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What your colleagues do at office parties

16 May 2016, 20:25 Dorothy Black

Okay. I’m going to offer you some info to use or lose at this time of year, but I believe it can save you some time in the new year: Year-end office parties are a relationship status litmus test.

Sure there are high fives and back pats for Joe from marketing.

But if you want to determine how tight a couple really is or how committed they are to each other, just see how they respond individually to the high-pressure release valve of liquor, year-end jollity and sexual tension.

As a casual observer, I’ve noticed that if you pay attention, you get a real snapshot of the health of your colleagues’ love connections.

Take Jennifer, for instance. We worked together for four years and over the course of those four years, the slow deterioration of her relationship became clear with each office party.

She went from ‘Oh X is joining us at 10 [this was the time the +1s could join] and I can’t WAIT for you all to meet him’ in the first year, to ‘Yeah, whatever, I’ll taxi it.'

At least I don’t have to deal with his shit if I stay out later than 12’ in the last. Unsurprisingly, they’re not together anymore.

Then there was Amy.

Amy had a fiancé of about seven years who she managed to convince each year that there was no real +1 option and that she preferred to hang out with ‘the girls’.

One of ‘the girls’ happened to be her ‘office husband’ and long-term flirt, Simon from design. They spent each office party wrapping their mouths around each other’s faces. I don’t think her actual fiancé ever figured that out, but they’re still not married.


But it’s not just the flirts or eye rolls that happen when the +1s aren’t present. Sometimes it’s even more intense when they are.

Like the boss that’s been hitting on you for a year and then introduces you to his wife, who spends the evening trailing him (even though he never touches her) and looking awkward when he makes jokes about boobs and raises to the head of HR.

Or the lost-fart, very sober hubbie who hangs out at the drinks table, planning an exit strategy that won’t involve too much shouting, while his wife practices her stripper moves on the dance floor with the intern.

Good times.

Look, I use this office party litmus test business as a casual observer. I’ve never attended an office party while involved.

When I was still working full-time, I was more the huddle in the corner and ‘unpack the feels with colleagues’ type. (Fun as long as you’re with people ‘on your level’, by the way, but utterly terrifying for your hangover when it’s with upper management.)

But I reckon this gives me an unbiased take on the phenomenon.

And it’s real.

Keep your eyeballs peeled at this year’s function – even if that means checking out your own party vibes with your +1 – and you’ll see.

More on Dorothy Black:

The monster in your bedroom

Does he really love you?

What is a sex fast and should you try it?

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- Women24


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