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How to Deal with Bad Neighbors in College


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Living with unpleasant roommates is hard. You live in such close proximity that it’s difficult to deal with and potentially confront the issues that grind your gears. Having unpleasant neighbors, however, might be even worse. Unlike your roomies, you don’t see your neighbors every day, and you might not even know who they are. Confronting them requires that awkward walk across the hall or even upstairs, to ask them to keep their feet as soft as they can, or to turn down their obnoxiously loud music.

Dealing with unpleasant neighbors definitely isn’t easy. You have to be somewhat diplomatic to ensure that you don’t make them want to stomp around their floors and cause havoc during your study time for that terrible Biology final in the morning. So how do you go about it the right way? Read on to learn.

So, here are some helpful tactics to ensure a peaceful living space:

  • First off, try to be polite. It takes a lot of strength to not have a fit when you have noisy neighbors. I know that all you want to do when you are awoken at three in the morning is to bang on the wall until your hand hurts, but trust me – the aggressive approach is not helpful. There could be a perfectly good reason why this person is being disruptive, so start by giving them the benefit of the doubt. It’s better to catch flies with honey than vinegar, right?
  • Be brave. I know it’s daunting, but if there is a real problem, you need to knock on your neighbor’s door and talk to them. It’s college – people do go out at night and come back late. However, just letting that person know that you can hear them could probably change their actions. It never hurts to try! They probably don’t even know that they are being so loud, so communication should be your go-to first strategy.
  • Try to be anonymous. If the problem persists, and talking to the neighbor again doesn’t work, you’ll have to get someone else involved. Try going to the RA of that room’s floor and tell them you are being affected by your neighbor’s penchant for 4am cartwheels. You tried to resolve the problem by yourself, and now you have to use the official channels to get things settled. The UN would be proud. And don’t worry: RA’s are trained to deal with noise complaints. They will probably thank you for coming to them and not taking drastic measures like banging a hole through their floor/your ceiling.
  • Hope all else doesn’t fail. If this person just isn’t listening to your pleas, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Get their RA to come with you to their dorm and let them know that it’s the last straw. This, of course, is not the best friend-making situation to be in, but if you’ve already tried to resolve things the nice way, then you really don’t have another choice. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their living space, and you are no exception! Don’t settle for a bad living situation – stick up for yourself and, with the RA on your side, you will be able to resolve this conflict and resume enjoying your room.

Your thoughts?

Do you have pesky neighbors? Any embarrassing stories involving your neighbors? Comment below and share!

Posted on on February 3, 2013 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , ,

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8 Responses to “How to Deal with Bad Neighbors in College”

  1. 1
    February 3rd, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    At my first college apartment, I lived below four guys. It was the worst- I’m pretty sure they started wrestling with each other once at 1am.

  2. 2
    February 3rd, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Noisy neighbours is one thing….what about housemates who never flush the toilet, tell you not to use one of the two bathrooms because it wastes electricity, and who drunkenly threw up one night and then tried to hoover up the mess?? (Yes, these are three separate people who I have lived with previously on three separate occasions. I may never house-share again!)

  3. 3
    February 3rd, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    My recent half-joke/half-serious suggestion to a friend complaining about an upstairs neighbor with a penchant for blaring music 24 hrs a day and hiding when he saw her knocking on the door was to flip the breaker since they shared a power box.

  4. 4
    February 3rd, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Seriously listen to the trying to be polite part! I was in a war last year with my neighbors because I tried the aggressive route

  5. 5
    February 3rd, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I had awful neighbors above me once and they just constantly blasted their bass all night long. I had to get the cops involved, their parties were too crazy. I really didn’t feel too bad about it though, I tried all other options and they were just obviously being rude.

    Thankfully, I’m out of there!

    All I can suggest is if you like peace and quiet, think maybe outside of the option of living in a dorm or “student apartments” situation. If you go to college in a city, it is really easy to find apartments run by private management or whole houses that you can live in with 3-4 other roommates!!

  6. 6
    February 3rd, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    As an RA myself, I’d like to stress the fact that trying to deal with the situation on your own (in a respectful mannor) is GREATLY appreciated. Although we are trained to deal with conflict, peer-to-peer resolution is a lot easier than when we have to get involved. Your neighbors will respect you more for coming to them yourself and asking politely for them to quiet down than if you come complaining to your RA without trying to work things out on your own.

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