Though the office Christmas party may move venue and bring new faces every year, the personalities of those invited never change, according to new research.
Experts claim exactly 10 party ‘characters’ are present at every single staff party regardless of where it is, which industry throws the bash or how many people attend.
The classic office party, will follow an almost formulaic pattern, according to a study by national bar chain Browns.
Which Christmas party character are you? Comment below
The Dark Horse
Quiet as a mouse all year round this pinstriped staff member suddenly, frighteningly finds their outrageous inner self at the Christmas party. While they wouldn’t say boo to a goose in normal office hours they suddenly think it is perfectly acceptable to go round helping themselves to colleagues drinks and dancing inappropriately close to members of the opposite sex. They’re also likely to announce that they used to be lead singer in a death metal band once they’d quit their job as a dancer at a seedy revue bar. Often to be found working the floor in tandem with The Flirt.
They’ve been the picture of discretion all year, hiding their simmering discontent at not getting that pay-rise or failing in that promotion behind a façade of normality. But once the festive spirit takes them, their lips become loose and they begin to announce, at an inconsidered and raised volume, how rubbish it is working at their company. They also suddenly find it impossible to maintain company secrets or private disclosures. Nothing is out of bounds and, before the end of the evening, any confidential company business is suddenly common knowledge among the entire workforce. Often found at the root of any Christmas party squabbles.
You’ve had your suspicions about this staff member all year and, as the Christmas party celebrations start to unfold, they confirm your worst fears – they’ve made you the target of their inappropriate advances for the duration of the evening. They start off the night pleasantly enough – innocently offering to buy you a drink - but then suddenly turn, shunning every other member of staff and focus their attention solely on you (or a particularly inappropriate part of your body). They make lewd suggestions almost as an after-thought, sit uncomfortably close to you and growl at other members of their sex who have the misfortune of straying innocently into your vicinity throughout the evening.
This man or woman is the office Christmas party evangelist. They help round up the troops in advance of the annual bash and make wild promises of incredible party feats and promises of being the last-man or woman standing at the after-party shindig. Unfortunately, they are then found just 90 minutes into the festive bash, candle well and truly burnt at both ends, snoozing quietly in the corner.
Often best-friends with the Peak-too-sooner and the Organiser, the Houdini seems well up for plenty of festive frolics in the lead-up to the staff Christmas do. They often go as far as helping organise venues for the hardy party animals to go to after the main event has subsided. Unfortunately, this party ‘type’ is usually never around when the après-party begins, having sloped off home for an early-night and a mug of Horlicks discreetly while the rest of the workforce is still in full-party mode. Usually in their early 30s and often a new parent or horribly infatuated with their lover.
You can easily spot this s(h)elfish staff member at the Christmas party because they are irremovably welded to the side of their departmental boss. They’ll be the one heartily laughing at their boss’s awful jokes, cooing cringefully at their boss’s development plan and happily skipping off to the bar and buying their boss drinks all night out of their own pocket. hey’ll also be the one left looking heartbroken as their boss exits the party early without hearing their full 14-part eulogy to their boss’s greatness, written in staggering techni-coloured fawning detail (in their own blood). Often to be found, at the end of the night, in the toilets, attempting to outcry The Weeper.
The staff member who steadfastly, resolutely refuses to leave their personal problems at the door to the Christmas party venue. They wear their heart on their sleeve and spread their misty-eyed romantic delusions of love through snotty tear-stained tissues thrust into the clammy hands of colleagues unfortunate enough to aimlessly wander into the toilets while The Weeper is mid-shriek over the untimely ending of their torrid love affair with Tommy, the butcher’s son. They cry so much and so often at Christmas parties that The Organiser has stopped booking them a seat at the annual dinner table and has simply arranged for them to be hooked up to the water mains in order to replenish lost hydration.
This dancer will bust all manner of old-skool moves at the office party. Thought you’d seen the last of the hand-jive? Oh no you haven’t. And you’ve never ever seen anyone attempt that backflip into a John Travolta strut before. This staff member will not vacate the dance floor – tonight it is their personal stage and the masses of open-mouthed colleagues sitting around the vicinity of the dance floor are their greatest audience. Also available for christenings, bah mitzvahs and evening wedding receptions.
