Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Trapped between two rival board neighbors

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Dear Ms. Demeanor,

My two next-door neighbors are heads of competing factions on the coop board.  They knock on my door at night and trash-talk the other.  How do I stay somewhat neighborly and neutral while still having friends/advocates on the board? 


Sweetly Switzerland

Dear Sweetly,

Actually, Switzerland isn’t so sweet.  Take a lesson from a country as famous for its army knives as its chocolate: Fight hard to look as though you are not fighting.  

A few noncommittal but supportive comments may be helpful: “That must be very frustrating.” “It sounds like you have your work cut out for you.”  “What a thankless job!  You are so great to donate your time.”

However, if you really want a voice on the board, get on the board and then the two trash-talkers can start trash-talking you instead of each other.  

In the meantime, to avoid the late-night knocks, whether on or off the board, tell the neighbors you go to sleep at 8 pm and then remember not to sing too loudly during Glee reruns.


Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected].

See all Ms. Demeanor's advice here.