Yikes! Holiday Social Pitfalls You Gotta Avoid!
Tis the season -- for office party snafus and gift-giving disasters! But you can avoid the common pitfalls of Christmas -- or at least talk your way out of them! Read on
Sticky Situation #1: A pal gives you a gift -- but you're empty-handed.
"Don't make things more awkward by stammering that her gift is on its way,' which sounds insincere," says Westchester County, N.Y.-based etiquette consultant Melissa Leonard. "People don't solely give to get back, so you shouldn't feel obligated to reciprocate." Instead, try a simple, "Thank you so much!" Then send a thank-you card no more than two days later. And consider buying a few $5 gift cards at a popular coffee shop -- you'll have small (and kind) gestures ready the next time you're surprised by an unexpected gift.
Sticky Situation #2: At an office holiday party, someone asks, "So, are you ever going to get remarried?"
"Company parties are ripe for social blunders," says Leonard. "People often let down their guard, forgetting that they're still -- technically -- in a work environment." So you'll need to tread lightly here. If the question comes from your boss, maybe you should just bite your tongue. But if it comes from a co-worker, try this comeback: "But if I do, my married friends will have no one to live through vicariously!" Or you could simply say: "Why do you ask?" That might make the asker realize how out of line the question is. But you don't always need a snappy reply to let someone know he offended you. "Ouch, that hurt!" will do the trick.
Next page: Regifting gone wrong and more