Are you the kind of person who would rather miss a bus, train or even a plane to avoid making small talk with a colleague you’ve bumped into?
You’re not alone if you dread awkward encounters.
As much fun as can be had on free booze, Christmas parties can also be very awkward affairs, especially if your work environment doesn’t have many social events.
Some people even converse for the first time at the annual festive shindig.
So rather than ask them who the hell they are (or forget their name and then get too embarrassed to ask them again), here are some universal icebreakers that you can break out.*
*Only to never talk to them until the next Christmas party.
Not sure if you’ve noticed but there’s a whole lot of political kerfuffle going on at the minute. With that General Election we just had, we’re sure there’s plenty to talk about.
Some parties might envoke a ‘no politics’ rule, so just be careful of wading too deep into your political views.
Keep this chat to the early part of the night, before too much alcohol has been consumed, lest you get into a fight. Let’s not forget that Christmas parties have consequences.
The thing that’s bought you together; a time of great merriment, eating your body weight in chocolate and getting very very drunk.
It’s a magical time where all of the above is reasonable everyday behaviour. At any lull in any conversation, you can bring this bad boy up and instantly everyone has thoughts, whether it’s about the last-minute shopping, how much more joyous childhood Christmasses were, or, for the fun sponges, consumerism.
Talking to your boss or other higher-ups? It might be time to put your best foot forward and make yourself known in a good way, while everyone’s in a bubbly mood.
Perhaps mention a project or story you’ve worked on or a person you helped.
You can always use the topic of work as an in before you move on to the fun stuff. After all, it’s common ground.
If something happened to you that you wanted to tweet about then chances are you find it interesting. Social media is a great springboard for discussion.
Either bring up something you saw on a colleague’s Instagram Story or something you put out into the ether.
Maybe a time you were hiking in the foothills of Mount Tibidabo?*
*Yes this is a pick-up line from Friends, only use this if you’re trying to hook up with someone (and maybe not even then, because that has consequences too).
There are only two types of people in the world: Those who’ve watched Game of Thrones and those who have a life.
Definitely don’t lead with something as controversial and brave as that last statement, but nothing brings TV fanatics together like a common show interest. This is a good time to collect recommendations and go on about that thing you just couldn’t stop bingeing.
Yes, Christmas parties are a time of great enjoyment but they’re also attended by people you spend a lot of time with who may not be from the same walk of life as you.
This might be a good time to chat and more importantly listen to someone with a different lived experience from you, especially if that difference colours their experience of the workplace.
Not all your colleagues may be up for drinking, for example – instead of badgering them about how they can have fun without drinking, why not chat to them about what that’s like?
Or better yet, share a Pepsi with them, if you’re not too tempted by free bevvies.
Something interesting you read
Preferably something on Metro.co.uk, from our unbiased opinion. Whether it be on social media, in print or online, articles, long-reads, and research can inspire many a discussion.
Memes/viral content/Tik Tok
On that note, viral tweets and/or memes are often hilarious. In fact, a common meme interest might signal a similar sense of humour which is a prerequisite of a friendship.
Or show them your favourite Tik-Tok video. They don’t know what that is? Explain to them what ‘ok boomer’ means.
By the end of the night, you could be saying ‘hey look at us, who would’ve thought? Not me.’
Or you might even end up doing the triangle dance.
If Instagram bios are anything to go bio, everyone’s a foodie. Why not mention the, hopefully, great spread you just ate? Or what you’re preparing for the big day?
Or literally anything to do with food. Everyone eats.
Perhaps you’re doing veganuary? Chat to someone who’s done it or is a full-time vegan.
What was on your Spotify Wrapped? What on earth is ‘Pop Rock?’ So many questions. This is a great topic no matter who the audience and is often the only time everyone thinks their taste is superior.
Slightly more niche but drink has the effect of making one find entertainment in the weirdest of things. Sit down with a work bud and discuss whether Avril Lavigne is actually dead, or if Stevie Wonder is really blind. Or if you want to get deep: the moon landing.
Don’t become that conspiracy guy though.
Did you just loooove that childhood fave album you got? Chances are you’re standing with the person who gave it to you. Make them feel appreciated, say you loved it.
And if you didn’t, then just let it collect dust like all the other presents you’re either going to regift or eventually throw away.
So there you have it, all the topics you need to become a conversational wizard.
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