Sometimes neighbors are great. Sometimes neighbors stink. But the fact remains that you’re going to have to deal with them, one way or the other. Never is this more apparent than when your neighbor throws a loud party next door, on the very night you were planning on a quiet bath and some reading.
Our blogger Doug has already posted on how to host a party respectfully. But what if you’re the uninvited neighbor? Let’s go through some Do’s and Don’ts:
Consider the Frequency. If your neighbor has a loud party once every four months, it ends by 1 am, it’s always on a weekend, and the neighbor is overall very respectful, you should let it go. Neighbors are people too, and sometimes they want to blow off a little steam. Just pop in some earplugs before you go to bed, and call it a night.
Remember Reciprocity. If your neighbor can have a weekend party every now and again, sans problems, that means that she’ll be understanding if you do the same. So if you’re a little annoyed now, but you’re planning a party yourself two weeks from now … it’s time to chill out.
Be Friendly. Say you have the GREs the next morning and so you need a good night’s sleep. You may want to go over and talk to your neighbor. But before you bang angrily on her door, remember that she isn’t throwing the party to spite you – it’s just a bad coincidence. Had it happened last Friday, you wouldn’t have even been home. So when you talk to your neighbor, be nice. You’ll be far more likely to get what you want.
Don’t Call the Cops. This is a regular next-door party. Twenty people talking and dancing in a room will be noisy and somewhat intrusive to the people next door. That doesn’t mean the PD needs to get involved. By calling the police, you take a minor situation and escalate it A LOT – and likely make an enemy for life.
If you think the party’s getting a bit out of hand, or it’s still going on at 3 am and you can’t get to sleep, talk to your neighbor. Either right then, or the next day, when everyone’s had a chance to cool off.
If the neighbor continues to throw parties that run excessively late, or get out of hand, talk to her again, and tell her you’re going to talk to your landlord unless it stops – and follow through.
Don’t Leave an Anonymous Note the Next Morning. This doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s passive-aggressive, you don’t get a chance to talk with your neighbor or actually work through the problem, and there’s not a human face to the complaint. If the neighbor ever finds out you left the anonymous note, you’ll come off as ineffectual, wimpy, and as that jerk who left the anonymous note. No one likes such cravenness – and it’s unlikely your neighbor will be particularly considerate next time.
Ideally, you’ll have already introduced yourself to your neighbors, and be on “hi, hello” basis with them before any problems arise. It’s a good idea to learn your neighbor’s names and chat with them every now and again – not only will all of you start to feel like you’re part of a community, but it will make smoothing over any differences that much easier.
Admittedly, neighbors can sometimes be irritating, and getting to know them takes some work. But, like siblings, they’re also people you can’t avoid, whom you want to get along with, and who are occasionally in a unique position to help you tremendously in a way others can’t.
So, get to know your neighbors, and when the inevitable loud party happens, err on the side of calmness – or, better yet, be friendly enough that you’re already invited.