Take your office Christmas party and shove it.

officeparty
Get out of my face with your absurd fake smiles and stupid Santa hats.

So tomorrow night is the annual office Christmas party. I will not be attending. It’s not like I have some high level job where my presence is expected or necessary anyway. I doubt anyone will even notice my absence or care.

As an Aspie, I have never been able to tolerate the forced upbeat perkiness and all the small talk and chit chat about nothing in particular that abounds at these events. Too much social input coming in from all directions overwhelms my oddly wired brain, causing it to short circuit. I wind up in a state of near panic and to compensate, I become mute to avoid reading a social cue wrong and say something out of context that causes people to look at each other knowingly and roll their eyes at my social ineptness.

I feel like the old Saturday Night Live character Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, whose mantra was “your world frightens and confuses me.” The world of neurotypicals, a world of people who love to socialize in groups, attend parties and engage in small talk, has that effect on me.

yourworld

Whenever I’ve attended one of these things, I leave as exhausted as if I just spent the day digging holes in dry packed mud. Because I’m nearly silent at these events, people don’t even attempt to talk to me. More often that not, I wind up sitting there at the table alone, picking at my plate of stuffed mushrooms and baby carrots, feeling as self conscious and awkward as the school geek in a roomful of popular kids, because I can find no one to talk to and apparently no one really wants to talk to me either.

Small talk is utterly boring to me. Aspies tend to like “deep” talk, but I learned that serious, in depth conversations about things that matter is verboten at parties, especially office parties, where you are forced to spend an evening acting like people you probably wouldn’t give the time of day to if you didn’t have to work with them are your best friends. It’s all so fake and stupid to me.

I don’t get jokes a lot of the time, especially if they’re inside jokes that, because I don’t have close friends at work and am not part of a clique, I haven’t been filled in on the background that makes these jokes funny to others. It’s hard to laugh at a joke you don’t get. But you must laugh anyway so people don’t think you’re cold and unfriendly or worse, didn’t get the joke, which implies stupidity. But telling jokes is de rigeur for office Christmas parties.

The other thing that drives me crazy is everyone talking about their upcoming holiday plans. Most neurotypicals have lots of friends and love to talk about the gifts they are buying and the parties and other events they will be attending with those friends. Most people also have loving families and nearby relatives and all the talk about what toys they are buying little Isabella and Caleb at Sam’s Club makes me want to stick hot pins in my eyes. Being a person with hardly any money to buy gifts for anyone in a world that seems full of people who are living in two income households and have disposable income to throw around drives me mad too.

The only way I could cope with this type of an event would be if I had a few drinks ahead of time, but that wouldn’t be worth it either and besides, I’d still have to drive. I don’t really need a DWI on top of all the other shit I’m dealing with.

I’m no Scrooge, but you can keep your office Christmas party. I have better things to do, like socialize with my cats who don’t give a damn how awkward I am, or write more blogs posts.

8 thoughts on “Take your office Christmas party and shove it.

  1. I don’t think I’m an Aspie, but I can relate to all that. For me its all the vibes, elbows, being around people, by the time its all done I’m exhausted. After all, I grew up in a household where getting attacked out of the blue was normal. I guess for me its hypervigillance. Plus I was was never accepted and was always treated that way.

    I’ve been trying to make all parts of me ok. Even the parts of me that I hate, I make it all ok. This is a mindset that I practice all the time. When I’m out, I say to myself, “If I look ugly or fat, then I accept that and approve of it. If I make a bad part of me ok, then the focus is off myself and I talk to someone I’m interested in them and what they have got to say, I can learn about people.”

    If I screw it up that’s ok, its all about my intent. It screws up for me all the time, I just make the effort that’s all my job is. I think of it like this – when a baby learns to walk he has no idea how much to bend a knee or how much he has to bend his body. Lots of times he ends up back on his butt. But does he stop trying? No, try to make him stop, you can’t. He tries it all day. That is what I do too.

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    • Abuse can do that to you–make you fear how you come off in social situations and to other people because it damages or even destroys our self esteem. Even if you’re not Aspie, you can develop social anxiety, sometimes as debilitating as anything an Aspie goes through. Being both Aspie, and abused, I am doubly cursed!

      That’s an interesting technique you use to cope. I haven’t tried it, but if it works for you that’s great! I find it hard to make the bad parts of me okay. The only “bad” part of me (that I used to think was bad) that I have come to accept and even be grateful for is my sensitivity. I used to be so ashamed of it because that was my label throughout childhood and was used pejoratively by the N’s in my life then.
      But rather than being a fault, it’s actually a good thing. Not the narcissistic form of sensitivity (taking everything personally–that’s HYPERsensitivy), but the kind of sensitivity that allows us to empathize. Sure, empathic people get their feelings hurt too (a lot!) but with a narc, their feelings are always hurt but they don’t care about yours one iota.

