Christmas parties have a way of revealing aspects of your office mates’ personalities you rarely see when you’re in work mode. This means that as much as these events foster camaraderie, there will often also be that bad egg who goes around and ruins things. Well, maybe he or she doesn’t ruin things precisely, but certainly make them awkward for everyone else.
Check out our list of annoying office mates and see if one or two seem familiar. Maybe you can even put a name and face to one of these profiles! We’ve also listed tips on avoiding becoming these people yourself as well as how to handle them.
1. “Hunger Games” (AKA Patay-Gutom)
If you aren’t following current movie hits, The Hunger Games is a trilogy based on a young adult fiction series about teenagers killing each other to bring their “district” (hometown) ample food supply. Your “Hunger Games” office mate more or less goes by the same philosophy: get to the munchies before everyone else. He or she doesn’t care if there are others who haven’t eaten yet as long as he or she has. This person oftentimes requests for “pabalot” even after gorging on half of the buffet table, which unfortunately tags him or her with the less than flattering nickname of “PG” or “Patay-Gutom.”
If you’ve got one of these at your table, make a point of asking other members of the table what dishes you can pass them early on, if you’re eating family style. If someone asks to take food home, have all the people at the party confirm that they have eaten their fill or if some needs to be set aside for latecomers.
For your part, it’s easy to avoid becoming Ms. “Hunger Games”: simply have the courtesy of getting just enough food for yourself so that others may also enjoy the spread.
2. The Killjoy
The Killjoy is your office mate who never wants to be with the rest of the team—but also seems to imply that the team shouldn’t have the right to have fun without him or her. He or she always declines invitations to lunch or dinner (often with disapproving looks or side comments about fraternizing outside the office or taking long meal breaks when people should be working). If forced to go to a corporate function like your yearly Christmas party, he or she leaves early or just sits and mopes in one corner. The Killjoy is allergic to fun, and in turn spoils the fun of others.
When someone seems particularly grumpy about having been “dragged along” to an office outing, one thing you can do is work on cheering him or her up. Maybe something happened that has just gotten him or her down, and what’s needed is an ear and a shoulder to cry on. Or if your office mate is always like this, you may want to consider having a little heart-to-heart, even if it means taking the tough-love approach.
To avoid being the Killjoy, learn pakikisama, or how to get along with others. If for some reason the party has caught you in a foul mood, make sure not to transfer those nega-vibes to your friends. Leave work at work—even when in the company of the people you work with.
3. The Chismoso/Chismosa
Let’s admit it—at one point or another, we’ve all tattled on someone else, but this gossip monger takes things a notch higher. The Chismoso/Chismosa never seems to run out of stories, no matter how untrue and unbelievable they are. They always have someone to talk about, and while he or she is telling you about how so-and-so did this-or-that, The Chismoso/Chismosa is probably scanning the room for other stories he or she can exaggerate about. Worse, you might find yourself worrying that anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of your peers, simply because the Chismoso/Chismosa has taken your words out of context or repeated them to the wrong person.
The best way to deal with a gossip is to avoid reacting to the gossip you’re told (since most often the goal behind sharing gossip is to titillate or scandalize someone). If the comments get too negative, why not remind everyone that it’s a season for cheer and forgiveness?
If you don’t want to be known as this kind of person, then don’t talk ill of other people. If you hear gossip, let it stop with you. A good story isn’t so bad once in a while, but when it’s something that can hurt other people, don’t let it propagate. As the saying goes “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
4. Mr. or Ms. Feeling Close
The “Feeling Close” office mate is that person from who for some reason thinks that you’re best friends (or even more). He or she has probably given you a hug or a beso as you arrived at the party, leaving you to awkwardly reciprocate even though the two of you haven’t really interacted on a personal level. Maybe you’re not even close professionally—for example, if he or she is not even part of your team, but acts like he or she is anyway. Mr./Ms. Feeling Close has a very nasty habit of butting in conversations, using your things without asking, and even assuming that it’s okay for him or her to ride with you on your way home.
Not sure how to deal with someone like this? Don’t go out of your way to make him or her feel bad, and if it doesn’t inconvenience you to accommodate him or her (for example, if she wants to catch a ride home and you live in the same area), why not do it? It’s Christmas after all. If touchy-feely moments make you uncomfortable, don’t make a show of it; just quietly and calmly step back or to the side, putting some distance between you.
The key to avoid being “Feeling Close” is to respect other people’s personal space. Know your boundaries and never think that it’s okay to overstep them, even when you and your team are tight.
5. The Limelight-Hugger (AKA KSP)
There’s a difference between being the life of the party and being KSP (kulang sa pansin), and unfortunately, the Limelight-Hugger is the latter. He or she often pulls strange antics just to get noticed and oftentimes has a voice that can be heard clear across town. At your Christmas get-together, he or she will probably try to hijack the program, not to mention the microphone, in order to showcase his or her awesomeness. This may also culminate in his or her getting dead drunk, forcing you and your team to play “maalis-taya” to pick the poor soul responsible for taking him or her home.
The thing about Limelight-Huggers is that they almost never do it on purpose, so if one of your office mates turns out to be like this at your party, it’s easy enough to shout out a reminder to give others a chance at the mic or on stage. You could also make sure you give him or her a job to do, like introducing each person as they have a go at karaoke.
If you don’t want to be known as the resident epal, then understand that the party isn’t about you: it’s about you and your office mates celebrating another holiday season together. Don’t hog the limelight, and let others have the fun that they deserve.
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Charlene works for a popular greeting card company, hoping that what she writes makes some big, burly man somewhere cry. She's into MMA, and when she's not watching armbars on YouTube, she also writes for a tech blog or naps with her cat.