The dreaded noisy neighbor. No matter how thick the walls are, some people manage to create enough ruckus to get through to you. Handling issues at home can be a delicate matter. The last thing you want is a dispute with your neighbors to create an awkward living situation for you and your family. It’s tempting to blast off on social media or to file a complaint to the main office. Before you do, there are a few things you should try first.
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Pick your battles
First, decipher what kind of noise is irritating you. Can you hear a dog barking in the middle of the day, or does loud music boom constantly? Is it a couple fighting, or is it a child crying? Determine if the noise is something that needs to be addressed, and choose your battles wisely. For example, new parents frequently struggle to find a sleeping pattern for their newborn. Know that the child won’t be in this phase forever, and try to be patient with it.
On the other hand, if it’s a screaming match between two people, then it’s time to talk. Loud music, late-night parties, and booming TVs and video games are all things that need to be addressed as well. However, if there are only one or two nights out of the month that this happens, it may be best to leave it alone. But if it causes constant interruptions to your life, then you have some skin in the game.
Meet them in person
Before you lose your cool, find out who your neighbors are. There may be a life circumstance that you are unaware of that makes them unknowingly noisy neighbors. Once you meet them, you’ll have a better understanding of what they might be dealing with, which will give you more patience and consideration when you speak to them about the issue.
By getting to know your neighbor, you’ll also have a better idea of how to confront the issue at hand. If you are friendly and comfortable with your neighbors, the easier it will be to bring up an issue without coming across as aggressive. And by knowing you more, your neighbor may be much more receptive to your concerns. Find common ground and try to meet them where they are.
Go to them first when there is an issue
Before you go marching over to the Leasing Office or your landlord, try knocking on their door. It can be scary or intimidating to confront someone face-to-face, but generally, you’ll always have a better—and quicker—resolution. Most of the time, people don’t want to be a nuisance to others. They want to get along with the people around them, and they simply may not be aware of the issue. Chances are they’ll appreciate you bringing it to their attention directly rather than running it up the ladder without saying anything.
If you storm off to the Leasing Office to complain, it can create hostile feelings towards you, your family, and other neighbors. If the noise doesn’t change after speaking with them one-on-one, then you can get the Leasing Office involved. Notify the proper channels and let them know how it’s affecting you and how you’ve tried to resolve it peacefully. Once you do, understand that the landlord is now handling it, and you should take a backseat to the situation.
Stay calm and don’t become offended
Whatever happens, always maintain your composure. A quick way to look like an unstable jerk is to lose your cool. Stand your ground but have an air of maturity about you. The landlord will take your concern more seriously if you aren’t overly emotional about the situation. Tensions can run high, especially when you live in close proximity to others.
Some tips to stay calm during a confrontation with a neighbor include:
Always speak to your neighbor respectfully
Focus on a resolution rather than the tension at hand
Don’t respond to name-calling or anger
Reflect on what you’re going to say before you head over
Listen to their side of the story and be open to communication
Have a compromise in mind that you can suggest as a solution
Communication is key
Remember, communication goes both ways. If you spend time getting to know your neighbor’s situation, you also deserve to be heard. Let them know what is going on with your end, so you can try to find a peaceful solution. If all else fails, find noise-canceling devices to help you sleep, and to give you peace during the day. If you are ever unsure, then stick to the Golden Rule: Treat your neighbor how you would want to be treated—even when dealing with tough situations.
Related: Common Apartment Etiquette
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