How to Live Peacefully with Annoying Neighbors
Meet My Noisy Neighbors
One of my favorite things to do is to relax on my sofa and to mindlessly sit in front of the TV, but on many occasions my noisy neighbors seem to get in the way. Whenever I look for quiet, they are sure to come with their loud booming voices, screeching garage doors opening and closing, the deafening sound of a high-powered vacuum cleaner, and flip-flops click-clacking around. So welcome to my world of annoying neighbors. Sometimes it feels like a parade of noisy oddballs.
There's the woman with the loud booming voice who never understood that important childhood lesson, "Use your indoor voice." She speaks as if the person she's talking to is hard of hearing and if they are at a crowded football game.
There's the nervous guy who keeps running to the laundry room, to his car and to the mailbox in his flip-flops as if he was trying to catch a thief.
There's the angry guy who stomps to the garage to do who-knows-what in there late at night. He tries to be quiet, but when it's late, any use of a power tool can be heard, especially if the garage is only a few feet from your window.
And then there's the nice man who obsessively has to clean his car around the clock, using his vacuum cleaner nonstop, getting out every last piece of dirt from his carpet fibers.
Lest we forget, the emotional couple who screams at one another late at night and runs up and down the steps reminding me of a scene from the Streetcar Named Desire.
These are my neighbors, nice for the most part, noisy much of the time. Sometimes they are like a parade full of noisy circus performers who are occasionally entertaining but generally annoying. How do I live with them without pulling my hair out and without creating a neighborhood war?
What Not To Do About Noisy Neighbors
It is very easy to react wrongly or inappropriately in the heat of the moment when you are waken from a sound sleep or if you are trying to work at home or if you are in the midst of an enthralling movie. My strong advice is not to react in the moment in the following ways.
- Don't open your window and holler out obscenities
- Don't get revenge later by banging their front door with a hammer
- Don't hire a Polka Band to play music in front of their door during late hours to wake them up
- Don't slash their tires
- Don't approach them in an angry tone of voice with a hatchet in your hand
- Don't kick the living daylights out of them
- Don't call the hit man your Uncle Vinnie suggested
- Don't make threats of violence that will get your locked up
- Don't gossip or vent to other neighbors about the noisy neighbors
- Don't get into a wrestling match in the middle of your apartment complex
Dealing with Annoying Neighbors Poll
What intervention works for you in dealing with annoying neighbors?
8 Steps to Deal with Bad Neighbors
- Get to know each other. At least to develop an acquaintenship if not a friendship.
- Head off problems before they start. If friends are coming over and they might be noisy--inform your annoying neighbors so you model respect.
- Document especially annoying behaviors so you won't be caught off guard when you confront the people and they ask you, "When did this happen?"
- Talk it out. Be open and direct and assertive--but not disrespectful.
- Inform your landlord.
- Get a mediator. Possibly the landlord or a mutual friend or if available, a city or town mediator.
- Call the cops if a law or ordinance is being broken.
- If damage, take the case to small claims court.
The Buddhist Approach to Dealing with Annoying Neighbors
Seek to reduce suffering
Wanting the best for the other person
Seeing both sides
Things to Remember When Dealing with People
- You get more with honey than vinegar
- Be assertive but not aggressive
- Have compassion and understanding
- Don't make a threat (landlord or police) unless you are prepared to follow through
- Realize that you can be an annoying neighbor as well
- Try to model respectful behaviors
How am I to Deal with My Annoying Neighbors?
To be honest, writing this Hub has helped me to deal with my parade of noisy neighbors. Lucky for me my neighbors do not break any laws on a regular basis in order for me to call the cops. Frankly, they are just ignorant and self-absorbed and they are not mindful of other people in the apartment complex. But at the same time, I am no angel. I know for a fact that at times I annoy my neighbors--given such a small and tight living space it is inevitable to create some racket as time goes on.
The way I cope with my neighbors is to realize I am not perfect either, that they are not being noisy on purpose, that I can just close the windows, that I have the landlord to call when things get too noisy and the cops are always available if there is a law being broken or if the noise does not stop at night.
How do you handle annoying neighbors? Do you handle them with compassion or with anger? I would like to hear your feedback on this issue.