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I am part of a Fun committee in office and have the responsibility to organize the office events related to proceedings festivals. It's a secular company so we usually cover a variety of festivals - the next one in our arms is Christmas.

A few of us will be on holiday but are still trying to help out with planning and discussions. One girl who is a very good friend of mine joined in with the Fun committee, let's call her Elsa. So Elsa's enthusiasm is more than what we require and she gets carried away during planning. Like suggesting things over budget, expecting high levels of participation from other colleagues which we know by experience will be less than her expectations.

She was from a different branch where she did all these activities with marketing teams where enthusiasm is high. However, our Fun committee works for software - where enthusiasm is lower in comparison. Additionally, she increases the workload of the Fun committee by her suggestions which won't fit with everyone's workload and deadlines.

So how could I tell her that her enthusiasm might be a little over the top, without hurting her feelings or even worse endangering our friendship?

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    Is the problem her 'christmas spirit' or just the fact that she's making this into too much work for you and the rest of the committee? – Erik Dec 19 '19 at 11:41
  • @Erik later one. Her christamas spirit/enthusiasm is increasing work of others and setting unreachable goal for events. – Gauche Dec 19 '19 at 11:43
  • Hey Gauche, I tried to make this more ontopic, by editing your post to have a specific goal to achieve. If this misrepresents your initial intend, feel free to revert my edit. – dhein Dec 19 '19 at 11:43
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    @meg it's more like committee will suggest a rough estimate and then get approval for that budget. Time spend on event can be very rough as it depends on your senior etc or current work load. – Gauche Dec 20 '19 at 12:47
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    @jesse fee of us tried but It will end with ”we should try”, ”this can work” etc – Gauche Dec 20 '19 at 12:48
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Telling a person that their ideas need improvement or don't fit the bill always involves some risk to goodwill and friendship. To complicate matters, there are in my experience two opposite types of people when it comes to trying new ideas:

  • Type One who want to be encouraged to try new ideas
  • Type Two who think things through and make a decision

Understanding the motivation of the other can help minimize the risks insofar as this informs one's approach to correcting the other's ideas. This, however, depends on the other's willingness to accepting correction, which willingness is beyond one's own control.

Type One: Please Encourage Me!

Type One know what they want but feel shy and frightened to put their ideas out there. They will back away from speaking up and will even say reply in the negative when asked if they'd like to try this or that. Only with a lot of encouragement will they agree to try. As they try, it becomes evident that they actually enjoy it a lot and that they had wanted this very much from the beginning. They just didn't dare say so, even when it was first suggested.

Type Two: Here's My Decision.

Type Two are the people who may or may not know from the get-go what they want but they realize a decision is called for. They think things through on a deep level, internally weighing the pros and cons, and finally arrive at a decision. A lot of thinking has gone into the decision-making process and when they finally hand in their decision, they don't want to be encouraged to change it.

Opposites on a Team

When these two types try to work as a team, it can be extra complicated. Elsa appears to be a Type One person who has learned how to aggressively encourage people to try new things, even when they overtly say they can't and don't want to.

The rest of the team appears to be Type Two. They have outlined schedules and costs, using company data regarding available resources. All they need is for someone to fill in the events to fit the parameters.

The Problem and Solution

Elsa, the bred-and-born Type One, does not understand and respect that these are Type Two decisions and that they are non-negotiable. Possibly Elsa will respond well to being informed what decisions have already been made and what exactly her responsibility entails in the FUN COmmittee.

In a calm and relaxed atmosphere, you might have a private conversation with Elsa and tell her how much everyone appreciates her enthusiasm for the FUN Committee, but that this is somewhat different from the community or church events she may have been used to in that the company has set out a strict time and costing schedule. Ask for her ideas to limit events to these parameters.

She may be disappointed and feel restricted in keeping it so "narrow," but quite possibly she will comply when she understands that the time and costs are non-negotiable. Obviously, you cannot control how she takes it. If she does not take responsibility for her comportment, higher authority may have to intervene. Unfortunately, in that case, you will most likely lose her friendship. Your responsibility is to the company.

I realize Christmas is a long way away, but there may be other events in the meantime. I hope it works out.

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