UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Advice with the Arts Editor: The most common frenemy, your neighbors

Saichand Chowdary
A woman enters her apartment. Photo by Saichand Chowdary / Mass Media Staff.

One of the first rules of leading a happy young adult life is to befriend your neighbors, and this is the first rule for good reason. Not having a safe home base to go back to is difficult and can make your life a living hell. Here are some tips for having a good relationship with your neighbors.

First, befriend them! If you just moved in, a simple introduction can go a long way. Maybe problems will arise in the future, and it’s easier to handle it if you have a relationship with them in the first place. If no problems arise, then perfect! You just made a new friend.

If you aren’t sure how exactly to talk to your neighbor, just smile in the hallway and go from there. A smile can turn into a wave and that can turn into a light conversation. Maybe invite them to something you’re doing with your friends this weekend or bring over cookies if you make too many. This can be the foundation for a great relationship.

Shy Girl from Next Door wrote in for advice on her neighbor. “I live next to a group of boys but one specifically has caught my eye,” she says. “He’s so cute and charming. I always see him on his way to the community bath, but I am too shy to say anything! Sometimes I hear his music and conversations through the walls, and we have so much in common! How do I approach him without seeming desperate?”

This problem is more common than you might think. Shy Girl Next Door, start by following the advice from above. Smile at him in the hallway just so he can see that you are friendly and approachable. 

When you’re ready to talk to him, just say hi! Tell him you live next door and you figured that you would introduce yourself. It’s short and simple. Everyone is looking to make more friends in their first year, especially in the first couple weeks, so this is completely normal. 

Maybe don’t mention to him that you hear his conversations through the wall, that might freak him out a little. The more you tell each other about yourselves, the more he will realize that you have so much in common. 

Also, don’t put him on a pedestal! At the end of the day, you don’t know that much about him and there could be some major red flags that he is hiding. As you get to know him, don’t put it in your head that this guy is perfect. Make sure he is a good fit for you as much as he is seeing if you’re a good fit for him. 

On the other hand, you could have serious problems with your neighbors. Annoyed Next-Door Neighbor writes in, saying, “Since moving into this apartment, I have dealt with noisy neighbors. I have met these girls in the hallway and they seem nice enough, but in their apartment they scream and shriek bloody murder. I’ve tried leaving them a note, but they never seem to take the hint. It’s making the living room impossible to sit in, much less try and do work in. I don’t think they’re in trouble or in pain, they’re just very loud and expressive. Any advice would be appreciated on how to combat this!”

Listen, I completely understand. My neighbors are loud as well. As much as leaving a note may have been well-intentioned, it might not have come across as so. Leaving a note can seem passive aggressive, and it might be hard for them to understand that their loud behavior affects real people. 

Start by talking to them, but don’t talk about your problems with them right away, just a simple conversation. You can try to get to know them better to understand what might be the best way to talk to them about it.

When you eventually talk to them about what’s bothering you, don’t be accusatory or passive aggressive with your tone. They will be less likely to listen. If they can put a face to the complaint, they might be more likely to listen rather than following the advice from a faceless note. 

If worst comes to worst, file a complaint with the City of Boston. More information is available on the boston.gov website under “Air Pollution Control Commission” then under “Noise in Boston.”

Whether you love or hate your neighbors, it’s always better to have a positive foundation to build on when it comes to addressing problems.

About the Contributor
Rena Weafer, Editor-in-Chief