Someone is banging on my door ... wait no people are banging in their bed.
January 7, 2012 5:11 PM   Subscribe

This weekend I woke up to, what I thought, was someone banging on my apartment door at 4AM. After getting up I realized it was my neighbors going at it. They must have moved their headboard against our shared wall. Any ideas on how to discretely ask them to move their bed, or is that out of bounds?

I've been living next to my neighbors for 9 months. We're on cordial terms, we're both young. I haven't interacted with them besides a hello in the hallway and some small talk. I've had my share of neighbors having sex noises, but I think they've moved their bed, literally, against the wall. It sounds like someone is hammering.

I've also had some crazy neighbors, so I'm sensitive to crazy neighbor notes and passive aggressiveness. I'd simply like to tactfully convey, "Hey did you move your bed right against the wall? Because you scared the hell out of me thinking someone was banging on my door."

We're not talking about all night marathons, but even 2 minutes of banging is enough to wake me up and keep me up.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
you: Neighbor, did anyone knock on your door at like 4AM last night? I was sleeping and I could have sworn there was someone banging at the door, but when I got there there was no one. Weird huh?"
posted by Gungho at 5:14 PM on January 7, 2012 [38 favorites]

I would think that what you just wrote, plus a Hi and a Thank You!, would be great for a note. I don't think it matters if you're subtle or not, there's only one thing you could be talking about.
posted by facetious at 5:16 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Since you're already on speaking terms, wait until you see them in the hallway and say hi, ask how their holidays were...then ask, "Hey, did you hear anything odd last weekend early on Saturday morning? Around 4 a.m. I heard this banging noise. It sounded like it was coming from our side of the hall, so maybe you heard it too?"

This will likely produce the results you're looking for without embarrassment to either party.

Wait a couple of weeks, bring it up more directly if necessary.
posted by arnicae at 5:16 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Bang yours back about the same time (or about the time they stop). It'd probably only take once for them to get the message and move that thing away from the wall an inch or two. No words need pass and everyone gets on with things after a minimal amount of embarrassment.
posted by jquinby at 5:17 PM on January 7, 2012 [18 favorites]

I would definitely write a note. I think most folks just don't even think about these things. I've written notes to 2 previous and my current upstairs neighbor with no issues. Although..I do hear my current male neighbor climax every time they have sex - I'm a lot more comfortable asking them to turn the tv down than the sounds of their throes of (overly dramatic) passion ;)
posted by heartquake at 5:18 PM on January 7, 2012

I'd knock on the door and say "Hey, did you guys move your bed right up against the wall? Because suddenly I can hear it every time you turn over!" It's discreet and not uncomfortable for anyone involved and should motivate them to move the bed again very quickly.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:22 PM on January 7, 2012 [17 favorites]

Banging back would annoy me. Honestly, I think you already figured out what to say: "Hey did you move your bed right against the wall? Because you scared the hell out of me thinking someone was banging on my door." You're all adults.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:23 PM on January 7, 2012 [12 favorites]

I agree with the "did you hear someone knocking on the door" approach. Some people get really embarrassed by being asked, so tact is best. Personally, my roommate (who has the room next to me) complained about getting woken up one night -- but the way he said it was crude and I just felt like I never wanted to talk to him again. Actually, probably better to talk to whichever of the couple is the same sex as you -- I would feel way more comfortable having a female roommate bring up the topic than one of the guys.
posted by DoubleLune at 5:43 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

I like the "every time you turn over" remark. People can be dense. They might actually think someone was banging on your door.
posted by cyndigo at 6:00 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

A really mean tactic is to knock on their door really loudly the next time it happens and ask if everything is okay.

I can't suggest it wholeheartedly but it would probably work.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:04 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't see why you couldn't just be blunt about it. They know what they were doing, you know what they were doing, they know it is a shared wall.

That's not to say be anything but nice about it but...if discretion is their MO they shit the bed on it already. Sometimes everyone relaxes a little when the cat is out of the bag.
posted by TheRedArmy at 6:19 PM on January 7, 2012

I don't think most people would make the mental leap from "my neighbor thought he/she heard knocking on his/her door a few nights ago" to "it must have been me and my partner having sex." If you want to be pointedly vague, ask if they were hammering nails into the wall or something.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 6:20 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just address the fact and problem of the noise itself, and ignore the cause:

"Hi, I was woken by a banging noise on our shared wall at 4 am this morning, and I'd really appreciate it if you could take some steps to keep that from happening again."

And count yourself lucky. I've been awoken at 3 a.m. by the sound of my neighbour screaming at her husband (you just can't imagine how loud the woman can scream), and there's no polite wording for that one.
posted by orange swan at 6:38 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just ask them to move the headboard away and be aware of the noise if it hits the wall.

Everyone fucks. It is not a big deal. Stop making it any sort of deal at all.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:06 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've never had to do this before, but a classy solution that a friend had was to leave a bottle of good wine with a note saying something light like, "Hey neighbor! I'm guessing you've rearranged some furniture in your place because I've recently discovered that the wall we share isn't as soundproof as we'd like. I just thought you might consider putting some padding behind your headboard. Likewise, I hope you will feel free to let me know if anything coming out of my space is bothering you. Please let this bottle of wine diffuse any awkwardness that this note may cause. Thank you so much! Best, Neighbor."

She said it did the job. She was downstairs from her loud neighbor, so she didn't see them as often, but there wasn't any hostility.
posted by elizeh at 9:30 PM on January 7, 2012 [11 favorites]

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