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What to do about annoying neighbors

Posted at 1:40 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 15:40:43-04

Annoying neighbors can be more than a nuisance. They can make your home life downright miserable. Here are some tips for dealing with the annoying neighbor.

The Peace Offering Conversation: Your first line of defense is going to be a direct conversation. The best way to approach people is with kindness.

-Find a small token you can take with you to offer your neighbors. Baked goods are a great option.

-Start the conversation with a positive. In ANY conflict, starting out with a positive statement is always the most effective way to ensure that defenses of all parties are lower so that the conversation goes as smoothly as possible. Starting with something like 'I love what you`ve done with the garden' or something else that is light and complimentary.

-Make the complaint as soft as possible. Let`s say your neighbors are loud. You can say something like: 'It seems like you guys like to have a good time. I really like that! I am wondering if we can talk about the noise level as it has been waking up the baby once we put her to bed'.

-Ask if there is anything you can do to be a better neighbor. Don`t assume you are the epitome of a perfect neighbor. By inviting your neighbor to also give you feedback, you acknowledge that you want to make sure you are also being considerate and are willing to also make changes if necessary.

The Firm Conversation

-When the soft approach doesn`t work, you may need to have a more direct and firm conversation.

-Check your emotions at the door. The more heightened emotions in this type of situation, the more likely the conflict is to escalate and possibly turn into a counterproductive argument.

-Practice the 3 Fs: Firm, Friendly, and Fair. Be firm in setting the boundary, stay friendly (or at least neutral) in your tone and mannerisms while also being fair, and being willing to make compromises if possible.

The Distance and Ignore Tactic

-Sometimes people don`t respond well to requests or feedback and they continue to engage in their annoying behavior. If this is the case, the second line of defense is going to be holding a boundary and ignoring annoying behavior.

-Ignore the annoying behavior. Don`t feed into the behavior by engaging in conflict with your neighbor. This may increase their annoying behavior, especially if they are trying to get a reaction from you.

-Use coping skills to deal with your own stress, anger, anxiety, and other feelings and reactions to the behavior. Coping skills could include deep breathing, imagery of a calm place, listening to soothing music, and having a person to whom you can vent about the situation.

-Explore your resources. If the behavior of your neighbors is crossing boundaries and violates city ordinances, you may have grounds to contact authorities and let them deal with the situation.

-Also talk to other neighbors. There is power in numbers. They may be experiencing similar feelings and who may want to stand with you in talking to the annoying neighbors or even contacting authorities if necessary.

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