Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

How to be a terrible neighbor

A little over a year ago, my family moved from our townhouse into a single family house. We lived in the townhouse for 9 years and, overall, we had great neighbors. Specifically the houses on either side of us and we knew that when we moved, we’d probably not find neighbors as good as them. 

We know how lucky we were. And we remember it. Every day.

When you move from houses that are attached to houses that are not attached, it not only puts physical distance between you and your neighbors, but it also creates a bit of a personal distance. We all live in our own little bubble and I swear, I haven’t seen the family that lives 2 houses down from us in about a month. That said, we have gotten to know our neighbors within our immediate vicinity and despite our differences, we all have one thing in common. 

We all hate the same house.

Maybe hate is a strong word. How about we all dislike them immensely and with great passion? Sounds a little better. Anyway, the reason we all can’t stand them is because they’ve essentially written the manual on how to be crappy neighbors. And, because I’m nice and thoughtful, I figured I’d share that manual with you guys in case you ever want to make your entire block dislike you (which you might, so consider this a PSA). neighbor 2

It’s a pretty easy process, and as long as you follow these steps, you’ll put yourself on track:

1. Be unfriendly. Never smile, wave, make eye contact, acknowledge or do anything that would remotely look like a friendly gesture. Forget small talk; that’s not for you. Nope, for you, it’s essential that you deliberately and purposefully ignore everyone.

2. Be noisy. Especially at inappropriate times, like midnight on a Tuesday. How are you going to make everyone dislike you if you’re not yelling at your spouse or revving your engine late a night, while people are trying to sleep? 

3. Be flagrant with your smoking. You smoke and everyone needs to know it. For you, it’s not enough to sit on your front steps smoking. Nope, you need to take that into other neighbor’s garages and leave your cigarette butts in front of other homes.

4. Never control your dogs. It’s not enough that your incessantly yappy dogs bother you. They have to bother the whole street! So make sure you have them outside, where they can serenade the whole block but also make sure that you don’t put them on a leash so they can shit in different yards. Variety is the spice of life, amirite? And as a bonus, never clean it up, either. You consider that a gift!

I love the person who wrote this note.

5. Let your kids run wild. And make sure you’re not watching them, either. It takes a village, isn’t that what they say? Well, to you, you’re not actually part of that village but it’s totally okay to let your kids run loose and let the village take care of them while you’re inside doing who knows what. You need a break, after all. 

Remember, you can balance all of this out with making sure your lawn is mowed, your trash isn’t strewn about, and you only have a few house calls from the local police (which might or might have to do with the drugs you might or might not be running out of your garage. I don’t know, though. I’m not here to judge how you make a living. If you can afford your mortgage, then have at it).

Okay, so in reality I know that my neighbors could be much, much worse. But this kind of behavior takes a lot of getting used to and I have a really low threshold for bullshit, drama, and people who don’t watch their pets, children, and have a blatant disrespect for others around them. And to be fair, it’s mainly the mom. The dad is an okay dude and the kids are necessarily horrible. I know they’re doing the best they can.

I just wish they’d be quieter. 

And corral their dogs. 

I don’t think that’s asking too much.

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  1. Linda Sheridan

    My parents live in the same house I grew up in. They have been there
    over 57 yrs. Some of their original neighbors or the neighbors kids are still there and they acquired other kind neighbors over the years. Some goofy ones, too! It has been a blessing for them.
    For myself, being a working mom for years and running my kids or my siblings around, there was no time. We still, for the most part,live in our own bubble. We talk and can rely on 1 or 2 neighbors and they, us, but that’s about it. Glad you had good townhouse neighbors- they are much closer!
    Have a happy day! Love, SMD’s Momma

    1. Jana (Post author)

      The good townhouse neighbors were definitely a blessing, especially once we started taking care of our cat. They helped a lot.

      That’s crazy that they still have the same neighbors!

