And that comes across in their body language and their emails and phone conversations.
The other person gets defensive or outraged. The conflict is off and running and takes on a life of its own, far beyond the original problem which very often could have been fixed in ten minutes. If, of course, the action had been named in the form of an observation.
That’s why I like the Nonviolent Communication approach to observing without evaluating.
Instead of thinking and then saying that so-and-so is an irresponsible board member, you focus on the observable behavior: two meetings in a row he has said he would bring three plumbers’ estimates but has not done so.
Instead of analyzing Joe’s problem with women in authority, you can stick to the observation: every meeting I’ve attended, when tough issues are discussed, Joe has spoken in a tone I that sounded to me like he was irritated; the president, secretary and treasurer are women.
Instead of thinking that “renters don’t care about maintaining the property”, I can make an observation: I’ve seen two different cases in the last year where renters left a lot of clutter in the back porch area.
Granted, in our society, this skill is not easy to remember to apply every time. But you can start applying this right away—tomorrow, and improve your skill little by little. You’ll enjoy your association work way more. And you’ll have more peace inside, as well.