How to Deal With Nuisance Neighbors
Constantly asks you to sign a petition or join a cause. Unfortunately, the only free time you have to save the world is between 9:17 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.
How to deal: “Only do it if you feel like it,” says Emily Yoffe, the author of Slate.com’s Dear Prudence advice column. If you don’t, just say, “I wish I could, but I can’t. Thanks for asking.” Tell your neighbor that you’re committed to volunteering time and money for other projects and that you’ve already budgeted for the year, says Samantha von Sperling, director of Polished Social Image Consultants, in New York City. Don’t forget: She’s full of good intentions―she just acts on them.
Lets the grass grow and grow. Puts trash out days in advance. His lawn looks as if it’s ready for a tag sale.
How to deal: If you live in a neighborhood governed by an association, let it handle the problems. “Many have standardized letters and enforcement mechanisms that you don’t,” says Frank Rathbun, vice president of communication for the Community Associations Institute. If a neighbor’s grass needs to be cut, approach him with the possibility of getting in on a deal for a service that mows multiple lawns, suggests Julie Basic, president of the Johnson Village Neighborhood Association, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Say what worries you about the grass length (other than appearance), such as “I’m concerned because the long grass could be harboring ticks.” One way to find out whether the owner actually cares about a mess is to ask, “Any idea when this problem might be solved?” says Greg Hartley, a former army interrogator and the author of I Can Read You Like a Book: How to Spot the Messages and Emotions People Are Really Sending With Their Body Language ($16, amazon.com). “If they’re going to fix it, they’ll tell you when,” he says. “If they have no intention, they may get explosive.”