How to Handle Impolite Neighbors

Whether you have the picture-perfect house or live on the worst block in town, you are bound to run into bad neighbors. But before you call the cops, follow Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips for peacefully dealing with improper neighbors.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #219


I’ve said it a million times, but the best thing about being Modern Manners Guy is the amazing emails, tweets, and Facebook posts I receive from readers and listeners, with questions and comments about manners. Lately, the issue of impolite neighbors has been quite popular. From dogs leaving their “samples” on people’s lawns, to loud music blaring at all times of the night, to lawn mowing at 5AM (seriously?!?), it seems inconsiderate neighbors are everywhere.  .

Unless you live on a gigantic palatial estate, with no other houses in sight, all of us are prone to encounters with an improper neighbor…or two…or three! So before you rip open your window to shout unpleasantries at your unpleasant neighbor working on rebuilding his 1977 Pontiac Trans Am engine at 6AM, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for properly handling unruly neighbors:

Impolite Neighbor #1: The Yeller Family

Allow me to paint a picture of the Yeller Family, just in case you don’t have the good fortune to have them close by. The Yellers are the ones who don’t need a phone. Instead, they yell at the top of their lungs to others in their house, so everyone can hear their conversation. And usually it’s a fight of some sort. Oh, but the Yellers never split up, they always remain happily unhappy together, in yelling bliss. The Yellers do not care if it’s 7AM or 11PM.

When I was growing up, the Yellers lived across the street from me and the whole neighborhood was just waiting for them to move out. Sadly, they didn’t and it seemed there was nothing we could do but tolerate their insanity. Or was there…?

So how do you quiet the Yellers? For starters, you have to realize that you’re dealing with crazy people. I know, it’s not nice to call people crazy and heck, in the light of day, they may be perfectly fine citizens. But when you fight every single night so loudly that the whole street can hear you…well, that’s crazy in my book. Sorry. And so because of the Yellers’ tenuous grip on reality, you have to treat them with kid gloves. Approach one of the family heads, like the wife or husband, with a treat of cookies, a cake, or a pie. Bring it to them saying you made too much so you’re offering it to the neighbors, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. (It’s a set-up, folks.)

Chat for a bit about the weather, work, or sports, and then sneak in the issue at hand. Try this:

“I’ve been working some late hours at home and I couldn’t help but overhear you talking pretty loudly the other day. Do you think that maybe you could keep it down after 9PM? I need the windows open for my allergies and can hear you pretty clearly.”

Make sure to put the blame on yourself. Say, “I know, I know I’m being difficult and asking a lot, but I’m just really crammed at work and need all the concentration I can get. Sound cool?”

Will they listen? Maybe. Maybe not. But they will think about what you said. And possibly even think twice about broadcasting their next fight to the rest of the neighborhood.