Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My (difficult) co-worker asked for a board recommendation. What should I do?

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Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I was just asked by a work colleague to write him a letter of recommendation for a co-op board. He knows I am active on my board and thinks I 'know what the boards want to hear' (his words).  

Trouble is I don't particularly like the guy and I personally wouldn't want him as a neighbor. He is one of those people who is always complaining about everything and everyone.

 How do I say no without seeming like a total ass?  I still have to work with the guy.


Dear No-op,

Tough one!  On the other hand, even jerks deserve a roof over their heads...  

You have three options and none of them involve the gospel truth: (1)  You could write a very vanilla letter ("I have known him for x years... He is in x position and at x firm... yadda, yadda..."), (2) You could tell him you stink at writing recommendation letters and ask if he will write it and you sign it, or (3) Tell him you have a personal policy against writing recommendation letters and suggest someone else at work who is higher up the totem pole.

I will email you offline to find out if said complainer is bidding on an apartment in my building,

Ms. Demeanor

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] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here