How to Deal With Neighbors Who Are Bullies: Tips and Tricks
Joey McDowell is an experienced writer and editor originally from the Dallas area. A firm believer in a well-balanced lifestyle, Joey applies this forward-thinking approach as the editor-in-chief of The Idea Trader. He travels extensively to find compelling stories and insightful individuals.
One of the great advantages of living on your own is that you get to control almost everything about your living environment. The decor, your schedule, and cleaning habits are all up to you.
But of course there are certain things you don’t get to decide on, and that includes your neighbors.
For better or worse, you’re stuck with your neighbors until either they move or you do. And that means that everyone has to get along.
Unfortunately, there are some people who don’t put a lot of care into respecting their neighbors. They might have loud parties or play music and movies late at night, or maybe they leave garbage in the hallway.
No matter the specifics, living near disrespectful neighbors makes for a very difficult situation. And sometimes polite phone calls and knocks on their door aren’t enough to resolve it.
That’s where we come in. We’ve come up with a guide for how to deal with neighbors who are bullies. Try these tips for an easy and low-cost solution to your neighborhood nightmare.
Make a Proper Introduction
Even if you’ve had a few brief interactions with your noisy neighbors, it would be worth your time to try and make a better first impression.
Try knocking on their door, preferably during a relaxed time of the week, such as a Sunday afternoon.
Introduce yourself and don’t make any initial complaints. Giving them the chance to see that you’re a nice, reasonable person can be a great way to humanize yourself in their eyes.
In many cases, this will prevent them from being rude or disrespectful in the future. When they start to get loud, they may picture you and remember your reasonable request to be treated with respect.
Leave a Gift
It’s hard to stay mad at someone when they’ve just given you a thoughtful gift basket filled with wine and chocolate-covered pretzels.
You could also prepay for a pizza to be delivered to their door, maybe with a note that says something like, “From your friends in 205.”
It’s a simple act of kindness that has the ability to turn around a bad situation for the better. If the source of your conflict is a simple misunderstanding, this small effort can be an easy way to straighten things out and start over.
This is also a good option in general, even if your neighbors aren’t annoying and disruptive. Becoming friendly with your neighbors can help create a community in your building or neighborhood.
If you need help having your pets watched or plants watered during a trip out of town, your immediate neighbors are a great resource.
Mask Minor Noises
No matter who your neighbors are, a certain amount of sound and unwanted noise is ultimately unavoidable. People make noise, they just do, yourself included.
As a quick fix, think about purchasing a white noise machine or simply having a playlist of background music and calming ambient noises.
These kinds of sounds can help you sleep and also just help keep you calm throughout the day. And once you get used to the habit, you’re more likely to just ignore occasional sounds, regardless of where they’re coming from.
An easy way to encourage your neighbors to be more thoughtful in their day-to-day is to be a thoughtful neighbor yourself.
Try to limit your loudest activities to daylight hours and weekends. Keep the area outside your apartment or house clean and tidy.
If you’re planning a big party or get-together for the upcoming week, leave a message on your neighbors’ phones or in-person to say that you’ll be having a party soon and that they’re welcome to stop by if they want.
This way, you’ll be more likely to avoid noise complaints from your neighbors in the future.
Get Out of the House
If your neighbors only tend to make a lot of noise at a certain time of day or on a specific day of the week (preferably a Friday or Saturday), consider taking a break from the house or the apartment.
Head out for a nice dinner at a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Or maybe go check out a movie with some friends.
This definitely isn’t a long-term solution and won’t do much to solve the problem of bad neighbors, but it will give you a much-needed break from the situation, and a chance to regroup and see it from a different perspective.
Contact a Landlord or Neighborhood Committee
If you’ve found that nothing else works, it may be best to get some small-time authorities involved. And by authorities, we don’t mean the police.
If your neighbors have become so consistently disruptive that you can’t live your daily life, then, by all means, you should contact the local police and make an official complaint.
They won’t make arrests, most likely, but they can provide the motivation your neighbors need to tone down their activities.
But for the most part, all you need to do is get in touch with your landlord, building manager, or neighborhood committee.
In the end, you have a reasonable right to live your life in relative peace and quiet. It starts with your own actions but also depends on the actions of the individuals who just happen to live near you.
Human beings prefer to avoid conflict in general, but there are times when it’s necessary to make a request face-to-face.
Even if your battle against noisy neighbors isn’t going your way and is taking much longer than you originally thought it would, don’t lose hope. There's still a chance for improvement.
Maintain your self-confidence, stay committed to your cause, and never forget that your neighbors are people, too, and they want to be respected just as much as you do.
And always remember that building a local community starts with you. Chances are, some other of your neighbors also have similar feelings about the noisy ones, and they can be a great help toward smoothing relationships between everyone.