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Want to Be a Better Neighbor? 15 Things NOT To Do

Charming, a tad quirky, or full-on annoying - what do your neighbors really think of you? With a few rare exceptions, the majority of people are not overtly malicious toward their neighbors; most are just a bit careless. As a matter of fact, the brunt of neighbors deemed “annoying” by others probably have no idea of their less than stellar reputation.

But there are some specific signs that you too could be among their ranks. If you’re guilty of any of the following habits, you could be unknowingly annoying your neighbors.

1. Doggie trouble
Annoying Neighbor Dog

Dogs are friendly and adorable, and some breeds indeed happen to be naughtier and barkier by nature. This is understandable, but it’s no excuse for you to leave the dog alone in the yard for hours, barking and running after every squirrel, passing car, or delivery person.

And if your yard is unfenced, you could get into even more trouble. I dread to think of the danger your dog may encounter, but even if everything goes well for the pooch, your neighbors will not like seeing an unsupervised dog roaming the neighborhood or having to clean up dog waste.

Don’t leave your dog unsupervised, and when you’re walking it, be prepared to clean up as much as is necessary. Otherwise, you may start noticing hostile glares toward you.

2. A parking mess

Annoying Neighbor parking

Remember, road rage doesn’t stop the moment you step outside of the car door. And parking tends to be a big issue in many neighborhoods, both with and without a garage.

A personal pet peeve of mine is when people park at the end of their driveways, and the car’s back is blocking the sidewalk. Another mystifying occurrence is when neighbors who have a long driveway and a garage on their property still park on the street, sometimes for weeks or months. If you have a garage, why not use it for its intended purpose (and not only for storage)?

People living in neighborhoods with only street parking encounter even greater issues, as some feel that it’s okay for their friends to park in their neighbor’s space. “It’s only for a few minutes,” right? Even so, few things can be as annoying as arriving home, only to see that an unknown car has blocked your parking space. Surely, annoyance is warranted in all of these cases.

3. Your farming endeavors

Annoying Neighbor chickens

Just a few decades ago, having domestic animals like chickens or ducks in your backyard was absolutely acceptable. Surely, fresh organic eggs and meat must be a real treat, keeping chickens in an urban or suburban neighborhood might be perceived as antagonizing.

Noises, unpleasant smells, and the very presence of farm animals right next to your fence are no fun, especially when you’re getting nothing from them as a neighbor. It is for these reasons that we recommend that you ask for your neighbor’s approval before purchasing domestic animals. Also, check the local municipality; they may have limitations on the types and numbers of animals allowed.

Related article: 18 Annoying Things about City Life


4. Loud noises

Annoying Neighbor lawn mower
Mowing the lawn at 7 AM, blasting music all day, rambunctious kids, and noisy pets all have one annoying thing in common - they’re all way too loud. We know that you probably don’t enjoy hearing some of those noises all day yourself, but neither do your neighbors (especially not early in the morning and late at night).
Limit the ear-popping levels of noise to the confines of your home whenever possible by keeping windows and doors closed and turning on loud music and equipment only during the day. This way, you’ll surely have the support of your neighbors, even if you’re not the quietest family on the street.

5. Too much holiday cheer

Annoying Neighbor house decorated with holiday lights

Everyone knows that one house in your neighborhood that’s always decorated for Christmas, Halloween, or what have you… And while driving past a house full of holiday lights and decorations is certainly great fun, living next to such an attraction is not necessarily a pleasant experience. All the lights shining into your neighbors’ bedrooms may be giving them headaches and insomnia.

There’s nothing wrong with holiday decorations, but if the electricity bill rivals that of a university or a hospital, you might want to keep some of the Christmas lights in boxes this year. Your wallet and the environment will thank you, and so will your long-suffering neighbors. But even if you insist on keeping the elaborate light display, there’s a solution - put your moving decorations and lights on a timer and set them to turn off at 10-11 PM.

