It takes a seasoned drinker to escape the annual company holiday party with a clear conscience. Coming in to work the following day with no regrets while still taking proper advantage of the open bar is all about balance. Here are a few tips to keep you out of the HR office:

*Bring a date. You need someone to cut you off if necessary and save you from the inevitable boring/painful conversations to come.

*Count your drinks & Note your food intake. This is where the date can come in handy. If you’re on your 3rd drink and have only had one cracker with cheese, they can take a lap and snag some sliders for you. Or if it’s too late to turn back, they can drive you to McDonalds.

*Don’t talk to people you don’t usually talk to. Why pretend? Don’t make your first impression with a colleague one of you slurring over your words and missing your straw with your mouth. Leave the hellos for those uncomfortable bathroom run-ins.

*Don’t dance if you can’t. Don’t dance if you can. Just don’t dance. But also don’t be awkward in the corner if everyone else is dancing. Kind gotta feel this one out and make a game time decision.

*No work talk. Talking about work with people from work is a slippery slope. First you’re talking about how well some meeting went earlier in the day and next thing you know you’re pulling out your offensive boss impersonation only to find him standing right behind you with a pink slip.

*Don’t be afraid to leave early. After a certain point in the night, no one will remember that you slipped out 2 hours early. But they will remember if you stay a little too late and make a move on a married coworker. Make an Irish exit and catch up on the gossip the next day when you’re well rested and only slightly hungover.