to partying and we end up having a couple more drinks than we planned. As adults, we get to the point where we know how to drink responsibly, but like they say, “I didn’t go looking for trouble, trouble found me.” When that trouble is in the form of an adult beverage, it can quickly lead to embarrassing moments. Whether it’s your office party, birthday, or you just got a little too far ahead of yourself before dinner, it happens. Of course, you know what happens next… you take out your phone and get to texting.

Everyone has either received them or sent them … some of them are funny and some of them are just down right annoying! So, when is enough, especially when you are dating someone?

Research has shown that age comes into play with this; if you are in your low twenties, then this will happen more often than not with apps like What’s App, Snap Chat, BBM etc. But, if you are closer to thirty or over thirty, that is when you start to scratch your head and think, “Really?”

In a recent blog ‘What is Happiness’ I mentioned that in terms of relationships and happiness at home, according to a new Brigham Young University study published by researchers Lori Schade and Jonathan Sandberg, romantic couples who text each other with confirming messages (“How are you?” “How’s it going?” “I miss you!” “I feel tingly just thinking about you!!!”) tend to experience greater relationship satisfaction. Confirming messages are best conveyed with an emotional dimension – communicating essentially: “I care about you,” and “You’re important in my life.” In fact, sending affectionate messages to one’s partner yield even greater emotional satisfaction than receiving them.

On the other hand, couples who rely on texting for conflict resolution tend to experience lower relationship satisfaction. When texting, vital verbal, non-verbal and emotional cues are invariably missed, which can severely limit a couple’s ability to reconcile.

There is a latin phrase which is often continued as, “In vino veritas, in aqua sanitas“, i.e., “In wine there is truth, in water there is health.”

But is there truth is drunkenness as a state of condition or mind?

According to Bruce Bartholow, author of Alcohol Effects on Performance Monitoring and Adjustment: Affect Modulation and Impairment of Evaluative Cognitive Control, alcohol does not make you behave badly, it just makes you care less.

For all of you trying to apologise or rectify some misspoken words, the excuse, “I was drunk, I didn’t mean it I am sorry for being stupid” does not cut it anymore.

Bartholow, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science, concluded that alcohol dulls the brain’s “alarm signal” that warns you when you are making a mistake. These dulled warnings are what lead to the loss of self-control we often regret after one too many.

If you think back to that moment you were saying all those things you wish you could take back (if you can remember them, of course), wasn’t there a part of you that knew what you were saying? Only, at that moment, you didn’t care about how much it was going to hurt the other person … or you.

Is drinking all about a whirling, tumbling gamble of life? We throw away all our inhibitions and knowingly drown ourselves in a liquid that, at certain levels, is poisonous enough to kill us.

Another thing with drunk texting is that you have that alcohol courage helping you out. So not only have you sent that oh so important text message to declare your undying affection, but you have also sent a billion other text messages in a row that are pointless gibberish. And that will start to annoy anyone who is on the receiving end especially sober people. So because of all the other messages, the most important message you wanted to get across is lost on that person, because they are too busy counting how many text messages you have sent in one hour.

So the moral of the story ladies and gentleman is if you are drinking, please ask yourself over and over, if you really want to send that text message because once it is sent, you cannot take it back, possible best to switch the smart phone off and resume once in a sober state!​

As Phyllis Dille, American Actress, once said 'What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.'


Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #6

I so remember those days Jerry Fletcher and events, safety is key during and the event, but we still have emails and the danger of text messaging! As the old lating phase goes “In vino veritas, in aqua sanitas“

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #5

I agree Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier there is a balance that states you must give back to your employess and avoid certain limitatins but at the same time balance before stupidity starts to surface, interesting to see Canadian companies adopt a no staff office culture.

Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago #4

GEoff, As a veteran of the ad game in the Mad men days I can tell you that your last line is spot on for those days. As an agency CEO I stopped drinking in part because of the liability problems. We looked at ways to not have the party but finally found that we could hire a fleet of cabs to get everyone home in one piece. And so it goes

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #3

Many Canadian companies have scrapped the after hours office Christmas party because they are expensive and drinkers are a liability, both on the road and in mixed company. The best way to avoid law suits is to avoid creating the situations that cultivate them.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

4 years ago #2

Thanks Franci for your comments, so true. I have seen employees in action, it's surprising how alcohol can create so much office drama. Personally, I always had an excuse for another international trip around office parties, it was always the safer option. 
Worthy advice and love your last line - As Phyllis Dille, American Actress, once said 'What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.' I've witnessed this but never experienced it! Whew! One night of funning isn't worth a lifetime of shunning.

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