The Not-So-Super Super

30 Jul

Dear LetterBalm: I finally found the apartment of my dreams. But it comes with a nightmare. The superintendent for the apartment complex is creepy and obnoxious. He’s a good handyman and keeps the place nice, but he’s arrogant, sloppy and overly friendly. He’s always hanging around residents – usually the younger women – at the pool, making tasteless and personal comments. He also claims to be “in the security business” and sometimes wears camouflage and military gear. (We think he’s just a wannabe; we don’t want to piss him off because we can’t be sure he doesn’t have demons.) What can we say to him to stay on his good side yet curb his inappropriate behavior?

–Drowning in Innuendo

The key to reining in your super’s unsuitable conduct is to focus on his good points. Let him know you appreciate his hard work but suggest that you are less enchanted with his behavior. Ms. L.B. suggests that you keep your own demeanor neutral and no-nonsense, so he can’t misinterpret your actions as flirting or encouragement. And, don’t talk with him alone. Have one or two residents (preferably a man and a woman) with you in a casual setting. Don’t make a special trip to talk with him – don’t be accusative, and don’t lecture him. Always remain calm and aloof when you’re in his company, and never admit him to your apartment for repairs when you’re by yourself. This is a good starting point:

Eddie, good work on the plants and the lawn. You do a good job, and everything always looks great. So, it’s a little difficult to tell you something that you may not be aware of. You need to know that sometimes here at the pool and around the complex, you make comments that make residents uncomfortable, and you come on too strong with your opinions. Everybody around here is pretty relaxed, nobody gets in anybody’s space. If you could dial it back, that would be great.

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