Society has a propensity for trying to take the easiest and most stress-free way possible, when dealing with issues in their daily lives. And I get that. Stress sucks. Confrontation sucks. None of it is fun, but if you live in modern society, there’s a safe chance youwon’t go through life without dealing with at least some of it, in some given way, shape or form. How you choose to deal with these things not only speaks to your character but could potentially dictate how certain life scenarios play out for you.
One of the best examples I can provide is a classic scenario that many people know all too well…. The noisy neighbour. Depending on how you live and where life has taken you, at some point, you may have had to deal with a neighbour who lives it up and parties at the wee hours of the night when you and your family are trying to sleep. If this were an 80’s “Brat Pack” movie, you’d likely see the adults next door waking up, shaking their heads in a combination of disbelief and ire, followed by trying to roll over or pull a pillow over their head.
Here’s the bad news: this ain’t a movie, so your situation needs to be dealt with. In the real world, this means that if you expect any sleep, someone’s going to have to go next door and ask those neighbours to lower the volume. Personally, I’ve been pretty lucky in this regard. When we moved to Regina, we were lucky enough to be blessed with a family that not only had kids close to my son’s age, but were accommodating in almost every way. We’d help each other clear out snow, take each others’ garbage bins to road on trash day…. I couldn’t imagine better neighbours.
They moved out, almost a year ago. The fear of who may move into a house that shares a tandem driveway with us was concerning, but we were once again blessed with a neighbour who communicates and has some understanding of good neighbourly relations. Our neighbours on the other side of our fence are equally as friendly and understanding. I even had them climbing a ladder in the pouring rain to clear out one of my gutters when I was out of town, to prevent water damage.
But for the sake of conversation, let’s say you’re neighbours aren’t all that and a bag of chips. I’ve had a lot of different neighbours over the years at different residences as my law enforcement career moved me around a lot. I’ve had quiet neighbours that I’ve basically never seen, neighbours who have been obnoxious and keep me up at night and neighbours that as described earlier, were salt of the earth people who would bend over backwards for others. But for this scenario, let’s say you’re woken in the wee hours of the night by your neighbours music/party…
In my experience, I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me to go get their neighbours to quiet down. It became my common practice to always ask the same question, “What did they say when you asked them to turn it down?” I would ALWAYS get the response that they haven’t spoken to them and that they expected it was my job to do so. Let that sink in for a moment. Your neighbours, the people whom you live next door to, are creating noise. Instead of trying to speak with them first, your impulse is to contact law enforcement. Brutal.
This is only one example of this TYPE of scenario and I’ve already been wordy enough on this post, so I should likely get to the point, which is that as humans, we usually prefer to have others do our “dirty work.” Now, maybe there are reasons behind it. Maybe you already have a bad relationship with your neighbour and you’re afraid of aggravating an already tense situation. That can happen. But for the most part, one should always make the effort to communicate with the person in question BEFORE escalating things.
I know a lot of people don’t agree with this thinking. Insert a joke about “Karens” and “Kyles,” here. But no matter what one is dealing with in life, one’s first step should always be to directly communicate with other person in question. There’s a saying about how one can only control what they say, not someone else’s reaction to it. And this is quite true. But if you approach someone with whom you have an issue with an open mind, calm demeanour and the ability to properly voice your concerns, you may be surprised at how often the situation may right itself.
This may not always be possible, especially if you’re going in with fire in your blood. In such instances, it may be better to give it some time before approaching the other person. Then again, every situation is subjective to the individual. maybe the situation doesn’t allow one to wait. And who am I to tell anyone how they SHOULD act? I’m not a therapist, but I do have the benefit of years of dealing with other people’s problems. But my ultimate point is this: you shouldn’t always start by asking for the manager. You shouldn’t always start by calling police. You shouldn’t always START by making a complaint, filing a complaint and/or complaining in general. You SHOULD start by communicating. If everyone did this, society would be a whole lot better off. Or go join the party, instead fo complaining about it. After all, life is short. Food for thought…☯️
2 thoughts on “Come To Me First…”
Ideally, I agree with you. This one is a tricky situation though. Alot depends upon at least the perception of the neighbor on the part of the complainant. If the neighbor is seen as violent, or their visiting friends are, the complainant won’t want to risk a confrontation. Granted perception can be crap sometimes… Remember our chat about practicing martial arts being seen as threatening.
More often there’s the Karen & Kyle scenario you hinted at. I did a bunch of posts last year about upstairs neighbors in our apartments that thought it was their god given right to run their large dogs all around the apartment and get them barking up till 3am. We knocked, they wouldn’t answer. Apartment management was too afraid of eviction lawsuits so they refused to do anything. 200+ noise recordings and they pretended like they never got them or they wouldn’t play. We ended up calling the police regularly. I felt bad about taking officers away from patrol routes and potentially faster responses to other calls, but it was all we could do.
In the end, since the police had to catch them in the act first hand, we were left with continually posting negatives about the apartments until they let us break our lease and we had to move.
And that’s where the important distinction needs to be made, right? In your scenario, you actually took that initial step and approached the neighbours. It’s their ignorance that caused you to escalate it to a reasonable next step. You also dealt with the property managers before moving on to police. I would label that as the proper chain of events that SHOULD occur in that scenario. But I’m referring to the ones who immediately jump to the step of contacting police without taking the initial steps first.
And yes, I probably should have addressed perception as it would play quite an integral role in how one perceives the issue. An 80-year old senior may not feel comfortable or safe leaving their house in the middle of the night to try and ask a bunch of rowdy partiers to keep the noise down. That’s just one example, of course.
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