There’s always one… that one difficult neighbor. The person who always has an issue or complaint, whether it’s maintenance; your yard; or your music is too loud, the list is endless. Crafty complainers will conjure up frivolous issues; cite Florida law even when they have no legal background! While some neighbors may be attorneys others keep their attorney on retainer just to write threatening letters, because there’s always something to complain about.
When a Board or Annual Meeting is scheduled the crafty complainer can’t wait to attend, its sport for him (or her). What about the Board member who thrives on power, false power, but power to them. How do we deal with difficult neighbors who make us soooo angry?
Anger physically effects your body. When angry, your body temperature and blood pressure rise, your heart rate increases. These physical reactions strain your body systems and can lead to heart attack, stroke and digestive problems, among others. Do you want to succumb to these ill effects due to a difficult neighbor?
So, how do you deal with a difficult neighbor?
Save yourself first, approach an issue calmly, with kindness. You may not receive the same treatment but you’re in control. Before responding to a threatening letter or phone call, breathe and process the issue – wait 24 hours before responding. No need to respond in the heat of the moment. You already know your neighbor is difficult and you are not on their time clock.
When calm you have the opportunity to rationally think about the issue. See all sides, their point of view. Maybe your neighbor griping about your tree encumbering their property happens to be a retired arborist. An alternative approach to him is to ask for his input, a remedy to the situation because they know more about tree-trimming than you do.
The annoying neighbor is an attorney and they’re complaining you violate the rules. Appeal to her ego; ask for their expertise to interpret the rule for clarity.
“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
This sounds a bit “kumbaya” but when we approach calmly with an open mind, we better see the other side to the story. Perhaps the arborist or the attorney really has no issue with you; they just want to show off their knowledge and skill. When asked, they get to boast, and achieve exactly what they wanted. They feel better, respected and acknowledged by you.
So, what do you achieve?
You’ve avoided anger; confrontation; and the ill effects anger has on your body. Stress chemicals you would have produced no longer threaten your state of physical health and well-being. You’ve avoided discomfort when passing your neighbor in the street. Your environment is calmer, peaceful, and happy.
So the next time you encounter the annoying neighbor breathe, listen and give yourself some time to process the issue. Better to be proactive than reactive.