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How to Avoid a Bad Interoffice or Diplomatic Party

April 22, 2006   

An embassy recently offered me a summer internship. My current boss’s response (after making fun of the country) was, "well surely you will be invited to all sorts of interoffice and diplomatic parties," and he immediately began teaching me how to artfully escape the disaster parties. Other members of the office chimed in, and eventually I had four people sharing key advice on how to escape a bad professional party situation. I will now share this with you, in case you ever find yourself in such a position.

  1. Never bring a coat. "They will take your coat, hide it in the closet or a bedroom, and then your chances for silently slipping away are obliterated." Asking for your coat draws attention to the fact that you wish to leave early.
  2. Stand near the door. This greatly reduces your chances of obstruction, and of having to talk congenially with people on your way out.
  3. Be on a mission. If you look around furtively as you’re leaving, chances are you will make eye contact with someone who will either a) want to strike up a conversation or b) think you’re a jerk for leaving early.
  4. If a guy in the office has a band, don’t go, or at least make sure the band will play AFTER the food is served. That way you can still reap the benefits of delicious food without suffering through the band. "The only word I can use to describe listening to Bob’s band is 'agony'," said a coworker.
  5. Never let the guy with the band plan the office party, because his band will play. See above.

 The State Department teaches me more than I ever thought I would learn. I look forward to testing these theories and contingency plans this summer.