I should have added to my original reply that I assumed Aloma had already tried speaking to this person…and that assumption on my part is based on our interactions on this list over the last few years.
And I’m speaking directly to the folks who, like myself and Aloma and many other people who’ve built strong communities by being thoughtful and generous: **there is a fine line between recognizing when a member is in trouble and needs help, and when someone is being abusive. **
Thing is, my default is generosity and caring and the benefit of the doubt. I’m proud of the many times that our members have been in some kind of trouble and that either myself or another member was able to help them.
But I’ve learned that generosity can be abused, and that’s what I see in Aloma’s original post. For me, it’s two specific things, and frankly, neither of them are specifically related to using a private room as a residence:
1 - bringing in outside people after hours, and that resulting in a situation that required calling the police.
after hours access is a privilege of trust, not a right of membership. i’ve written extensively about this and the system we developed after being abused by someone who took advantage of a situation. that system depends on the people who have access to be WORTHY of trust. all trust systems depends on strong links recognizing weak links. in this case, NOT removing this person’s 24/7 access sends a message to the strong links that the weak links are allowed.
2 - slamming the door in the face of an employee, or any sort of belligerent behavior directed towards others. say or do anything you want to me, but don’t fuck with my team (or our members). ****Now, this isn’t a “if you disagree with me you’re out on the street.” The specific examples shared are abusive behavior, and regardless of the reason they do not need to be tolerated within a community.
Again, this isn’t simply “you aren’t nice so you’re out” but abusive, disruptive behavior directed towards people, or shared resources (which basically says I don’t GAF about the people I share this with).
Humans are complicated and messy. These situations are not black and white. There is no single right way to handle this.
And worst of all, most of us don’t realize what job we’re signing up for when we start these things.
Short term, I still strongly believe that this person needs their 24/7 access removed. You can tell them that you’re here to support them in getting help if they need it, but they can’t use the space.
Medium term, I would strongly consider two things:
1 - consider a mental health first aid class for you, your staff, and maybe even your members who want to participate. there are lots of little things that can be done long before a situation becomes this bad.
2 - consider a community town hall about the situation. don’t make it about the person specifically, but instead about how you as a community would want to deal with a situation like this in the future. this could possibly be tied into the first suggestion above.
Bottom line: this isn’t a real estate business, it’s a human business. That means it’s going to get messy.
But that also does NOT mean that you have to sit back and get beat up by someone who is abusing you or your community.
The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.
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Wow, Miles, your comment feels full of negative assumptions about me and my business. FYI I have run this space as a community service project without pay for 4.5 years pouring my heart and time and energy into creating a supportive community where people feel cared for and supported.
OF COURSE WE HAVE TRIED TO TALK TO THIS PERSON. This person literally closed the door in my face. I was nothing but kind and only asked when they would have time to meet in the next few days. I’m not sure how my original comment has you drawing such conclusions but the tone of your comment is not appreciated.
On Monday, November 26, 2018 at 2:17:30 PM UTC-8, Miles Fidelman wrote:
Has anyone, you know, actually talked to the member? Sounds like someone who’s underwater & drowing. Are they having business problems? Family problems? Mental problems? Or are you just one of those places that’s really just rental real-estate and members be damned? Not a place I’d want to work in, or a group of people I’d want to work with.
On Monday, November 26, 2018 at 1:25:27 PM UTC-5, Aloma Loren wrote:
We have a member, we’ll call this member X.
X moved into a private office a couple months ago.
X gave 30 days notice that they will be out by the end of November, however, they want to continue their membership as a Flex Desk member so would still have 24/7 access to the space.
It is clear from our security cameras X is here 24/7. Walks around the space in their socks, is always in the same clothes, looks like they don’t shower… Hung a towel over the inside of the door to block any little space between the blinds.
The other night the cameras showed the police here at 4:30am walking through the space with flashlights. X says they had a friend in here that got violent and they had to call the police.
X refuses to let us show the office to new members. They claim they are on the phone and busy all day. They literally slammed the door in my office manager’s face when she was trying to talk to her very kindly about this.
Anyone dealt with this kind of situation before?
I can handle not showing the office. I have a feeling it would not show well anyway.
I do not feel comfortable with X still having access to the space after they move out of their office.
Have you had to cancel a membership/refuse someone before?
How do you word it?
Any advice or just sharing of stories welcome.
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