How to Deal with a Problem in Your Neighborhood

How to Deal with a Problem in Your Neighborhood

Step 1: Assess the situation. When you live in close quarters, chances are your neighbors will annoy you at some point, just as you’ll annoy them. If they’ve committed a onetime offense—say, their dog pooped in your yard, their trash blew into your driveway, or they played “The Electric Slide” embarrassingly loud one night—give them a break. But if it happens with regularity, or if they’re doing something that can harm your happiness or property value, proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Nip it in the bud. If you’re friendly with your neighbor, give her a ring, or better yet, invite her over for coffee some afternoon. Without anger, judgment, or accusation, discuss your problem openly and honestly. You just might find that she had no idea she was bothering you and would be more than happy to change her ways. Or, she may just need a little help, so offer to chip in.

Step 3: If that doesn’t work, or you feel at all threatened, enlist help. Report the issue to the local authorities (anonymously, if you’d like) and ask your other neighbors, including any merchants, to do the same.

Step 4: Organize your neighborhood. Consider calling a meeting with your neighbors to discuss possible solutions to whatever problem is afflicting you. You’ll have a better shot at combating the nuisance (or danger) if you join together.

• If you get to know your neighbors in the first place, you’ll be better equipped to deal with any problems that may arise in the future.

• Never confront your neighbors in anger. If you’re too steamed up, have a martini, go to sleep, wake up happy, and then approach them the next day after you’ve chilled out. You never want to say or do something you might regret. After all, you have to live next to these people.