An old saying says "Love thy neighbor," but this task isn't always easy.
There are various reasons why you'd be ready to erect a 30-foot wall between your house and the people who live next to you. You have the nosy neighbors who make a habit of knowing every detail of your personal life in the way a home inspection checks every nook and cranny of your house. Then, there's the noisy neighbors who like to have wild parties and blast music at all hours of the night. Let's not forget those residents who like to let their pets do their business on your lawn or dig holes in your garden.
As odious as these individuals can be, you still have to live near them for some time. Consequently, you have to find ways to cope before minor annoyances become major disputes.
Having good relationships with your neighbors is not solely about being friends with those who live around you. A united community tends to be safer, as neighbors are more likely to inform each other of threats. Besides, neighborly feuds are more of a 20th century thing, so follow these tips to diffuse any disagreements you have with your neighbors:
Establish a good relationship
Imagine you've never met Mrs. Jones who lives across the street, but she comes banging on your door to complain about your cute gnome lawn ornaments that don't fall in line with the homeowners association's bylaws. While she may be right, you won't be as happy about a stranger bringing this to your attention.
Now, put yourself in her shoes. If you have a complaint, it comes across in a more friendly tone if you have rapport with your neighbors. Take some time to become familiar with your fellow community members, and establish relationships where you're comfortable talking to each other about issues.
Remember this arrangement isn't just about you complaining. It's also about your neighbors feeling comfortable about talking to you, so be sure to mention you're open to feedback, as well.
Choose your battles
Certain disputes with neighbors are not worth a discussion. Sure, you don't like the loud celebration Mr. Lewis is having in his backyard, but it is 7 p.m. on a Saturday night when people tend to have these functions. Plus, you don't have to work in the morning, so why make a fuss?
If you become known for exploding with complaints often, your neighbors may become less willing to listen. Think carefully about whether their actions are truly excessive given the context.
Handle disputes like an adult
You've probably seen passive aggressive notes left on the work fridge that attempt to shame an unnamed sandwich thief into changing his or her ways and returning said sandwich to its owner. This tactic is not effective in a professional environment or your neighborhood.
If you have issues with neighbors, talk with them in person. This step goes well with the first tip, as physical contact helps with building rapport and is more well-received than an angry letter stuffed in a mailbox.
Be responsive as well as receptive
Believe it or not, you may be at the heart of some disputes you have with neighbors. Maybe the Shanahans are constantly in your business because you and your spouse tend to argue outside your home, or the Walkers are hounding you about your lawn because they want to sell their house soon. Consider what you can do to resolve the dispute and take action.