Avenue 23 Media
In a metropolis, we live with strangers almost side by side. And this is not a figure of speech: your bed and your neighbor’s bed may well be separated by just a thin wall! We constantly bump into neighbors in the elevator, hear sounds coming from them and not always pleasant smells …
I have already talked about what personal and public space is and how we react if it is violated. When we talk about neighbors, in addition to personal space, we can touch upon the issue of borders.
Personal space: How many meters do you need to be happy
Classic Interior Atelier
More often than not, complaints about neighbors boil down to one of these three points.
- Too much noise or noise at the wrong time: it can be frolicking children, barking dogs, clattering heels, loud music, renovations, noise at night, etc.
- Too many visitors: guests walk back and forth under the windows or near the elevator: more noise, smoking, garbage.
- Different values: For example, you think you can put a garbage bag out the door, and your neighbor is annoyed. Or a neighbor smokes on the stairs and is absolutely not going to reckon with the law, your requests, reasons and arguments.
In all such episodes, we can safely say that you consider your boundaries violated, and interests infringed. How can you calm yourself down and try to solve this problem?
Fotograf Camilla Stephan
The first thing to do, as soon as you find a surge of anger and irritation at a neighbor who again smokes, walks or sings (write down the appropriate meaning), is to calm down. And until then, do not rush to deal with your neighbor, because this will definitely not lead to anything good – even if you are a hundred times right.
Try special techniques to calm yourself down.
- Take four inhalations and four exhalations, but the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation. In other words, breathe in normally and exhale much more slowly. Count the number of breaths to yourself.
- Make contact with water: you can wash your hands, rinse the cup, just turn on the running water from the tap or drink a glass of water.
- Name the emotion that overwhelms you aloud – for example, “I’m just angry. I’m furious, I’m just shaking all over with evil. ” Sometimes verbalizing an emotion helps to reduce its intensity.
- Imagine yourself and your neighbor in the form of a caricature or a comic: a disgusting old man crumpled on the floor, and you, in a Batman costume about two meters tall, solemnly raise your hands in the pose of a victorious one (or something like that, equally life-affirming).
You may well allow yourself to be in emotion for a while and even seem to enjoy it. The main thing is to distract from the impulsive desire to run at this moment to the neighbor. And after you have coped with the initial influx of negative feelings, it is time to move on to the analysis.
Design Studio of Maria Borovskaya
Is a neighbor breaking the law by smoking in the stairwell or playing loud music in the middle of the night? The neighbors have forced the common hall with old furniture and, it seems, are not going to get rid of it? Or does a neighbor on the floor above prefer to walk around the room in heels, and her children, apparently, are left to themselves all day?
Consider whether the neighbors are breaking the law or just your notions of comfort. Agree that your neighbor has every right to watch a movie in the evenings, and he is completely innocent of the fact that the walls in your house are thin as a sheet of paper. Another thing is to hang the shelves with a drill early on Sunday morning.
If you are determined to go into an unpleasant conversation on your own, then the recommendations below will come in handy.
Steve Davies Photography
1. Determine your position: what do you want specifically. Formulate your problem as simply as possible. “I want my neighbor not to do this or that,” is the wrong wording. You have no right to control other people. Correct example: “I want to sleep in silence” or “I do not want to breathe smoke.”
2. Evaluate how your desire can be supported or governed by any rules. Even if there is nothing on this topic in the laws, there are always some common norms. Remember: a clearly formulated rule is your trump card and lifebuoy.
3. Think about the compromises you are willing to make. It is very likely that your neighbor will not agree to immediately and irrevocably correct his behavior, because if he is doing this now, most likely he has his own reasons.
Of course, he may simply not understand what makes someone uncomfortable. But it may turn out that he simply cannot do anything. For example, a neighbor knows that his dog is constantly barking when he just walks out the door. But how to wean her from this – she has no idea.
5. If the conversation still takes an aggressive character, remember about the “trump card and lifebuoy.” Ignore any emotional arguments from your neighbor and repeat your rule over and over again: “I understand your circumstances, but there are rules …”, “Despite this, there is still a rule that …”
Don’t be afraid to look stupid: on the contrary, this tactic will allow you to “not get turned on” in response to the emotions of your neighbor. He will not be able to take you away from the conversation, or “surrender” under pressure. A rule is a rule, you can’t argue with it whether you like it or not.
Interior design studio Polaris Design
It is still better to maintain distant but friendly relations with neighbors. Be sure to say hello to each other. Do not turn away if you accidentally bump into a bus stop. Offer a little help on occasion – for example, help an elderly neighbor carry a bag from the store if you meet there by chance, or hold the front door for a mom with a pram – don’t wait to be asked.
Throwing a party for the neighbors is sometimes great and funny. For this, however, you need a lot of courage and spontaneity, but if you are not the only organizer, then why not! It works especially well in the country or in sparsely populated areas.
In a word, it is up to you to be friends with your neighbors or keep yourself apart. But still, we are all human, and it often happens that even a very serious, as you thought, problem is solved by a simple and friendly (or neutral) conversation. Try it!
Tell us how you find a common language with your neighbors. What ways have you found to wait out the quarantine in peace and tranquility?
This is archival material. First published 2015, updated 2020