How to Deal with Bad Neighbors

    Summer is just around the corner. With extended nights and long summer days, you’re more likely to bump into friendly, or unfriendly faces in your neighborhood. If you’re lucky, maybe you get along with all of your neighbors. Maybe you host annual picnics and wave to each other as you drive by.

    Or maybe you live next door to people who make your life miserable. Parked cars on the lawn, children running through your yard, and dogs barking at ungodly hours of the night. If this sounds like your neighborhood, read on:

    Be Friendly First

    Have you ever heard the phrase “kill em’ with kindness” before? People respond better if you approach the situation with a friendly attitude. If you’ve found yourself in the middle of a spat with a neighbor, take a deep breath and take the high road. You will not be able to avoid them daily and even if you do you’ll spend your days ducking in and out of your car and timing the moments you go to get your mail so you don’t run into them. Not fun. So if your issue is merely a matter of personality clashes, it’s best to fake it till you make it.

    And if you have new neighbors you haven’t met yet, take that first step and say hello early. Introduce yourself and your family and find out a little about them. Try to stop any tension from happening early by establishing an open and friendly relationship.

    Address Issues the Right Way

    It’s 2am and the neighbor’s new puppy is going bonkers across the street. You’re staring at your ceiling rolling your eyes and contemplating knocking on their door to tell them the nerve they have for keeping you awake. Don’t. Wait until the next day, or maybe even that weekend when your tension has subdued a bit and you can address the manner in a civil way. Try to offer a solution with your complaint. For instance, “Hey John, I heard your new puppy barking all night this week. I’ve read that if you place a blanket over their crate it can help soothe them. Have you tried that?”

    Whatever you do don’t wait too long. Because if you let what bothers you build up too much, you’ll end up exploding one day, maybe at 2am.

    Be a Good Neighbor Too

    Let’s not forget that someone may think YOU are the bad neighbor. Take a good assessment of your daily actions and how you maintain your house and consider what someone else could be bothered by. If you realize that your car headlights are beaming right into your neighbor’s bedroom window when you leave for work at 5:30am, you may want to address that with your neighbor. Anticipate what they may complain about and try to find a solution.

    “I just realized this morning that I may be waking you when I leave for work every morning. I hope that’s not true.”

    By taking that step forward and admitting something you may be doing wrong, you are allowing yourself to then come back to them if their kids are leaving toys in your yard down the road.

    Know Your Neighborhood Rules

    A lot of Homeowners Associations can take care of bad neighbor issues for you. Does your next door neighbor have a jungle growing in their front yard? Leave their trash cans out on the sidewalk all week long? That could be a violation you can report and they would be none the wiser that it was you. To figure out what you can do, go to your local city or county homepage or try a site like

    Whatever the issue is, remember it’s always best to deal with your situation quickly, in a friendly manner (or as friendly as possible), and try to reach a resolution that you both can be comfortable with. No one wants to go through the process of moving because of bad neighbors.

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