6. Unsupervised kids

Annoying  neighbors  kids in the street

As a kid, you likely spent all day cycling, playing ball or tag, and making up games of your own with other children in the neighborhood. We look at these distant times with nostalgia too, but today, most parents are petrified by the very thought of letting kids play in the street, and for good reason. Streets are busier and hence more dangerous too. And some neighbors are just tired of their driveway turning into a hangout; that’s a fair point too.

When your kids need playtime, take them to a local park or playground, or make them stay in your own backyard or driveway.

7. Ignoring boundaries

Annoying Neighbor mailbox
In this case, we’re not talking about social boundaries (although you should certainly be mindful of those too), but actual physical property lines.
Whenever you’re planning to upgrade your fence, build a pool, or plant a garden, talk to your neighbor and maybe even consult a legal expert. That’s because property line disputes are one of the most common reasons for neighbors to sue each other. As the great poet Robert Frost thoughtfully remarked, "Good fences make good neighbors.”

8. A garish color scheme

Annoying Neighbor
With a few exceptions in historical neighborhoods where every architectural alteration is strictly controlled by law, the color of your home is your choice. That being said, your neighborhood association may actually have a list of colors deemed acceptable for painting a home’s exterior, and it’s considered respectful to check with the association or your immediate neighbors before you pick up cans of lime green or hot pink paint and decide “to go bold or go home.”

9. Don’t leave the trashcans out too long

Annoying Neighbor trashcans

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, but there’s at least one smell none would describe as remotely pleasant - the odor of trash heated up by the sun. Even if you’re very thorough and clean the trash cans every month, don’t think that your trashcans smell like roses. When you roll them out for pickup too early and take too long to bring them back in, the smell will be as offensive as it gets to every passerby.

The rule of thumb is to take no longer than one full day to roll the trashcan back into the garage. This way, you’ll be keeping the neighborhood cleaner and prevent any wild animals from feasting on your trash and defacing the neighborhood.

Related article: 30 Habits That Are Annoying Your Partner


10. Postponing yard chores

Annoying Neighbor shoveling snow

The three rules of good yard care are - regular yard waste cleanup, keeping plants at bay, and clearing the snow. If you can accomplish these three things regularly, you’ll be everyone’s dream neighbor.

When it comes to yard waste cleanup, we’re referring to regular leaf blowing and disposing of piles of leaves and branches. While the yard waste is waiting to be picked up by the cleanup company, keep it tidy and make sure that passing cars and people won’t get hurt.

Similarly, it’s important to regularly trim and remove weeds from your yard plants, including trees. You’d be surprised how many neighbor disputes are caused by unpruned branches, overgrown weeds, and plant waste that was blown to the neighbor’s lawn.

And finally, shovel or blow the snow everywhere, including the sidewalk adjacent to your home. Of course, the leftover pile of snow shouldn’t end up on your neighbor’s property or near their sidewalk either; or else, you’ll end up gaining an enemy in the neighborhood.

11. You’re letting too much show

Annoying Neighbor hanging laundry

Every neighborhood has a few people emerging in nothing but a bathrobe to pick up the paper in the morning, or those who exercise shirtless or prefer to tan without lines. And we get it, we all want to feel as free and comfortable in our own homes as possible.

But your freedom should (ideally) not get in the way of your neighbor’s comfort either. Otherwise, you may annoy or even offend your neighbor. So try to keep private areas private, if not for your own sake, then for the sake of your friendly relations in the neighborhood. And keep in mind that, if you let too much show, you could be breaking the law.

12. A few other, no less annoying things:

Annoying Neighbor playing music outdoors
  • Using someone’s yard as a shortcut.
  • Asking too many personal questions, intruding on the privacy of others.
  • Leaving notes instead of speaking to the neighbor face to face.
  • Ignoring shared duties.
  • Holding social gatherings all too often.
  • Smoking too close to your neighbor’s building entrance or window.
  • Using overly powerful motion-sensor lights shining into a neighbor’s window.

H/T: Bobvila, Lifehacker

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