Close up of a friends toasting for a New Year.

Source: BraunS / Getty

The next two weeks will be filled with holiday parties, and while turning things up a little is a great way to network, too much turn up is the best way to ruin your professional reputation.

Holiday parties can be quite the conundrum. On one hand, your big bosses just foot the bill for lots of good food, liquor and entertainment. On the other hand, it’s still work. And while you may love getting sh*t-faced on weekends with your crew, there are no wins when you do it in front of co-workers and higher-ups. It’s all about balance. The reality is that many bosses encourage employees to drink and let loose at parties, so if you don’t have a little fun that can also have a negative impact. Ultimately, it’s up to each person to figure out his or her own limits based on personal tolerance and corporate culture. Here are some guidelines that can help. Read on.

Skip the Guaranteed “Turn Up” Drink

Holiday parties are known for ornate food and specialty drinks. Sometimes the drink of the night is comprised of alcohols you know aren’t right for you (for example, brown liquor). If the house drink is made with a spirit you know will get you wasted or sick, skip it. If the boss orders a round of shots and you know things will end badly if you go in, pass or take a sip and toss it. Don’t risk getting sick or drunk at the party. It’s not a good look.

Pace Yourself

Free, tasty drinks (think coquito or rum punch) can make you forget about the alcohol content, and bartenders use varied recipes for their concoctions. If you’re trying a new drink give yourself at least 30  minutes for it to seep into your system, so you can tell whether you’re getting a buzz. Downing a few drinks quickly is a recipe for getting too tipsy, too soon in the evening.

Don’t Try to Keep up With Your Boss

Many bosses entertain clients, which means they are used to drinking a lot. Your boss may have the best intentions by encouraging you to take another round, then another, but he or she is drinking based on personal tolerance—not yours. Know when to tap out.

Nurse One Drink

Some people just aren’t big drinkers. It’s cool. Don’t feel pressured to throw back a bunch of alcohol to keep up with your peers.  Instead, pick one lightweight drink and sip on it slowly over the course of the night. Also, remember it’s cool to just say no and get a soda, juice or water.

Roll With a Trusted Co-Worker

Team up with a work friend and keep tabs on each other over the course of the night. It’s a good way to be social and do a real-time check on how you’re pacing your drinks.

Pre-Game With Food

Don’t forget to get lots of food in your belly. Drinking on an empty stomach is the best way to guarantee an interesting outcome for your night. Make sure to have a hearty meal earlier in the day and eat during the event to allow your body to absorb the alcohol slowly.