How to Handle 3 Types of Nagging Neighbors Who Drive You Nuts

How to Handle 3 Types of Nagging Neighbors Who Drive You Nuts

Neighbors can be a blessing or a curse – here’s how to keep the peace.


By Kelly Bryant

Whether you’re set up in your forever dream home or in a more temporary living situation, one thing remains the same – you’ll have neighbors. We all have ’em. Some folks are a delight to have close by, while others … well, others not as much. But unless you plan on picking up and moving, those nearby dwellers are a part of your life, for better or for worse. Instead of letting them rattle you and your family, take charge of your own sanity with these helpful tips.

The Nitpicking Neighbor
Your sprinklers hit his car, your vehicle is parked too closely to his driveway (even if you’re well within the limits), your welcome mat is a visual stain on his day. Can’t do anything right? Chances are, you’re not this person’s only target.

What to Do: “A key point here is distinguishing between the issues that might affect your neighbor, like your sprinklers showering their car, and the things that don't – whether your parked car actually keeps them from getting out of the driveway,” says Juan Olmedo, a psychotherapist in New York City. “You can validate a neighbor's complaint by acknowledging it without agreeing with it. Making changes would depend on if they are actually impacted or not, like with property. It's also important to set boundaries when it's appropriate as well. ‘My welcome mat's not for everyone, but I like it.’”

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The Meddling Neighbor
Making small talk isn’t enough for this neighbor, who sets into an interrogation every time you cross paths and isn’t afraid to gossip with everyone else on the block.

What to Do: “This can be tricky, as sometimes we can all get pulled into gossip, especially when it's someone else being discussed,” says Olmedo. “Boundaries are key, whether it's acknowledging having limited time to have a conversation and sometimes starting off a conversation with, ‘I have just a couple of minutes,’ or setting limits with what you're open to talking about. It's important to know how comfortable you are with being assertive, whether it's your personal take on gossip (‘I don't like to talk about people’) or being the object of gossip and telling people how you feel about it (‘I'd prefer it if you don't discuss me with others’).”

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The Party Neighbors
Every day is reason for a festivity – and a loud one at that.

What to Do: “Here, a little prevention can go a long way,” advises Olmedo. “It can be helpful to have a conversation before you start to feel bothered by the noise and festivities, including mutual expectations of what's acceptable with social events (how late do celebrations go, when to turn down the music, etc.). It can be more challenging if you confront a neighbor when you're feeling heated or in the middle of their gathering and they may not be responsive, so timing is also key. Having that conversation with a level head and less heated emotions can make it easier to express what you want and have it heard. If that fails, it might be necessary to find out what the local ordinances are and what your rights are in your community for noise levels and disturbances.”

How do you handle neighbor disputes?


Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/flammulated


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