How do I placate neighbors irritated by noise?
December 15, 2008 1:09 PM Subscribe
How do I peacefully coexist with irritable, belligerent neighbors?
posted by HeroZero to home & garden (27 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Behold my tale of woe:
I'm an obsessive pacer, sometimes. In August I got a note on my door addressed to "Upstairs Neighbor" from "Downstairs Neighbor" asking me to stop the pacing because it was so loud. I was really embarassed. I bought slippers, became hyper-sensitive about my footfalls. The soundproofing in the apartment is exceptionally poor between floors -- I've heard the downstairs couple fight many times. But anyway, I became more aware of it and there were no more complaints.
Cut to September. I get a new roommate who waits tables. She comes in late at night, and though I'd warned her about the downstairs neighbors, we received another nasty note (nota bene: they know our names, we know theirs, yet the notes are always addressed to "upstairs neighbors" and signed "downstairs neighbors"). One time, when my roommate was walking around and apparently causing a ruckus, the husband came upstairs and knocked on the door. I opened it, and without so much as hello he started yelling at me. My roommate went down and clarified the situation for him a few minutes later.
Now, once every week or so, we get banging on the ceiling, usually around 9 pm (that's when the husband, who has to wake at 4:30 for work, goes to bed). We don't listen to loud music or TV -- at least, the complaints have never been for that. Once I was petting my dog and her tail was wagging against the floor, and the downstairs neighbors started banging on the ceiling for that. Last night, I can only assume that my roommate and her boyfriend were having sex -- I couldn't hear the sex, but I could hear the downstairs neighbor banging repeatedly (i.e. three separate instances of knocking).
I think people should be allowed to have sex. I think we've made reasonable accommodations to the folks downstairs. I am sure that the noises are loud and annoying for the people downstairs, but at the same time, we live in Chicago and I feel like noise is a fact of apartment living. The downstairs neighbors have treated us with nothing but contempt. The real problem seems to be the soundproofing, not my or my roomate's behavior. Every time the downstairs neighbors knock on the ceiling, I get all angry and riled up . What can we do? Am I being unreasonable? Are they being unreasonable? Should we make a peace offering by baking them cookies and inviting them to our Holiday party on Friday? Should we, as I adolescently fantasize, leave an elegantly wrapped box of earplugs on their doorstep?