5 Ways To Handle a Rude Neighbor

Neighbors are a hard thing to predict sometimes. Despite your type of dwelling, your neighborhood, or your city, the neighbor lottery always ends up being more of Russian roulette. We learned this recently after making some exterior improvements to our home.

Our house has on-street parking only, and we have a truck parked right in front of our home. That truck, however, belongs to our neighbor a couple of houses down, who parked it directly in front of our house in protest of our new landscape lighting because he “doesn’t want his house lit up” although our lighting is no brighter than the streetlight also in front of our house.

So what do you do when your neighbors turn on you? How do you quell a brewing feud before it explodes into something of Hatfield vs. McCoy proportions? Here are some steps we’ve taken to try and remedy our brewing domestic dispute.

Ask Politely

Before we assumed the worst of our neighbors, who have been more than friendly up until recently, we asked our other neighbors if they knew what was going on.

We were more than willing to be understanding if there was more to the situation than met the eye. And when we next saw the owner of the truck, we asked him nicely if he could possibly move his vehicle back in front of his house, or to the off-street parking, he has behind his house.

Be The Adult

When faced with passive-aggressive actions from your neighbors, you pretty much have two decisions to make. You can either retaliate with passive-aggressive or just straight out aggressive behaviors. Or you can be the grown-up in the situation and address the issue directly in a calm, composed manner.

While retaliation might feel good and be awesome to fantasize about, the adult behavior will be the only reasonable way to settle the dispute with class and dignity. Besides, by taking the higher road, you’ll only help your neighbor to realize how ridiculous they’re being (at least you can hope).

Stay Calm

It’s easy for little things like this to be blown out of proportion into full-out arguments. Don’t let it. Be the bigger person, take deep breaths, and don’t let your anger or frustration with your neighbors get the best of you.

This may mean, as it does in our case, that the calmer person (if you live with other people like roommates or a spouse) will be elected to deal with the matter, even though you may be chomping at the bit to give your neighbor a piece of your mind.

If you’re on your own, make sure you take some time to really think about the situation before you storm out and only make the problem worse.

Be Open To Compromise

In our situation, our neighbor believes we should put lower wattage bulbs in our lighting. Our city street light is out, however, and without the wattage we have (which is under the city code’s guidelines) we can’t see our cars at night, and we’ve had a rash of vehicle break-ins in our neighborhood.

We’re willing to change out our bulbs once the city comes and fixes the streetlight and have said as much to our neighbor. We’ve even offered to purchase temporary block-out shades for their windows that they can use in the meantime.

Opening yourself to compromise requires you to see the other person’s perspective, and doing so will only make you a more reasonable person to live near, whether your neighbor can see that or not.

If All Else Fails, Call The Police

If ever at any point your neighbor makes you feel intimidated or directly threatens you or your property, or even refuses to discuss the situation with you in a calm manner, it is completely appropriate to get your local authorities involved. That’s part of what you pay your taxes for, folks — to have professionals on call to mitigate situations whether they be of the criminal or the civil kind.

DO NOT, however, call 911 if you are not under immediate duress. Look up your local precinct’s non-emergency or dispatch number and make sure to give as many details as possible about the situation as to assure the officers being called out of any potential threat or danger if there is any.


It’s also helpful to know your rights as they apply to your property and your local zoning codes and ordinances to help alleviate any further discrepancies between yourself and your neighbors, and your police department can help clarify those for you.

Part of our concern was for the safety of our children as we take them to and from the car — we had to park pretty far up the block due to bus stops and fire hydrants — and since our son has special needs, it’s quite a daunting task for both of us to handle, never mind just one of us as it will be once school starts again.

school bus

Due to this, we’re going to be looking into getting a designated accessible spot marked by the city to ensure we don’t have an ongoing problem of this kind. And when the city repairs the streetlight, we’ll be toning down our lighting a wee bit as well.

All of this to say being the bigger person and taking the higher road in neighbor disputes will help quell any future problems regarding an issue, and will hopefully return both of your homes to a peaceful and happy state.


You Might Also Like

  • oddjob3422
    March 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I totally disagree about calling the police to come over and settle a squabble between neighbors, when nothing illegal has occurred. Police are there to handle emergencies and investigate actual crimes, not to come over and act as parent to two squabbling children.

    Calling the cops on someone who is perfectly within his rights to park on the street where he does is abuse of the service, and an unjustified waste of public resources. It’s essentially a bully tactic to call in the cops on someone who has committed no crime.

    If there is an actual crime or code violation, then yes, do it.

