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The “I” Versus “Them” Trap for Homeowners Associations | HOAs


Take a minute or two to reflect on how you talk about your homeowners association.  Do you use “We are handling the issue”?  Or, do you normally refer to your HOA as “They are handling the issue” when talking to others?  If you are honest with yourself, this simple check is all you need to understand whether you think about your HOA in terms of “me and we” or “I vs. them”.

Successful communities combine ideas from all homeowners so they can explore the best options to meet the needs of all residents.  The association is a collective extension of each of its members. When there are repairs or problems, those are addressed by each homeowner as well as all of the neighbors.  When you consider that every member of the association is addressing the issue, then you start thinking “We” instead of “They”.

But, we’ve all been in situations where a ruling in the community didn’t go our way, and we felt that “They” didn’t have our back.  If you can distance yourself from the ruling, you can usually see why the ruling works for the majority of the owners.  By beginning to view your HOA members as  interconnected instead of separate, you start to think about yourself as “me” and the community as a whole as “we”.

Thinking collectively as “we” in the community generates emotions that are more positive, which translates to happier residents.  Associations where homeowners have made the leap to “me and we” have some common traits.

Homeowners reference the HOA as “we” when talking to others.

  • The Board and homeowners look at multiple sides of issues before acting.
  • Residents demonstrate more consideration for ideas of other community members.
  • Board members, project committees and residents communicate more effectively.

The next time that you find yourself using the “I versus Them” mentality in your community, stop yourself. Think about how to change your attitude to “Me and We” for your HOA.  Making a conscious effort to think “Me” and collectively “We” will soon become routine for you.  Don’t be surprised as others pick up on your “We” approach.  It only takes one person to make a positive difference in the community.

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