More Friends and Neighbors…

I didn’t intend to make this Love Thy Neighbors week, really I didn’t. I’m hardly one to go touting commandments. But yesterday’s post about befriending neighbors was a catalyst for a few stories I need to share.

I had lunch with a fairly new friend yesterday. As we settled in, she mentioned she had read the post and laughed in recognition as she had a similar experience with her upstairs neighbors. The one catch, though, is that in the time since she and her boyfriend met the neighbors and planned to invite them over for a drink, they’ve discovered their neighbors are loud. Really loud. Like, clomp around the apartment at 3 am and wake my friend up, loud.

“My boyfriend says he doesn’t want to befriend them anymore, as he won’t be able to resist asking them why they make so much noise.”

Noisy neighbors are one of those pet peeves that get people really riled up. I’ve lucked out in that department, as I live on the ground floor but rarely hear anyone walking above me. But just start to hint at your own neighbor-noise story, and people will inevitably chime in, trying to one-up you with their stories of sex noises, screaming fights, and indoor stilettos at 4 am.

Fast forward a few hours. I’m on a dinner girl-date with a brand-new friend. She starts to tell me about how she became best friends with her downstairs neighbor a few years ago. The friendship started because one day she arrived home to a bottle of wine at her doorstep. The vino was accompanied by a note: “Do you mind taking your shoes off when you come home? I can hear you downstairs when you come home late at night.”

Brilliant right? Win her over with some alcohol, then make your request. It seems so obvious—don’t we all know to butter someone up when we make a request?—and yet when it comes to noisy neighbors, people often wait to say anything until they are driven so insane that they cannot behave rationally. These stories so often end with banging on walls or angry notes, like this one:

Image: Passive Aggressive Notes

When my new friend received the bottle of wine and the kind request, she walked downstairs to apologize and invite her neighbor to share in the drink. They had a glass, or two,  and hit it off. The rest was history. (Well, until the neighbor moved. But that’s beside the point.)

See, friends can come from the unlikeliest of places. Like asking the upstairs neighbors to just shut the f** up already.

8 Comments

Filed under The Search

8 responses to “More Friends and Neighbors…

  1. Ashley

    Ok this is one of my favorite posts because I can REALLY relate to this. My boyfriend and I havent befriend any of the other owners/renters in or condo building because we are so annoyed by them. Just the other day someone placed a stinky air contaminator in the hallway. Everytime we came home/left/took the dog out we were disgusted by the smell. Most of the habitants of the building are weird but I do like the older couple that lives behind us. They are so sweet!
    I love the wine story and that note is hilarious.

  2. D*mn, why didn’t I think of the wine and the note 12 months ago?!? Good to know for the next loud neighbors… thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Wine definitely does the trick with neighbors.
    We were planning on having a big raging party on Memorial day, and the upstairs unit had been empty for a few months, up until a few days before the party was to go down.
    Since we never throw parties like that, we did not want our new neighbors to get the wrong impression and freak out.
    So we stopped by with a bottle of wine, introduced ourselves, and left it at that.
    No complaints on party night, or any other time we have had friends over until the wee hours, screaming at the top of our lungs to our portable karaoke machine. Success!

  4. Nico

    LOVE the wine idea.

    And I laughed out loud at that note. Hysterical!

  5. Wow – I’m just blown away by how friendly and direct the neighbor’s wine method is. It’s not often that you’ll find people who know how to handle something like that without being passive-aggressive! That right there was an indicator of good friend-potential…even if the message was ultimately a complaint, the method was A+

  6. I haven’t personally had any major issues with noise regarding neighbors, but I’m still currently living at home. However, even in the dorms at college I didn’t have issues really. But, as an resident assistant, I did have to deal with other people’s issues with noise. It was always my least favorite thing to have to do because most people just wanted direct confrontation about it, they didn’t want to feel like they were being told on.

    I do really enjoy the wine story/idea and will have to tuck it away for a time when I might need it.

  7. We have a different situation. For whatever reason when we are in our apartment we have complete silence. But step into the hallway and you can hear every. single. thing. that happens in all of the apartments. I live diagonally across from female dentist who, for whatever reason, I assumed was s straight edge book type. Boy was I wrong. I hear her having wild romps every time I take my dog out! It’s strange, hearing things from the hallway. I get kind of uncomfortable about it…like I feel like an auditory voyuer.

  8. Reminds me of an episode in ‘Friends’ with the old man who bangs on the ceiling with his broom.

    I love the idea of using a gift to ask ‘nicely’.

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