Woe betide anyone who decides to change their Christmas dinner choice at the staff party or bemoans the quality of the venue, The Organiser will be firmly, angrily on your case. This diminutive staff member has spent years scaring the pants off the biggest characters in the staff canteen, honing their withering Paddington stare to perfection. They have a list of everything (including other lists) and have arranged the staff party with military precision. No matter you have just ordered a full round of drinks for you and your colleagues, if The Organiser says it is time to move on, you move on. No argument, you shuffle into the dining room and leave your drinks behind (they’re banned from this room because The Organiser has arranged special Christmas cocktails to be served).
Usually a friend (or lover) of a staff member, The Gatecrasher has already been out on their own staff party at a venue across town earlier in the evening. They turn up at yours, risking the wrath of The Organiser and invite themselves to share the paid-for after-dinner activities. Convinced that they have injected new life into your they’ll be so sure of their ‘legend’ status they’ll even try and cheer up The Weeper before attempting to solve world famine, challenge The Dancer to a Step Up-style dance-off and demand that your boss tell them exactly what it is like being a PA.
Browns’ spokesman Paul Hulyer said: “We’ve been hosting Christmas staff parties for nearly 40 years at Browns and despite the changing fads and fashions, we’ve seen just about everything in that time.
“The faces may change as quickly as the music at these staff parties but one thing is constant – the 10 staff party characters who are present.
“Never is that more obvious than at the annual staff Christmas party. These character traits seem common at every staff party we’ve hosted since we were established in the 1970s.
“We reckon everyone can name someone who fits each of these categories our experts have devised.”
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Line Your Stomach
Drinking on an empty stomach is the root of all evils. If you're heading to the party straight from work, have a late lunch or snacks beforehand to soak up the drinks you will be necking later on. Also, take advantage of any food or canapés available at the party.
It's easy to stick to who you know when it comes to mingling, but if you huddle in a corner chatting to your work pals the whole night, you might be seen as unapproachable by your co-workers. Mingle with everyone, just don't get too cosy.
Beware Of The Booze Traps
Festive-sounding cocktails, shots and drinking games may sound like a hilarious idea at first but when your head starts feeling fuzzy and your words begin to slur, the only joke will be on you. Rule of thumb - for every alcoholic drink you have, drink a glass of water. Also, know your limit - if you wouldn't sink 10 'Jäger Bombs' on a normal night out, so don't do it at the Christmas do.
Avoid having a drunken gossip in the toilets, revealing your pet hates about a certain colleague or undying love for your married boss. There will always be someone more sober than you who will remember your words of hatred or your secret crush revelation the next morning. This also applies when you think it's a genius idea to ask your boss for a pay rise while half-cut. It may seem like the perfect opportunity when you've got your beer goggles on, but in reality, it'll make you look unprofessional.
Beware Of Happy Snappers
It might seem like a good idea to show your bra or flash your bum at the camera but remember, it's more than likely that those snaps will surface somewhere in your office or on Facebook, and will most definitely come back to haunt you. You don't want to be known as "bra girl"/"bum guy", so think before you pose for the camera...
If you're single and ready to mingle, think before you point that mistletoe, because stumbling towards your object of affection wrapped in tinsel, wearing one shoe is never attractive. Thousands of Brits meet their partner at work but a third of them have affairs with co-workers, so steer clear of a Jerry Springer-style showdown in the office and stay away from married and attached colleagues.
Check The Dress Code
Turning up to a black-tie soirée dressed as Santa's little elf is never a clever idea. Dress as yourself with a little bit of Christmas sparkle and adhere to a dress code if there is one. Novelty fancy dress is always fun, but rocking up wearing a Borat 'Mankini' or 'Slutty Santa' outfit won't do you any favours.
Pre-Plan Your Journey Home
Make sure you've made plans to get home beforehand. You don't want to be swaying by the kerb at 3am, waving a kebab while trying to flag down a cab. Book your cab from the venue in advance.