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Of all the places, I'm hoping this is the best board to get some responses.

I might sound wimpy and, quite frankly, I am. I'm also ashamed and guilty about my situation, but shame and guilt hasn't been enough to make me act on things. It is currently fear that has me going.

The main thing is I am guilty of letting my anxieties and fear of confrontation (or being inept at staying calm during confrontation). I am asking for tips about how to make an important call to the building manager to get some information. I am trying to mentally work myself up to this and making the call this week. I need to make this call to get information from her and she's the only one (unfortunately) who can give out the information.

The problem here is that the building manager is a bully. She has the well-earned reputation for being a hostile attack dog personality and has been known to scream at people on the phone regardless of the merits of the issue at hand. She's brought at least two grown men to humiliating tears: this is not an exaggeration. I haven't talked to her in more than five years and even though I am entitled to the information about my residency history history (several professionals have told me that it should be a no-brainer), she is a huge power and control freak. She provokes some people into screaming back at her, or relieving vulnerabilities in whatever they are trying to negotiate or discuss. In short, she is a bully. Also if she doesn't take a call, she's well-known for refusing phone calls, or never returning phone calls, with only rare exceptions. She usually is unresponsive unless there is some sort of clear benefit to her, or people threaten to go to city authorities because we have no heat or hot water in winter (in NYC, this will get building management in huge and immediate trouble in terms of heavy fines).

So short of contacting a lawyer - which would blow my limited budget and probably would end up getting drawn out and too expensive for me to finish that way - can folks here give me *SPECIFIC* tips to handling a telephone call to a bully? I am also trying to write down different dialogues (or statements) in case I freeze up on the phone. Anecdotes welcome.

Thanks for help.

Lois Carmen D.
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