So, your favorite apartment neighbors are moving out… and new people are moving in.
What if they are horrible? What if you just don’t get along?[find-an-apartment]
Slow down, worrier! While some anxiety about getting new neighbors is completely normal, the unknown neighbor really should not be feared.
Master a few clever techniques to manage the situation, and give these new folks a chance to become your new favorite neighbors!
Think the worst
We all harbor an understandable fear of the unknown. If you have settled into a positive pattern of coexisting with neighbors, then a situation that changes that dynamic could indeed feel a bit threatening.
Neighbor anxiety, or any kind of social anxiety, is often best managed by facing your fears with eyes wide open. Or closed, if you want to try a little visualization.
Imagine the worst neighbors you could possibly have. See them parking their car in your space after work. Smell the stinky food they cook. Hear the head-banging music they play every night and the shouting matches they have on their patio at 4 am.
Okay, that sounds really terrible. But ask yourself how likely a negative scenario like that will come to be. And if it did happen, what would you do about it?
Well, you’d call security, notify the community manager, buy earplugs — maybe turn on some of your own favorite music to drown out theirs.
In short, you could handle the situation, but it likely won’t happen at all if you take the next step and begin a relationship with your best good-neighborly skills.
Place your best foot forward
The keys to a good neighbor relationship are recognition and respect.
Let a new neighbor see your face and get acquainted. When you meet a new neighbor, introduce yourself, maybe even offer a little help getting to know the area, if the person comes from a different city. It wouldn’t hurt to bring over a new houseplant or something that will be a daily reminder that you are a sweet neighbor who should be appreciated. Keep in mind: it’s hard not to like the nice person who baked banana bread as a housewarming gift!
Subtly set expectations
Remember that you may not be the only one who is anxious about this new living situation. You might have a nervous neighbor next door who is dealing with culture shock, wondering how they should behave in this new community.
Do them a favor and ease their fears, while letting them know the real deal. A comment like “I think you’ll really like how quiet our community is” lets them know to keep the volume down. And “I’m your neighbor, Susan, with the red Honda over there” stakes your claim on your parking space. You can help the new guy or gal feel comfortable by subtly explaining the rules.
Sure, the unknowns of a new neighbor situation can be a little scary. But if you take control of the situation with some proactive friendliness, then you’ll put both your fears and theirs at ease. Nip potential bad blood in the bud by being, if not an actual buddy, then the kind of neighbor that you’d want to live next door to. (It’s amazing what a little banana bread can do!)
Photo credit: Shutterstock / Alexandru Cristian Ciobanu