Ask a CAM: Dealing with Neighborhood Gossip

For most neighborhoods, the holidays mean — among other things — gathering with your neighbors to participate in some type of community-wide event like a potluck, a harvest fest or a meetup to give back to a local organization. These events can foster deeper relationships with your neighbors, but they can also be a breeding ground for gossip. To get advice on how to avoid the dreaded neighborhood gossip trap, we tapped a certified Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM®). Because a large part of a community association manager’s role is navigating relationships, they know a thing or two about the art of diplomacy. Here’s what our resident CAM had to say.

“If you live in a managed community, I suggest you confront the gossip head on. If you know there’s something people are bound to be chatting about, address it directly with an announcement stating the facts, or bring it up in advance in a newsletter or mailing so it is already old news before the holiday party. Have friends on the inside – you can’t counteract gossip with facts if you don’t know what is being said.  If your spouse isn’t a social butterfly who can report back to you, make friends with someone in the neighborhood who is — they’ll keep you in the know. 

However, if these tactics don’t work and you find yourself engaging with someone who is particularly meddlesome or known to gossip, try to change the subject. You can say something like: 'This person never speaks about you this way.' A comment like that will shift the conversation and encourage the person to think before they gossip in the future.”

About the Author

Lea Marcou

Lea Marcou, CMCA, AMS, PCAM has worked in customer service for over 15 years. She started with Associa Chicagoland in 2008, and then transitioned from Customer Care Representative to Community Association Manager in 2010. She has worked with a diverse portfolio of properties, including mid-rise condos, townhomes, single family homes and developer and commercial properties. She is an active member of the Community Associations Institute, where she attends industry events, seminars and trade shows. Lea has obtained her CMCA® and AMS® designations, and was recently awarded the prestigious PCAM® designation. Contact her at 847-490-3833 or Lea.Marcou@associa.us.

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