Ask Bob: How Do I Handle Conflicts with Neighbors?


What if you don’t get along with your neighbors?


Dear Eugene,

In regard to your question, two solutions come immediately to mind: (1) Tell them to move (2) shoot ‘em. Neither do I recommend. Then what?

You can initiate a conversation with them and determine where the conflict lies. Perhaps then, you can find a solution or a middle ground, which, of course, means compromises on both sides will be necessary. If, for example, you find that you are partly to blame, then, by all means, try and make amends and hope the other party does likewise if they are at fault.

I would advise that you put the problems in order and deal with the least of them first. If, for example, either of your TVs or stereos is too loud then, for goodness sake, turn down the volume. It doesn’t take a rocket engineer to figure this out.

Now, some tougher questions. Do you and your neighbors differ, perhaps in religion and/or politics? These are, indeed, challenging differences, especially religion. I’d stay away from that subject, if at all possible.

Politics, however is a different matter. It’s kind of hard to avoid, especially today. If you can discuss it dispassionately and in a rational way go ahead. Both sides might actually learn something. Being a political science major, I personally enjoy discussing politics. But please, don’t allow an argument go so far that a gauntlet is thrown down. Agree to disagree.

It’s up to you and your neighbors to determine how to resolve matters. Everything, including religion, I suppose, are worth discussing if it will help hinder conflict. And remember compromise, mutual respect, and understanding are the keys to putting any misunderstanding to rest.

No doubt, there are more issues that may affect you. However, Eugene, with an intelligent and unemotional approach combined with reflection, mutual understanding, and again, the willingness to compromise, they can be overcome.

Now, I’m no big fan of the United Nations, but it does bring together, however reluctantly, people who really don’t care much for one another. Differences may or may not be resolved, but at least they’re talking and not shooting. I don’t anticipate that you and your neighbors will become bosom buddies, but you can at least can grow to respect one another as, well, neighbors. Talking honestly about your mutual problems is the most effective deterrent to hatred, misunderstanding and conflict.

If none of the above solutions meet your needs, I suggest you refer to those offered in the first paragraph.

Just kidding!

Good luck in forging better relations with your neighbors.


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