Creative Writings Essay

Friends vs. Colleagues: An Eye-Opening Lesson of Committing to College Events Committee

In the college events committee dynamic, the blurred line between friends and colleagues can confuse many of us. However, experiencing both relationship types simultaneously may lead us to more meaningful lessons. Let’s take a look at these three common issues in college events’ committees related to friendship and professionality and how we can overcome them.


Issue 1: Should I trust and include them?

This is the question that most often appears in OPREC (Open Recruitment) season. We are in a situation where the department has a limited number of students, and some are inevitably our friends. As a part of the committee, we are expected to judge the candidates objectively. However, as a friend, we might claim to know all the goods they have and all the bad they hide. We may also think it would be easier to work with them since we have built a strong “bond”.

Here are two questions that you need to ask: why do they want to join the committee, and why do you want them on the committee? Finding the answers is not as simple as interviewing with templated questions that we know all too well how to “correctly” answer. 

If you want the committee’s future guaranteed, you must spend extra energy beyond the CV, interview, and your current “friendly” knowledge. Take that further step to find more reliable sources who can tell you about their factual footprints, potentials, and risk points. Trust me, and you will need this not for the mere formality of the procedure or to judge them based on their absolute past. Instead, this background information may help you visualize the kind of football you want to play in the team. In other words, what kind of dynamic will exist between the committee members with their tendency to think, feel, react, and behave?


Issue 2: Should I listen to them?

Listening to a friend’s suggestion can be tempting as they are also a part of the department and your circle of “usually trustable” friends. However, the question is how much do they understand about the situation that you are in?

Whether they are a part of the committee or not, you still have to investigate to what extent they know about the big picture of the situation. Do they understand the essential mission of the event, the number of committees, the budget, the timeline, the people, the dynamic in between the committee members, the skill and parameters needed in a particular division, how much time and effort you take to do it, or the actual practice of the work? I bombard you with these considerations to say a very important point: deciding the committee is more challenging than flipping the back of your hand.

Further, you can investigate what they know about things you have yet to learn. They may have the information outside of the committee that can add to the abovementioned considerations. Their perspective, filtered with the status quo of the committee, may assist you (not control you) in making the decision. 

What matters most is how you absorb and logically process the information you have gained. Make sure that it is your hope for the event to be successful that takes control, not your desperate need for your friends’ approval. Please understand that not all ideas should be heard, and not all audiences can be pleased. Only take the suggestion which qualifies for the event’s primary goal, the value of the committee members, and the doability of the suggestion. If your brain, heart, and colleagues agree it is strategic, do it. If it is not, leave it. 

Now, what if you are in the position of the critics? Let’s move on to issue number 3.


Issue 3: Should I tell them?

Your friend messed up, creating a problem you must fix in the committee, and pisses you off. Telling them will possibly hurt their feelings and break your friendship apart, but keeping it for yourself will bring worse consequences for the committee’s work. Sounds familiar?

You have three choices: tell them, tell the others except them, or do not let them know (ever).

If you choose the latter two, mark my words: you contribute to their damaged future. If they never know what they did wrong, they will never try to mend it either, and congrats! You will be constantly pissed for the rest of your work period. If other people know their mistake except them until the end, congrats! Now your friend will never be accepted in any other committees in the future, and they will never have the chance to grow because of you. So the answer is, tell them, but how?

First thing first, ngaca. If a problem happens, two parties always have their contribution to the mistake, so defeat your ego first and find your part in the issue before facing this friend. Ensure you intend to tell them to improve the situation and not to satisfy your hunger for the illusion of power. Only then, tell your friend mindfully about what they did wrong, what you did wrong, and find a way on how both of you can do better. Communicate how their wrongdoing made you feel and how it will impact other committee members if they keep repeating the behavior.

I understand that you might be scared of their reaction. However, a great leader once taught me this: “if your “friends” continuously deny their mistakes and refuse to change just for the sake of unreasonable ego or fear, you will have to question yourself: are they really good friends of yours when they do not bother to respect you?”


Author: Agnes Seraphine

Editor: Sitti Aminah Intan Utami, Vonna Meisya Saputra (QC)

Illustrator: Betsy Mariana Agoha

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