By Ron Leshnower, About.com’s Apartment Living Expert
One key ingredient for enjoying your apartment living to the fullest is staying on good terms with your neighbors. This can be challenging, especially for apartment dwellers who have several neighbors living just beyond their walls, ceilings, and floors.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to take much time or effort to resolve problems amicably with your neighbors, if not avoid conflicts altogether. Here are some “dos and don’ts” to help you stay on good terms with those who live around you:
1) Do keep your neighbors in mind. Of course, you don’t want your habits and routines dictated by your neighbors. But don’t forget about common courtesy. For example, if you’re throwing a party in your apartment, try to keep guests from mingling in the hallway, which can disturb neighbors. Treat your neighbors the way you’d like them to treat you.
2) Do act friendly. You don’t need to try to win a neighbor’s friendship, but you should strive to act friendly and respectful. If your neighbors get the impression that you’re a nice, reasonable, non-threatening person, they’ll be happy that you live in their building and less likely to cause you any problems. Also, if you find a neighbor you can trust, then you have someone who can help you by checking your mail or accepting a package when you’re away.
3) Do maintain perspective. Problems with neighbors can easily make you feel angry or depressed. Instead of allowing these feelings to overwhelm you, focus on staying positive and doing what you can to solve problems effectively. If a neighbor’s actions have you seething, take a moment to calm down before you approach your neighbor about the problem.
4) Don’t make assumptions. It’s easy to jump to conclusions when a neighbor does something that bothers you. For example, if a new tenant moves in next door and starts to play loud music, you might assume this new tenant is being inconsiderate. But he might not realize that his music is so loud if his old apartment building had thicker interior walls.
5) Don’t rush the process. It may be tempting to complain to your landlord or even call the police when a neighbor does something to annoy you. You might think that involving a third party with authority will increase the chances of resolving a problem. Or, you might just feel apprehensive about a face-to-face confrontation with a neighbor. But, whenever possible, it’s best to try to resolve issues directly with a neighbor first. Your neighbor will appreciate it and understand that you’re trying to resolve an issue — not get anyone into trouble. Plus, if you do need to take it a step further and involve your landlord, you’ll be able to tell her you tried talking with your neighbor first.