Preventing Conflict With Your Neighbors
Unless you live out in a rural area or in the woods, chances are you’re going to have to deal with one or many neighbors. Some people are fortunate to get respectful, friendly neighbors while others are not so lucky. Below are a few tips in dealing with neighbors in every step of the process.
After you move in
When you or your neighbor is new to the area, try to get to know them. No, you don’t have to be best friends with them but being on good terms with your neighbors is step one to a nice neighborhood. Knowing your nearby residents well enough to say hi or casual conversation helps in case you ever need to borrow a cup of sugar or run over in case of an emergency. It will also help in the event of an issue you need to discuss.
When a problem arises
Communicate. It’s a simple word and a simple concept, but all too often is over looked. When a problem arises, try to calmly discuss it with your neighbor. They probably don’t realize there is any issue or disturbance. Politely and directly bringing it to their attention will often help subdue or eliminate the problem. Passive aggression rarely makes any gains for a solution. The same goes for issues you may be causing as well. If you’re going to have a party or do something that may be a disturbance, let your neighbor know a head of time. That way, they will call you before or instead of calling authorities. If there is a continuing problem that communication isn’t fixing, start documenting times, dates, and photographs. These may help in the future if the disagreement escalates.
When all else fails
If there is something illegal happening at your neighbor’s residence, such as domestic violence or another serious matter, the best thing to do is let the police handle it. If the dispute is escalating and civil appeals and warnings are not working, consider further action. If you’re in a homeowner’s association, contact the management to see if they can help curtail the issue. Taking further steps such as getting a lawyer to write a letter threatening legal consequences or reporting problems to the police could end up being expensive and make the issue worse, so use this when all else fails.
Remember, everybody is human and makes mistakes. Nobody wants to fight with their neighbors and associates, so try to be understanding and communicate. Reader’s Digest also has many suggestions on steps to take when dealing with difficult neighbors.