How to Ignore Toxic Neighbors and Should you?

An illustration of a brick building with six windows, three to a row, and people standing inside five of them. The first person is a blond white male wearing a red sweater. The second person is a white male with brown hair, wearing a green t-shirt. The third person is a dark haired female, sitting on the windowstill, wearing a red jacket and green pants. The fourth person is a red-haired female, wearing a navy blue sweater. Her window has a tub decorated with plants and ferns. The fifth person is a white male with dark curly hair and a beard, wearing a yellow long sleeved shirt. He is waving at the others.

One inevitable fact when living in a house or an apartment is that you will always have neighbors. Sometimes you hardly know your neighbors are there. It’s great when the people next door become lifelong friends. But as life sometimes goes, you don’t get to pick your neighbors and what you find next door could turn into the least favorite people you know. In fact, they might be so disruptive that they are difficult to tolerate.

Do you ignore it or do you do something about it?

First of all, you might assess if you could unknowingly be the source of the conflict. Are you a good neighbor? Is the source of strife unintentionally caused by something you did? A little self-reflection never hurts when evaluating the source of a problem. When you’ve ruled yourself out as the source of conflict, then you need to decide which approach is the best for you and your situation.

For many people, the last thing they want to do is to start a confrontation with people they don’t know. If the source of your angst happens to live in the place across the hall or right next door and neither one of you intends to move anytime soon, ignoring the situation may be the easiest option.

For noise problems, would using a white noise machine help? Blackout curtains not only help with energy consumption, they can also buffer sound. As well as area rugs and wall hangings made from softer materials such as canvas, or decorative soundproof wall panels. Yes, they make stuff like that.

If the problem is bigger than coping with noise, there are ways to work towards nonconfrontational resolutions. Try striking up a friendly conversation. Get to know them. It’s always easier to talk to someone that you consider a friend. When you have a better understanding of your neighbor and the world they live in, you may find they had no ill intentions. Besides, having neighbors you can borrow an egg from when in a pinch is nice too.

Two doors, one yellow, one green, stand closed side by side. They have brass doorknobs set in the middle, have brass letter slots, and are numbered 31 and 33 respectively.

Try the kindness route even when the other person seems to lean towards being the spiteful type and doesn’t deserve the kindness you are capable of giving. If it doesn’t soften their approach, a lot of the time it will help you manage your feelings into something less unpleasant and will help you keep a cool head when dealing with someone that is determined to bring out the worst in you.

If the issue with your toxic neighbor is that they are always in your business unnecessarily and won’t leave you alone, then perhaps ignoring them completely is the place to start. Setting boundaries is important when you are done engaging with someone who is being irrational.

Once it has come to the point where you’ve tried to ignore it, you’ve tried to buffer things by being friendly and no amount of kindness seems to work, there are other options. When the issue is too big to handle on your own, you can go to someone that can act as a mediator such as the landlord or building manager.

However, if your troubling neighbor is violating the law, don’t attempt to intervene or negotiate with them. Contact the authorities. That being said, that should not be your first action if they are not following rules and policies set by management. If there is a zoning or ordinance law that is being violated, be careful about getting the authorities involved in that situation as well. That is a serious step so don’t take that form of action lightly. That would be a situation to discuss with management.

If the situation with your toxic neighbor is getting out of hand, especially if the issues have become extreme, it would be helpful to take some notes on altercations complete with dates and times. If you can take pictures or videos safely of said behavior towards you that will help your cause. If there are witnesses, ask if they will provide their name and number so you have plenty of information to back you up. However, do not hesitate to call the authorities if you don’t feel safe or you know your neighbor is breaking the law and you’ve tried everything to protect yourself.

Typically, things getting out of hand between neighbors is not normal. Having neighbors in apartments can be as enjoyable as you want it to be. By engaging with the people who enjoy engaging with you, it will nurture the sense of community where you live.