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:
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.