A vital component for creating a harmonious and thriving community is the quality of the relationships between neighbours. A disagreement between neighbours can mean the difference between looking forward to coming home or feeling dread as you pull into the driveway. While it’s naive to think that every neighbour you have will be the sort you want to invite over to watch the game or unwind with over a glass of wine, it is reasonable to aim for a respectful relationship that fosters a peaceful environment for all.
One of the most common issues that can arise between neighbours is noise, so we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips that can help you navigate through times you find yourself faced with loud music or a little late night revelry by taking a diplomatic rather than defensive stance.
But First Just Knock
The first thing to do when you are jolted awake by a neighbour at 3 am is ask yourself is this a “one off” or a frequent occurrence? If it’s a “one off” and it’s a weekend or it’s a once a year thing, then it’s reasonable to give your neighbour a “pass” for the offense. You can live through it for one night. However, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer in silence, a tried an true method of dealing with late night noise is the universal “courtesy knock”. It sends an effective signal to your neighbours that it’s time to “turn it down”. Beyond that, if the noise is becoming a regular Tuesday night and it’s interfering with your sleep then it’s time for a talk.
When it Doubt Give the Benefit
Now this is where things can go sideways if you aren’t conscious of how you communicate. Before you go barging over in a sleep deprived state it’s wise to take a breath and ask yourself a few key questions?
- Is my neighbour aware that this noise is causing a disturbance? Could it be that they just don’t realize that the noise is carrying?
- Is this noise being caused by a normal, time appropriate activity like young children playing in the afternoon or is it excessive in nature, like moving furniture at 1 a.m.?
- If I was my neighbour how would I like to be approached about this issue?
When first approaching your neighbour to have a discussion, don’t be aggressive. Give your neighbour the benefit of the doubt and assume that whatever they are doing is unintentional and they simply don’t realize there is an issue. Don’t assume they are terrible, inconsiderate people – assume they just don’t realize. Once you make them aware of the issue, it should be easy to resolve.
Face to Face is Best
The best approach to take with your neighbour is always to have a “face to face” conversation. Leaving a note can potentially cause more harm than good in that it’s almost impossible to predict how your neighbour will perceive it. A note is open for interpretation and you run the risk of coming off as “snarky” in tone which will immediately get their back up. Face to face communication is a much more effective, human way of relating where you have the opportunity to come up with a reasonable plan for resolution.
An example of this in the case of loud music would be to say “I don’t mind the music, but after 11 it makes it difficult for me to sleep and I have to be up early for work during the week. Would you be able to turn it down after 11?”
Don’t Get Your Back Up
In the event your neighbour responds to your issue with the classic “let’s turn the tables” tactic and takes the opportunity to point out how you’re not exactly the perfect neighbour either, it’s best not to get defensive. Is it a childish move? Kind of. Is it irrelevant? Maybe. Is it Valid? Possibly. Take a quick inventory and try to see things through their eyes. Admitting to something, even the most minor of offenses, goes a long way in evening out the playing field by effectively saying “hey, ok, I’m not perfect either”. The best response is to be genuine and say something along the lines of “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize. I mad a mistake.” Then quickly move on to resolve any issues in a respectful manor.
Be Proactive, Be Kind
Of course the best way to avoid any potential conflict with your neighbours is to do you best to be proactive in the consideration department. For instance, let your neighbours know in advance if you are having a party. Give them your phone number and tell them not to hesitate to reach out should the noise level become too much. And if you’re really feeling neighbourly why not invite them to drop by for a drink?
The bottom line is a little thoughtful consideration goes a long way in creating a harmonious community – if you know your neighbours have a toddler maybe make an effort to turn down the volume after 8pm, maybe don’t run the vacuum at 11pm? Kindness is infectious and can spread faster than the gossip about the waring neighbours on the 11th floor.
Of course if all attempts at a diplomacy with your neighbours fail, then contact the on-site Resident Manager to lodge a complaint and they will work with you to resolve the situation. You should never feel like you have to live with inconsiderate neighbours. Here at Realstar we believe your home should be a safe space to enjoy within a comfortable community setting.