      You are not your social anxiety. You are a good person with many things to offer the world, don’t worry about what others think. I know its hard to do that, but they do not matter.

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  2. Oh barf.

    I am going to a book club party, and since I missed the church women’s party that will probably be it. I like a few of the people there but Ill be able to get some new books and give them some. They know I am an Aspie and are mostly church women, I hope it works out okay. I plan to take my own chair too so I don’t get stuck in anyone’s couch. I like to get out rarely but if I piss someone off at the party it won’t matter. No job to lose. LOL I hated Christmas work parties too because a lot of it was fake nice and endless agendas.

    I get the eye rolls and more. I don’t know if you saw this article but it goes into my problems with groups and how I relate to NTs.

    http://fivehundredpoundpeeps.blogspot.com/2014/12/aspie-woman-in-confusing-social-world.html

    I too in many groups can end up standing alone. It even happens at church sometimes where the people are friendly to me. I don’t know how NTs all naturally congregrate flocking into little mini-groups. Sometimes I will have a friend in the room making me feel almost normal but sometimes they aren’t there and I am busy picking at plate or looking at books on the shelf.

    Yes small talk is boring to me too, deep talk at an office party is dangerous. If you say something someone doesn’t like they can punish you for it. The jokes blow over my head too. NT jokes often make no sense. I sit there and pretend to laugh, while inside I am thinking “Get on with it.” LOL

    I don’t celebrate Christmas but I hate the holidays. Most have so much, I think how did it happen for them? Yes close families, people coming to visit, hundreds and thousands of dollars of gifts, while I worry about having groceries in the house. Christmas is a mean holiday to the poor. If I didn’t have my personal religious objections to it, I’d ditch it, and walk away even just for secular reasons and go read the book of Luke in the Bible and still be done with the money-grubbing nonsense.

    I hope you can skip the office party and it’s attendance is not mandatory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peep, I read the article you linked and it was this article in fact that inspired me to write this post. You have hit the nail on the head, as you always do.
      I can’t stand Christmas, tbh I don’t have a problem with Christmas per se, but it has become so overcommercialized and makes people like us feel so defective. 😦 It’s such a stressful time of year for me.
      I always am so glad when it’s over. Call me a Scrooge, but there you have it.

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  3. I’m not an Aspie, but I too hate the fake camaraderie of the Christmas Party with a passion. I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that they are the absolute low point of human interaction. (Narrowly beating genocide and cannibalism into second and third places respectively.)

    The fact is, Christmas and New Year are the two nights of the year when some people go out. Consequently, they don’t know how to have a good time without getting obnoxiously drunk and making a complete pain in the arse of themselves.

    Somewhere deep down, even bosses know that work Christmas parties are shite. That’s why they send emails in January reminding employees how “important attendance is to the company”. How much of a deluded, arrogant douchebag do you need to be to think it is OK to send people an invitation a year ahead of time, with thinly-veiled threats that non-attendance will have career-impacting implications? If I believed my career depended upon pretending that some Pointy-Haired Boss’s shit smalltalk and karaoke singing were actually bearable, I’d kill myself now. Never mind quit and get a better job.

    I started a new job late last year. I already know I won’t be here come next Christmas. They have a ‘secret santa’ every year, where some creepy weirdo that never appears the rest of the year tries to get everyone, especially the women, to “sit on his knee” during the gift giving. He then ‘treats’ everyone to an inappropriate, sexist ‘comedy’ routine involving such classics as “I’m not saying she [some female colleague] is easy, but her knickers have “next” written on them”. For some reason, management encourage this idiot Jimmy-Saville-In-Waiting, rather than seeing him as the Employment Tribunal waiting to happen that he so obviously is.

    Then they go out for a shit meal, and end up back at the office. (Because you know how fun the office is.) Where the boss has set up his karaoke. The boss fancies himself as a bit of a singer, even though he’s exceptionally shit by anyone’s standards. And, so that he doesn’t feel self-conscious about inflicting his lack of singing talent on the ensemble, he insists everyone “has to take a turn singing”. Seriously, what kind of arsehole does that?

    Anyway, needless to say, I gave this ‘delightful’ evening a miss. And was brought in for an interrogation by the Shit Karaoke Boss. Who tried to give me the in-person version of that “your attendance is important to us, you will be assimilated” email. I told them I wouldn’t be forced into having anyone’s idea of fun. So I was asked to take a holiday that day instead, which I did. But to be honest I resented even that.

    Anyway, bosses out there, if it’s more important to you that people attend your obviously-shit parties and tolerate having your idea of ‘fun’ shoved down their throat than it is to get actual work done, don’t be surprised when your company goes under. I’ve seen it happen before, and I’m sure I’ll see it again. If you value brown-nosing over actual talent, expect to go bust.

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