Loud neighbors have been the bane of my existence since I was a child. Yet, nothing I experienced while growing up in Trinidad and Tobago compared to what I endured when I moved abroad.
New York City is known for beautiful skylines that cover a dark underbelly of rodents, pollution and a growing homeless population. However, those issues are easily overlooked when people are caught up the pace of city life. Unfortunately, noisy neighbors who go bump in the night cannot.
Apartment living is tough, especially when you’re flanked on all sides by people who seemingly hate peace. Still, learning how to cope with falling silverware and stomping high heels equips us with valuable life skills.
1. Address what bothers you.
It’s 2am and you’re enjoying those precious final hours of sleep before your alarm goes off. Suddenly, you’re startled by a booming crash from somewhere in your apartment. Is it a burglar or has that pesky mouse finally been caught in a trap? No, it’s your upstairs neighbor shuffling through her kitchen.
This situation is common in apartment buildings, and there are several ways to deal with it as long as you make sure you deal with it. Indeed, don’t ignore repeated incidents of your neighbor tap dancing on your ceiling because it will only continue. That’ what I learned from the many mornings I was shaken awake before dawn.
Write your neighbor a note to inform her of the problem or address her face to face. If she continues to be a nuisance, speak to your landlord, super or tenants association about the issue. Conversely, if your noisy neighbor is your landlord and she refuses to be quiet, contact your local police department. This will cause tension between the both of you but at least she will see how serious you are about the situation.
When you encounter problems in life, don’t shy away from them. Really, being quiet about such issues won’t make them go away. Thus, speak up and be bold to claim your peace of mind (and apartment).
2. Set your ego aside.
It’s easy to assume your loud neighbors have a vendetta against you when they make noise every time you try to rest or focus. However, their racket probably has nothing to do with you or that podcast you’ve been trying to record for the last three hours.
Your neighbors may not even be aware they are disturbing you. Hence, calm your threatened ego and give them the benefit of the doubt. Besides, by taking a step back to see the situation from a different perspective, you can forge a better relationship them.
Train yourself to respond to problems without mindlessly reacting in anger. Also, avoid assuming that everything is about you. By setting your ego aside and choosing to be understanding, you can prevent making situations worse.
3. Find creative solutions.
You’ve spoken to your neighbors about the noise, and you even called the police but the problem persists. Now, the next step is to get creative by finding ways to cope, at least until your lease is up.
Among your choices are investing in a pair of noise-reducing headphones or soft ear plugs for easy sleeping. Moreover, you can time when your neighbors are most active and schedule your work accordingly. Therefore, if you film YouTube videos, for instance, you can plan to record when they won’t be home.
Do not respond to your neighbors in kind. For example, banging on the walls or ceilings when they make noise will only irritate them and start a cycle of tit-for-tat. Furthermore, they might even make noise complaints about you.
By being proactive and focusing on creative solutions, you can manage your problems without giving in to helplessness. There will always be difficult situations in life but what matters most is how you deal with them.
4. Trust your tribe.
My neighbors started making noise as early as my second week in my Brooklyn apartment. I never heard domestic violence happening 15 feet above me before, and I had no idea how to handle the dragging furniture and breaking dishes. Thankfully, I had friends with years of experience with midnight bacchanal.
Dealing with life’s troubles can feel overwhelming but with the help of friends, you can learn new ways to cope. Additionally, when you don’t have personal contacts with the know-how you need, social media provides countless resources. As such, search for support groups on Facebook or turn to inspiring YouTubers who can guide you to solutions.
5. Choose to be grateful.
Your neighbors are obnoxious and refuse to quiet down no matter what you say. Regardless, you still have a place to live. That’s a more attractive alternative to sleeping in a subway station and dealing a shrieking train pulling up every 15 minutes.
Gratitude helps keep us grounded in the moment as we focus on the positive aspects of our lives. Loud neighbors provide a true test of our ability to find the good around us but once we access that level of awareness, we can apply to any circumstance.
6. Make it a game.
Turning my issues with my loud neighbors into a running joke on Instagram taught me to laugh at the situation. In fact, it we even incorporated the disturbances into episodes of the Trini Trent Radio podcast, during which Terry Torro and I used the noise as comical transitions.
Learn how to laugh at life. No matter what is happening around you, understand that it can all contribute to your joy either in the moment or in hindsight. Honestly, when I reflect on my days beneath my loud neighbors, I laugh at the incredible stories I know get to tell.
“Life has three rules: Paradox, humor and change.
Paradox: Life is a mystery; don’t waste your time trying to figure it out.
Humor: Keep a sense of humor, especially about yourself. It is a strength beyond all measure.
Change: Know that nothing ever stays the same.” – Dan Millman