I’m Single. Who Should I Bring to the Company Holiday Party?

An HR expert says choosing to bring a casual date can be risky unless you follow these important rules.

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When you have a long-time partner, bringing them as your guest to the office holiday party is an obvious move. But as a single person, your plus-one situation becomes much more of a consideration. Do you go alone? Do you bring your best friend? What about hopping on Tinder and finding a casual date? Below, you’ll find just a few of the many questions single persons should ask before dragging someone along for the festivities, according to HR expert Terry Petracca.

“I have a general philosophy about plus-one invitations, whether it’s the office holiday party or a wedding: Unless you’ve got a significant other, consider either bringing your BFF or going alone,” Petracca suggests. “Someone with whom you’ve got a tentative relationship [aka Tinder person] will always find these events awkward. Invariably, people will drill them on the state of your relationship, any ‘meet cute’ story, future prospects and things about your past you might not want others to know (especially your coworkers).”

If you still choose to bring a casual date despite this warning, Petracca provided us with a list of numerous ground rules to keep you and your rando out of trouble:

  • Share the dress code in advance. There’s nothing more uncomfortable for a plus-one than showing up in cocktail attire when it’s a casual jeans affair (or vice versa).
  • Let your co-workers know this is someone you’ve just started seeing, so “please be careful about what you tell them about you.”
  • Introduce your plus-one to everyone you talk to at the party; otherwise, someone will take offense, and you’ll hear about it when you’re back at work.
  • Tell your plus-one about your close friends and colleagues. Anyone else, you can add a one-line introduction when you spend time with them at the party — e.g., “This is Holly. She and I share parking spaces next to each other.”
  • Try not to leave your plus-one alone. If you need to, find someone they can hang with so they don’t feel stranded.
  • Don’t make a scene with your plus-one at the event. Period.
  • Make sure neither of you gets drunk. Period.
  • Leave with your plus-one. Period.

“That last rule, however, doesn’t necessarily apply to BFFs,” Petracca adds. “In their case, you should let your co-workers know that they’re unattached (provided, of course, that that’s the case), and not be jealous if someone else starts making moves.”

In other words, well, maybe going alone really is your best bet after all.