Small Apartment Living: The Neighbors

If you live/have lived in an apartment then it’s no secret that you live in closer quarters with your neighbors.  For most people, this is a downer.

And I get that.  We like our own space.  We don’t like sharing walls or parking spots or laundry machines.

But when it comes to apartment living, dealing with neighbors, both the good and the bad, is unavoidable.

We are fortunate enough to live in a small apartment building and therefore only have three “neighbors”.  We don’t share walls, but we do share a ceiling with the folks above us.  During our time here, we’ve experienced the best neighbors ever and those who are, well, interesting (?).  But whether or not your neighbors are the Cleavers or the most annoying people on planet earth, you have no choice but to deal with them.

So living so closely to your neighbors, even if they are not the most ideal, can be a pleasant experience if you allow it to be.  This may require more effort on your part.  But the peace you will have in your own home is totally worth it.


How to Get Along with the Neighbors

1. Meet and Greet.  This one is hard for my introverted self.  We just got three new neighbors in the past two months and my initial reaction is to scurry by them awkwardly on the sidewalk and murmur a brief hello and be on my way.  But this does no good.  I am so much happier when I go out of my way to introduce myself to new neighbors (whether they are new to the building or I am new to the building).  This makes the rest of your life living in the same vicinity comfortable and relaxed.

Also, don’t rule out the good old fashioned pie or cookie welcome gesture.  Let’s march our little hinnies over to our neighbors door and say hello with a yummy treat.  They will remember your act of kindness!

2. Deal with Issues Directly.  Someone playing their music too loud?  Or stealing your parking spot?  Or using your belongings located in the common area?  Talk to that person directly.  Do not tattle on the to the landlord…just yet.  Use tact and common sense to discuss the issue with them and explain where you are coming from.  Chances are, they do not realize they are causing the disturbance and will take action to avoid so in the future.  If they do not, however, then of course you can go to the landlord with your complaint.  But…

3. Pick Your Battles.  Don’t get your knickers in a bunch if your neighbors have friends over once in a blue moon and things get a little loud.  You’ve probably done the same thing before, too.  Try not to let the little things like the smell of their Indian food or the sound of their vacuum shake you up.  There are worse things in the world.  And those things might eventually come to fruition.  In that case, choose your battles wisely so you don’t becoming the building whiner.  Whiners are wieners.

if only all our neighbors were this cool.

if only all our neighbors were this cool.

4. Get to Know Them.  This doesn’t mean you have to have a pow-wow each evening.  But if you ever find yourself in a situation in which you can learn more about your neighbor, then take advantage!  Being familiar with the basics of their life like where they work, who their family is, what they like to do, etc. helps you to understand where they are coming from and who they are as a person (not just that guy who lives next door).

5. Be the Kind of Neighbor You Would Want.  The Golden Rule at its finest, people.  Act how you want them to act.  Don’t want to hear them battle it out until 2 a.m.?  Then don’t have a scream fest with your sig other either.  Don’t want them to throw ragers every Friday night?  Then you control your desire for the fist-pumping too.  Want them to help keep the common areas clean?  Do your part as well.  Sometimes, the simple act of doing what you are entrusted with doing will be enough to motivate your neighbors to return the same respect and consideration.  If not, well then at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re not a pain in the arse.

Now it’s your turn.  What are your tips for getting along with apartment neighbors?  Any tactics you’ve used for the ones who are a particular struggle?

Photo source


  1. I loved this post…we’re on the bottom in our apartment complex and have neighbors above us too. I think the worse incident was when the guy above us vacuumed two night in a row; once at 11:00pm and the other at 12:30am. Let’s just say I didn’t do #2, but went the next morning and “raised my concerns” to the landlords….awkward sauce the next time I see our neighbor who hasn’t done it since then.

  2. romancingreilly says:

    Such good points! Our neighboring apartments have been like revolving doors — neighbors moving in and then moving out. Although I haven’t been the best at reaching out and meeting all of them, I agree that it certainly has helped with the ones we did meet.

  3. Choose your battles indeed! If someone does something you don’t like, a kind word or note is usually enough to resolve the issue. Don’t blow up the first time someone doesn’t put their garbage in the right place.

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