Ah, home sweet home, where you can relax after a long day in the office. That is until your annoying neighbor starts driving you crazy again.
What are you supposed to do? Sometimes, we want to retaliate, call the police, or just up and leave. But these don’t usually make the problem go away. Instead, they make it worse.
So, if you’re struggling with an annoying neighbor, here are some essential tips to help you stay sane and address it with aplomb.
Can You Live with Your Decision?
Sometimes, we get fed up with annoying neighbors (and rightfully so), and instead of dealing with it properly, we let everything bubble up inside until we can’t take it anymore.
No matter how you choose to deal with your neighbors, it’s important to remember that they’re probably going to be your neighbors tomorrow, and next week and probably next year, too.
When it comes time to address an issue, it’s important to ask yourself if you can live with your decision. Or, perhaps the better question to ask is, can you live with how your neighbors will respond to your tactic?
Asking yourself this question can help you gauge what the best approach is.
Your neighbors might be annoying now, but if you make the wrong move, you could end up with an even trickier situation on your hands.
Take Time to Befriend them and Build Trust
Your neighbors can be more considerate and thoughtful of you if you’re already on good terms with them.
So, take time to build a relationship with them, even if it’s just a neighborly one. You can do this by offering to mow their lawn the next time you’re doing yard work. You can offer to walk their dog, take in their garbage bins or even collect their mail if you know they’ll be away.
If you’re feeling extra indulgent, make an extra dozen cookies and offer them some of the “extras”. Or, if you planning to enjoy a beer on your porch, invite them to join you.
Always Give them the Benefit of the Doubt
Whether you’re on good terms with your neighbor or not, they still may not realize how their actions impact you.
Maybe they let their dogs out at odd hours and the barking keeps you from sleeping. Maybe their parties are too loud. Maybe when they’re in the heat of an argument, they don’t realize that you can hear every word.
Whatever the problem may be, always give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they don’t realize that they’re being annoying.
If you take this approach, you won’t be so angry and irritated when it comes time to talk to them.
Being good neighbors is a mutual exchange, so if you’d like your neighbors to be pleasant and considerate, you have to be the same. If your home is being renovated, let them know about any noise and dust along the way.
If you’re going to have a party, let them know and give them your phone number. That way, they can call you directly if you’re being too disruptive.
Plus, they understand that you’re willing to keep it down if things get too loud.
Pick Your Battles
Of course, we all want to have neighbors who never bother us. But living in close proximity to people comes with inevitable compromise.
That being said, try to be fair and not nitpick everything they’re doing wrong. When it comes to addressing what annoys you, pick your battles wisely. Are there some things you can let slide and ignore?
For example, will darker blinds, or a soothing sound machine do the trick for creating a calm, quiet atmosphere at home even if your neighbors have outdoor lighting and music playing?
Another thing to do first is to keep track of the issue. So, before you decide to confront your neighbor, start recording what’s bothering you.
If you track everything with dates, times and photos (if necessary), you’ll start to see whether or not it’s a serious issue and if you have a strong, objective case to present to either your neighbor or the local authorities.
Try Talking with Your Neighbors
Sometimes, the very best way to handle annoying neighbors is to just talk with them. How you choose to communicate with them can make all the difference, too.
By choosing to be open, honest, kind and firm, you may be able to solve the problem without having to resort to courts.
First, prepare what you’d like to say and be sure you don’t attack. Instead, let them know that their behavior is bothering you. You could soften the blow by offering a solution.
For example, if the activity isn’t harmful or hurting anyone, ask them to just do it at a different time, or in a different area so that it doesn’t annoy you anymore.
Another tip is to call or text them to schedule a good time to discuss everything, but try to discuss the problem outdoors. You can meet in your front yards to discuss everything. This can prevent arguments from getting out of hand.
If you discuss the problem and come up with a mutual solution, you might think the problem’s solved. But then, you may notice that they’re not implementing the solution. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to follow-up and ask them again.
Unfortunately, neighbors can take advantage of other neighbors, so be firm and show them that you’re not one of those neighbors.
Be Prepared for Retaliation
Hopefully, you and your neighbor will get along after you voice your complaints, but the truth is, sometimes, your neighbor's pride can be hurt and they might act out, retaliate or become passive aggressive.
How can you address this? Ask yourself, are there trustworthy neighbors you can contact? You can go to them and see if they’re experiencing similar problems.
You can also let the problematic neighbor know that if their disruptive behavior continues, you may choose to contact the local authorities.
If your neighbor is engaging in dangerous and/or illegal activity that threatens your wellbeing, don’t be afraid to go straight to your local officials to learn what you can legally and safely do to address the issue.
In an ideal world – or neighborhood – we all want to enjoy our lives without being disturbed. If you find that your neighbors aren’t being courteous and civil, try these tips to improve your situation.
Do you have an annoying neighbor? If so, how do you deal with it?