Christmas Inhibitions


Judgements abound at Christmas and especially the workplace party – or social parties (not the same thing, albeit they are described as that).

Apparently, we should (still) be on best business-like behaviour whilst letting your hair down.  How is that one and the same ever?  Being more relaxed – again, if you are on guard about what you say, what others say and how you will be perceived after the event is hardly conducive to a ‘party’ situation.

I often wonder about those judging and what they judge against…

Their standards?  Are they so good that everyone should adopt them?

Fear of letting themselves go even just a little, having a drink, a laugh, making a faux pas?

Their own perception of what should and ought to be including themselves, that they are actually achieving this?

The problem is, the feedback is often behind your back!  Only if ‘a friend’ lets you know what’s being said and does it for the right reasons – feedback to avoid this in future and help to learn how you might – is good enough.

Otherwise, if there is something to say re the business/organisation, then someone in authority (your boss) should be advising you on the expectations, that you overstepped the mark and how to correct that in future.   Not gossip behind your back (you learn nothing but insecurity and mistrust), not criticism without helpful insights, not misjudged judgements about someone else who you really know very little about.

I let my hair down more or less all the time.  Yes, drink allows me to do that even more!  But I don’t misbehave by my standards (I am flexible, circumstances matter, people’s feeling matter more – mine included) and I am always, anyway, ‘down to earth’ and genuine.  What you see is what you get;  why be anything other than that?  The rest is unreal, unmanageable longer term and pointless – being judged on something or someone you are not is never going to sustain your personal goals really is it?

You are living a lie at worst, living as someone else which is a strain and people buy from people like them – but are you really like them?  Do you want to be?

The Christmas party season is the one where inhibitions are let go and rest & relaxation are available after a heavy year of pressure; but even now, you can’t let go.  You are judged for not attending the said ‘office do’ because you don’t want to be false or it become too anxiety-inducing with social anxiety (i.e. judgements on behaviour, expectations that can’t be met) and keeping up appearances to year end!   That goes too with the family visits, special meals, decorations, presents of value (whose value?) and ‘having to do’ so many things you resent, fear or can’t manage practically, emotionally, financially!

What is it all about really?

If I can’t be myself, why bother?

Do you want to be you and accepted as yourself? Are you? Do you?

The choice is yours after all …


Further Reading:

The Guardian article – Christmas Party Regrets

Christians have worked hard to divert the festival away from its true meaning by loading it with animals, babies, wisdom and salvation. Originally, it was a carnival, in the anthropological not the fairground sense: a pressure valve for the constraints of daily life, a time-limited period of raging misrule, in which all hierarchies and duties were suspended.

Those roots are the ones that run deepest in our collective psyches, the expression of which is drinking and taboo-breaking. Nobody wants to break a taboo on Christmas Day, when taboos and Baileys are the only things keeping it all together. It is only fun to break stuff in public. Being drunk and over-stepping the line are related, but not casually: everyone assumes afterwards that the inappropriate thing happened because a given person had dropped their inhibitions.

Taking as read that it is in the DNA of the Christmas party to be a big sack of regrets waiting to happen, there are signals that it is going to be worse than that – career-endingly worse – which cluster into the following categories”