    August 9, 2015 at 3:44 am

    Your blog makes a lot of sense. However, I believe that each individual must be handled according to his personality. Yes… there are situations in which the police should be notified. This serves as documentation should the aggressive behavior escalate and sometimes let’s folks know that you are serious. Often immature personalities such as what you described have had contact with the law at some point.
    There are some folks that you can talk to and others that you should not attempt to talk to about their actions. This could make the issue even worse. Remember that you are not dealing with mature people. There may be undertones of jealousy, envy etc. If the “neighbor” lived a couple of doors down, adding lighting to your home should not be an issue… This sounds more like jealousy…
    I believe that having your parking spot marked is an excellent idea. This should diffuse the situation. In dealing with passive aggressive personalities, I have also found that totally ignoring the behavior in addition to continuing to be the bigger person is effective. The behavior may get worse in the beginning because they wanted to provoke aggressive behavior in you and can not. After awhile of completely ignoring them, the behavior will tone down. It takes at least two to battle. Neighbors are not simpleminded. They are observing and most likely remaining silent. They will have a respect for you because you have not given a reason for them to disrespect you.
    Maya Angelo wrote “when people show you who they are, believe them”. I live by this principal. I too, am in my late 20’s, purchased a home next door to a so called disciplined service man that has become very jealous and envious. I am a single female living alone, doing my own home improvements and property maintenance. He is to lazy to even cut his own lawn but will detail his car… From attempted harassment to trying to spreading lies about my character, this man (twice my age), has attempted to create chaos for me with the hope of trying to force me into relocating. I am not going anywhere until I am ready… : )
    So, please understand that there are , most likely, other issues with the man that has made it a point to park in front of your door. How on earth is this “blocking the light” from his property??? True, maybe the street is free to the public but, there is also a such thing as consideration and courtesy for ones neighbor.

    • blynken6
      November 3, 2015 at 1:24 am

      Exactly Traci. And I have the same problem. My neighbor actually has a two car driveway AND a garage in the back of his house, but deliberately parks all 3 of his vehicles in front of my house (I have no off street parking) because he is irritated that I care for feral cats. He doesn’t like cats. I choose not play on his playing field with only one team, but it has not stopped his behavior. He mounts spot lights on his property shining into my bedroom and diningroom windows. He revs up his motorcycle in the alley while my husband and I are trying to have a quiet dinner. He stops in the alley as he drives by and stares in my patio windows. This guy is a thirty something family man, married with two small children. My husband is approaching 70 and I am in my early 60’s. When I asked him about what his problem was he told me that my husband and I are “f..cked in the head” – over and over again for ten minutes, and that covering all parking spots in front of my house is designed to “get our attention”. You cannot deal with this type of thing and a calm conversation will not resolve it.

  • Adam Rider
    February 9, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    NEW REALITY SHOW ON A MAJOR NETWORK HELPING NEIGHBORS WITH A FEUD!! Because of the proximity, neighborly feuds can be the worst…. It can make your living situation uncomfortable and take a toll of you overall health…. If you have this problem we can help and you can get paid for it!!! If interested, Email Adam at [email protected] with a brief description of your situation and how we might be able to help you.

    • Jamie Boe
      August 4, 2016 at 4:26 am


  • Emily Whiteman
    March 19, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Live in an upstairs unit with thin wooden floors. Literally every sound can be heard through the floor. Past dwnstrs neighbors would hit ceiling with a broom if I so much walked across my own floor, until my ex told them they were being ridiculous.
    Next situation is a bit TMI! Have lived in my unit for years and have neighbors that have been there perhaps three weeks. After losing a child to a failed pregnancy, we are trying again. Yes, the bed makes a little noise, and they can hear it, just as we hear them snoring, arguing, and hammering since they moved in. We haven’t told them our circumstances, but the harassment has begun. It’s a structural issue, and there’s nothing that can be done. Just wish people would talk to you civilly and get to know each other and one another’s situations before starting with the harassment and threats.
    This is why I REALLY want to own my own home eventually. Not that I won’t have neighbors then, but there’ll be more than a thin wooden ceiling between us!

  • MadameAzazel
    July 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Just like Emily, my family lives in an upstairs unit with thin floors. The lady who lives in the apartment below has been complaining to the landlord that we’re too loud. Our family is normally really quiet and the only time we could actually be considered “loud” is when our animals get hyper. They run down the hall and our dog barks because he has guard dog tendencies, we can’t do anything about that. It’s been going on for a while and it’s starting to drive us insane. She even yelled at my older brother just for going up the stairs! The neighbor and her friends also smoke pot, which is another issue we’ve been having as the smell can work its way into our apartment. She’s also been telling other tenants that she’s the “building manager” when the only thing our landlord has her do is vacuum the halls in our building. We don’t know what to do but it’s starting to become too much. Our landlord told us to let him know if it happens again, but he’s normally gone most of the day.

    May 19, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Di, I totally understand and agree with you… I have decided to keep things on a “hello” and “good bye” level with folks now. I just don’t have the time nor the energy to deal with foolishness. The next home that I purchase I’ll have plenty of land. I won’t have to deal with folks like that. I will say that fences make good neighbors. Trees and shubs with thorns are a plus. It’s a shame that we must do this to live in peace. …but, the people are different for whatever reason. The Federal Government may need to consider stronger harassment laws as this is the type of behave that has caused many good people to snap.