So, have you ever felt this way before? Has your neighbor been a challenge for you at times? Their kids, behavior, noise, barking dog, junky yard, warming up a snowmobile at 5:30 am… and that’s just all in one week? =)
Well, as long as it’s not on a Sunday, I should be able to go over and get some “Slug Satisfaction” to make things fair….right? Stop…Let me help you prevent a broken hand, as well as a felony of assault on your record.
There are many experiences that happen to us that are “Unfair”. Living in a community with houses very close by to each other, creates situations for some of that unfairness to become evident.
We all have different standards in what we might feel is acceptable behavior. Late night noise is a common one that leads to others irritation. Friends gathered in a back yard, telling stories and having fun is harmless, but, at 11:30 pm when that fun time outside has just woken up our kids, it now has become an issue.
My first thought in dealing with neighbor issues is to recognize that we are all different in personalities, expectations, and relationships.
Secondly, a neighborhood is always developing into something… a community. It can SUCCESSFULLY evolve, when you and I are involved in that development. Frequent conversations are essential. But let me give you a hint that will make these conversations more successful.
When you talk to the neighbor about your concerns, timing is very important. When you are in a moment of being “Pissed –Off”, you will likely make things worse, or say things that you might regret. Approaching someone who is surrounded by his friends can be a bad time as well, as it can escalate into “a testosterone thing”.
To get that person by themselves and have a conversation is the right thing to do. Perhaps start off with why you like them as neighbors. Let them know that you feel like they are someone that you can talk to when things need to be worked out. Then talk about the details that you feel are a bit inconsiderate. Let them be part of the solution to created peace in “the hood”.
Kid issues can be the most challenging. Parents most often will see things and defend their child before considering all of the evidence. This causes instant division between the parties, leading to unresolved problems, and bad feelings.
When confronted with a kid issue, you and the other parents should take the assignment of being made team detectives to resolve “the crime” that has been committed. Reassure each other that you both want fairness in how things are handled. Then go to work. Talk to your kids about what they know. Then, get with the other parent and begin to put the story together. Allow the guilty child to take responsibility. Encourage them to say they are sorry… go with them. Discuss a resolution with the other party. Then do what is necessary to make things right.
Having the child take ownership is life changing. Praise them for their honesty, and desire to make things better. If it was a mistake, go easy on them. Having to say you’re sorry to an angry man whom you have just broken his car window is punishment enough.
You neighbor will see the way that you resolve problems and respect you for promoting fairness… This will make things easier for the next time something happens.
Communication and working together as a team will resolve most of your neighbor issues. Start with these ideas. And for those neighbors who are jerks, and could care less about you and your family… well… that’s a topic for another day.