8 People to Avoid at Your Holiday Party

From the up-close talker to the one-upper, we reveal the list of characters you don’t want to bump into under the mistletoe.

By Kerry Lyons for

Holiday party characters to avoid

‘Tis the season for making merry and making small talk! There’s the office party, the neighborhood party, the cookie swap, the holiday brunch, the tree-trimming get-together — and that’s just for starters. You’ll see plenty of those you adore, as well as those unsavory characters who can ruin a good time in seconds. Here’s whom to watch out for this holiday season and how to dodge them if they corner you.

Barry the Bragger

This guy will corner you moments after you’ve arrived at the party. He takes two seconds to ask you about your kids, your job or your new house before he launches into a 60-minute monologue about his supermodel wife, his amazing kids and so on. You’re trapped; you can’t get away. You catch your husband’s eye across the room, and he mouths, “You’re still stuck there? Get more wine.” Time to excuse yourself and head to the bar. By now, a second drink is definitely in order.

Carrie the Close Talker

At first you think she’s admiring your earrings. Or possibly checking your pores? The last time you were this close to another woman’s face was two years ago when you got a facial (which is why you’re so paranoid about your skin). You step back; she steps forward. You can’t figure out why this woman you hardly know is so darn close until you realize she can’t help it: She’s a close talker. She has no idea whatsoever that she is completely up in your business. Or, for that matter, that she could use a breath mint.

Betsy Been There, Done That

Beware. This one considers one-upmanship a sport and doesn’t realize she is the only one competing. Your kid has bronchitis? Hers has pneumonia. Your husband’s been working late? Hers is in Singapore for two weeks. You’re headed to Vermont for the holidays? Her family is headed to Colorado. After all, “The snow is so much better out there!” Your best bet with Betsy? Bid her adieu and move on.

Loosey Lucy

She hits on your boss every year at the office holiday party and sidles up to every man who comes within inches of the mistletoe. Poor Lucy is lonely and thinks a little lovin’ will make her holidays happier. What Lucy doesn’t realize is that she’s lookin’ for love in all the wrong places. Some advice for her? Those boots were made for walkin’ — and it’s time to walk ’em on home, girlfriend!

Fashionably Late Felicia

Some people just can’t help but make an entrance. And they always have an excuse. Some legit: “The baby spit up on me. Twice.” And some less so: “Oh, am I late? My hair must have taken longer than usual to dry tonight!” Whatever the reason, Felicia likes to be fawned over, and her frequent late arrivals are her only path to center stage. If you plan to invite Felicia to your holiday fete, suggest she arrive at 6:30. That way, when the rest of your guests arrive between 7:30 and 8, she’ll be right on time.

Leslie of the Long Good-Bye

There’s an excellent chance that Leslie will start her good-byes just as Felicia arrives. Leslie’s learned from years of experience that she can make her farewell last for hours. There might be a trip to the bathroom, one last drink, a joke to tell, another story to share. She flits around, lapping the room — once, twice, maybe even three times, just to be sure she’s said good-bye to everyone (even the folks she never said hello to). Humor her; say good-bye as Leslie passes you by…and then offer a cookie when she comes around again; she won’t be able to resist.

“Just One More” Jessie

Here’s a gal who’s clearly no stranger to the booze. She tosses back glass after glass of party punch, slurring her words, stumbling on and off the dance floor, and all the while exclaiming, “I never drink this much! I think I’m a little drunk!” Well, here’s the deal, Jess. You do and you are. You did it last year and you’ll probably do it again next year. You’ve given us all a visual we’d like to forget for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Put her in a cab and think twice about inviting her again next year.

The Silent Bomber

This guest can appear anytime, anywhere. His calling card (or is it hers?) comes in the form of a room-clearing emission of toxic gas. Maybe it was too much cheese, or was it the bean dip? Whatever the source, whoever the source, you’ll know TSB is in your midst when folks start to step outside “for a bit of fresh air” despite the frigid temperatures, or you see your host scrambling to find a more appropriate scent of the season. She’ll smile with relief as her eyes fall upon the lovely evergreen candle you gave as a hostess gift. Who knew it would come in handy so soon?!

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