ASSOCIATION ETIQUETTE

-The Power of Please, Thank You,

...and the Golden Rule...

 

Do you ever feel like the changes in the moon cycle affect the people around you?  Sometimes, it just seems like it’s “one of those days” where everyone and everything is going wrong or in a crabby mood.

 

 

For example, when you are tired after a long day of work and need to grab something quick at the grocery store, but everyone and their mother also decided to go to the store.  So you wait in line, and people are rude, they cut in line, or talk on the phone loudly.  To make matters worse, there is only one checker for more than 50 people and then a couple behind you starts fighting in public. 

 

We all have those experiences, but at the end of the day you have the choice to be rubber and bounce back, or be glue and let the worries of the world stick to you…. Or maybe not.  Sometimes these kinds of things can creep into our Community Associations.  Yet, at the end of the day, don’t we all have the choice on how we treat each other?  Or, are we sometimes unaware of our surroundings and impact on those around us?  Read on for some Community Association Etiquette 101.

 

SNOBBY LOBBY

When you finally get home from the awful grocery trip above and a long day, do you ignore your Community Association Neighbors?  While  you are walking through the lobby thinking of your day, don’t forget to say hello to Ms. Unit 1001 and say thank you to Mr. Unit 502 for holding the door open for you.  Try to be polite to your neighbors – who knows they might be the ones to move a towel on the pool side lounger for you next weekend on a super hot day.

 

ELEVATOR RAGE

Does that exist?  In our experience, we think so.  I, personally, am very unsettled when elevators are too slow or too full.  But can this make  a person hostile, stressed or grumpy?  Isn’t an elevator kind of an amazing thing?  Just put yourself back 200 years or so before there were elevators.  That’s not really all that far back.  (To put it in perspective - Your great grandmother could have lived then.)  What did people do before the elevator?  Well, they walked up stairs or a mountain of course!  So next time you are in an elevator with a neighbor who has bags full of groceries bumping you or see someone running to catch the same ride… try to be polite and think back a few generations, imagining what it would have been like before, and don’t let your sack carrying neighbor push your buttons, rather, smile and hold the door.

 

SPEED DEMON

When you get in your car and drive down the street, do you feel like you are living in your dream world like the movie Fast and Furious?  Even though you have a hunk of steel between you and your neighbors, don’t forget that there are people on the other end of that car… or… walking down the street.  Many of us feel like we are alone when we put that petal to the metal, but just like you don’t appreciate your neighboring car driver picking their nose at the stop light, your HOA neighbors don’t appreciate having to worry about your speed demon ways when they let their kids play out front.

 

BASKET FULL OF OPINIONS

Opinions are like … well you know… everyone has one!  If you are attending a board meeting and feel really passionate about a topic, be conscious of your neighbors that may have different feelings.  Make sure to state your opinions, but don’t say things like “everyone feels the way I do”  ( at least not without doing the leg work to find out).  When I am passionate about something and I want someone to listen, I find it helpful to make a list of my key points and bring it with me to the meeting.  This helps me organize my thoughts and feelings.  Also, I have found that when I write a thought down on paper, I am more critical of the delivery than I might be if I just said it in person.  This organization and pre planning will help you state your point, own your opinion without unwillingly pushing it on others, and ensure that the message is delivered in an appropriate timeframe.  Remember, your association Board doesn’t get paid for volunteering their time to the community, and every homeowner in attendance at the meeting is willingly giving up their personal time.  As such, be courteous while on your soapbox.  People will be more likely to listen if the conversation is to the point and delivered in a respectful tone.   

 

SIDE NOTE: Many association’s use a formal communication system based on Robert’s Rules of Order (for more information on Robert’s Rules – click here to view last month’s blog).

 

TO DO’s
  • Always remember what your mother taught you – please and thank you go a long way!

  • If you dream of being a rockstar, don’t assume that your neighbors share your dream.  Repeated drum beats, the same cord strung over and over, or well intentioned off pitch singing can come off to some neighbors like the sound of a dying animal.  If you plan on having a rock star party or practicing and pursuing your dream, inform your neighbors and ask for input.  Chances are they are more likely to appreciate your talent for the request rather than dialing the cops, maybe they will even come over for a beer.

  • Always remember the golden rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”