Tuesday, 3 December 2013

O Come All Ye Faithful? The 'I Run My Own Business & Work Alone' Corporate Christmas Party.....

In the coming weeks many of you will be attending your works Christmas party. Some will get so drunk they won't remember anything the next day - this may be for the best! Others will remember and wish they hadn't snogged their bosses dog in front of their new girlfriend. But what about those of us that work for ourselves, by ourselves?

I've had a tradition for the last three years of having my own 'Starfish Quay Christmas Party'. It usually consists of me having a nice meal, eating, drinking, reading, meeting people and wiggling my bottom to a catchy tune or two. People who know me, know this is not unusual for me - I'm happy to go for a meal alone, go out for a hot chocolate or bottle of wine with a good book and be perfectly content. To some of you this may sound sad, depressing even - especially at Christmas.

Many people feel that you need an “Approach me if your weird!” sign if you go out alone. I never decide on an outcome before I even get to my party.

Flying solo gives you the best chance to meet people. You always meet more people when you’re alone than when you’re with someone, even just a friend - and what are the chances they're all going to be weirdo's?

15 years of trial and error have lead me to these conclusions - though not always easy, they are always rewarding, even if it's just for a funny story to tell your friends!
  • Going out is a chance to shine. It's a chance to dress up and impress, not blend into the background.
  • Put your phone away! You start feeling awkward by yourself and take out your phone to text, read email, check the weather…shop for curtains, look at pictures of cats…As tempting as it is to text your mom or make sure there’s no urgent work emails coming through, you shouldn't use your phone as a crutch. If your on your phone, you look like you can't be bothered - you may as well not be there, it puts people off. How many people do you go and talk to when they're on their phone?
  • Become comfortable with your surroundings. I used to shrink into a corner, scared of making any sort of scene, but what about if I need the loo? Well, I didn't go! It doesn't really strike the right kind of tone if you're sat there with your legs crossed rocking your knees and sweating slightly from the effort....
  • Smile and make eye contact. People notice the person that looks amazing, friendly, warm and inviting, even when across the room.
  • People want to be friendly.
  • It's ok to hit on people. Yes, I know - that old one, but sometimes it needs saying! Don’t be afraid to start a conversation. It's all in the moment - make a comment about the song, or just introduce yourself. Talking at parties is not tennis. When you’re frantically trying to come up with something creative, you’re going to feel and sound awkward. Just smile and say, ‘Hi, I’m…’
  • Try not to just talk about yourself. Haven’t you heard? Everyone’s just a bit obsessed with themselves. Put your energy out to others, and you’ll draw people toward you. It makes you more open, more compassionate and more social.
  • The tricky one? Know your limits. Being social calls for social graces, so know your tolerance for alcohol. Even if you stop well short of falling-down drunk, your loud-and-obnoxious stage of inebriation won’t make you many friends. People are attracted to energy and confidence, but take it too far and you’ll repel rather than attract.
  • Have fun and leave when you're ready. It's nice to say goodbye to anyone you've connected with, maybe you can hang out again - but you don't need to apologise for leaving.
So that's my (very) rough guide book to going out alone and having a good time at your solo Christmas party - or any other time you want to go out alone but don't want to feel like the neighbourhood pariah.
Having said that, this year I'm taking a rain check on dancing the night away and I'm enjoying my Christmas party at home alone writing and working while enjoying Champagne, Smirnoff Gold, Red wine and a Croque Monsieur....I'm not looking forward to my spinning class first thing tomorrow!

Merry Christmas & Stay Safe :)

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