Whether it's the holidays, a summer picnic or a sales-goal celebration, there's something about an office party that brings out the crazy. Add alcohol to a group of people who otherwise manage to interact amicably and professionally with one another, and it doesn't take long before someone gets overly amorous with a cubicle mate, overly honest with a boss or downright belligerent toward anyone in shouting range.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham, England found that drinking in an unfamiliar context such as the office may have a stronger effect on inhibitions than drinking in a familiar environment, like a bar. Your brain apparently has learned to compensate for lowered inhibitions in a regular drinking spot but not in an unusual one [sources: Birak, et al., Harding]. So even if you know your tolerance under normal circumstances, consider abstaining from alcohol or keeping it to a minimum when you're out of your element, not only at company parties, but at conferences, networking events and particularly job interviews where alcohol may be served, such as a dinner meeting. After all, those water-cooler conversations are only fun if you're a part of them -- not the subject of one.