How To Deal With Difficult Neighbors

difficult neighbor

When we’re fantasizing about our dream home, we tend to focus on things like.. How many bathrooms will it have? How many cars will fit in the garage? Will it have a fireplace? Carpet or wood floors? Things of that nature. We usually don’t give much thought to the people who will be living within close proximity to us. It’s not uncommon to find out after you’ve signed all of the paperwork that you now have to deal with difficult neighbors.

What is a difficult neighbor?

A difficult neighbor would be any neighbor who disrupts another person’s right to peace and safety on a continual basis.

For example, the guy next door blares his car stereo every morning/night while the rest of the neighborhood is sleeping, although his actions are annoying he cannot be declared a difficult neighbor until after he’s been nicely asked to lower the volume so that other’s may sleep. Who knows, if you bring it to his attention he may surprise you and comply with your request. Maybe he thought everyone loved hearing Drake first thing in the morning.

What if the behavior continues? Now what do I do?

The loud music continues even after confronting the neighbor. Or maybe their kids are picking flowers out of your garden bed everyday. Perhaps, they block your driveway or allow their dog to poop in your yard without cleaning it up. How do you handle it when they will not comply with your request to knock it off? Here are a few tips for dealing with a difficult neighbor:

1. Acknowledge them when you see them.

It’s really sad when people can live so close to each other yet, whenever they see each other they don’t acknowledge it and just keep going about their business. When you see your neighbor, smile and wave. Say hello, if possible. If they don’t respond, maybe they didn’t hear you. But if it happens again, it might just be bad manners on their part.


2. Be sure to remain calm at all times and display a pleasant demeanor. 

Being the new kid on the block, the last thing you want to do is make enemies. Make sure that when you are communicating with your neighbors that you don’t come across as confrontational or bossy. Be as pleasant as possible and tell them how much you appreciate having such good neighbors. That way, by giving them such an esteemed compliment, they will want to live up to that expectation.


3. Do something nice for them.

Go old school and bake a cake and take it to them. Make a homemade card and give it to them. Anything kind that you can think of would be a plus. Just don’t go overboard and cross any boundaries such as washing their car without permission.

4. Invite your neighbors over.

The best way to get to an understanding with your neighbors is for you to get to know them better and vice versa. Therefore, invite them over for dinner or a cookout or something. Maybe invite their kids to your child’s birthday party. (Only if they get along though, you don’t want to ruin the party). Once they see that you’re not the bad guy, maybe things will start to get better.

5. Talk to the property management

If you live in an apartment or any kind of dwelling that has management, talk to the property manager and see if there is something that s/he can do to help the situation. They may be able to mediate between you and your neighbors and come to an agreement. Or possibly move you to another location.

Things you should not do:

6. Do not immediately immediately take legal action

Unless someone has been physically harmed or your neighbors are being purposely malicious, hold off on getting the law involved. There’s nothing that will start an all out war faster than being served a subpoena to appear in court. However, there may come a point where that will be the only choice you are left with. So until you get to that point, document all incidents and dealings with your difficult neighbor. It will be useful to prove your case in court.

7. Do not seek revenge. 

It is very easy to want to get back at your neighbor for making things difficult for you and your family. Resist the urge to do so because it will only make things worst. They will probably look for ways to get back at you and the cycle would become a never ending one.

Always look for ways to be the best neighbor you can be. In the end, that is what will most likely bring out the best in those around you. If the behavior is so bad that nothing will help, it just may be time for you to pack your things, once again, and try your luck elsewhere.





One thought on “How To Deal With Difficult Neighbors

  1. Great topic to tackle. I think the only thing I would add to your list is a reminder that, if a neighbor attempts to be friendly, to be friendly back. In congested areas, many of us are so focused on maintaining our privacy that we shut out strangers. Television shows depict friendly neighbors to be synonymous with busy-bodies or worse. The paranoia fuels estrangement which in turn fuels resentments and hatred. It took me many years to realize that attempts to protect myself by not allowing my neighbors to know me amounted to nothing more than a futile talisman against evil. Connections to others make us stronger than insulating ourselves against others.

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