  2. Kristen

    this has to be the worst part about buying a house, the danger of bad neighbours. on one side we have a foreclosure so no-one yet hopefully we dont get horrible people. when we moved in there was 2 teenagers that stole our mail, so it cant be worse than that (?!) and on the other side we have a single girl who always has friends over that smoke so much pot i swear my husband and i get high in our living room. she’s weird.
    Kristen recently posted…Stuff I’d be buyingMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      There have definitely been times when we’ve had weed smoke waft into our yard. That’s a fun thing to explain to a 7 year old.

      Why would they steal mail? That’s just so weird.

  3. shanendoah

    We call the house next to us the Taj Mahal. As far as we can figure out, a fairly wealthy Nigerian family bought it as a place to store their elderly mother and mentally challenged brother. The only other people we see there are maids and gardeners.
    The problem is the mentally challenged brother. We think he’s trying to make small talk, but he’s awful at it. For literally months after we had to put our Smokey dog down, every time he saw me, he’d ask where Smokey was (several times a day), despite me saying that he had died.
    Later, while the school bus stop was directly in front of our house, he said something to C about people calling the cops on him for talking to little girls at the bus stop.
    shanendoah recently posted…Job Hunting TipsMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      That last part would freak me out and I’d be at the bus stop every single day.

  4. Julia

    Ugh, bad neighbors are the worst! We have thankfully been very blessed in the neighbor department so far, although we did have some move in across the street who haven’t been overly friendly, but they don’t do anything obnoxious either, so I’ll call that a win!
    Julia recently posted…A Letter to Myself in 10 YearsMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I would take quiet and unfriendly over the rest. I mean, I’m mostly unfriendly, so I can’t say much in that department.

  5. Kerry

    Oh my God, I have neighbors like these, which stinks since my neighborhood is the friendliest. The neighbors behind me though, let their kids run wild, and they taunt my dog. They have like 50 cars in the driveway leaving at all hours of the day, and have had fights outside in the middle of the night.
    Kerry recently posted…Spooky World | Scare You AlwaysMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I get so angry, like crazy angry, when strange kids taunt my dogs or cat and I have no problem yelling at them to stop. That is definitely a parenting problem. As in, parents need to teach their kids not to be assholes towards animals.

  6. Kelli

    Well I have number 1 down, it’s Tyson’s job to make friends with the neighbors and my job not too.

    The other stuff MY neighbors have down from barking dogs to kids they do not watch. Those kids are like ants in the afternoon after school has let out, their everywhere and not an adult to be seen.
    Kelli recently posted…On FriendshipMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Scott befriends the neighbors but I’m polite. I wave, smile, say hello, and engage in small talk when forced. But no friendships for me.

      We have the kids all over the neighborhood after school, too. I’m all for playing and making friends but how can no parents ever check on them?

  7. Amber

    Oh, this would drive me insane! Inconsiderate people drive make me angry.
    Amber recently posted…Things That Annoy Me Thursday: No Movie Theater Etiquette. Again.My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Me, too. And they’re crazy (the wife, anyway) that I’m literally afraid of her and I won’t say anything. I’m waiting for someone else to do it. #noshame

  8. lisacng @ expandng.com

    Well said! Sometimes I think I hate certain neighbors because I have kids & don’t want to bother their sleep but really, it’s me who hates the noise regardless. That note is awesome. I love the happy tone. I wrote a letter to a neighbor telling them to keep their yappy dog off their deck because it’d be barking at 6am outside my window. That dog has not been on the deck since. I’m glad it stopped by why does it take a letter? Now, I want to write one for the owners of 2 loud dogs down the street. I have dogs. They bark, sure, but I stop them from going crazy. Not like the other houses I walk by. I’d hate to be their neighbor!

    1. Jana (Post author)

      The lack of common sense and courtesy drives me nuts. HOW CAN YOU NOT HEAR YOUR DOGS BARKING? Fortunately, the weather is getting colder so it’s not as bad but still. Ridiculous.

  9. Amanda @ My Life, I Guess

    Ahh! In our townhouse, the chick right beside us ALWAYS let’s her kids run wild outside (I think they are 5 and 8). But the worst part is – she LOCKS her kids outside! So in addition to everything else, we ofter have to hear the kids crying and banging on the door for several minutes at a time.
    This is why we want to buy a house with some acres – so we don’t have neighbours! 🙂
    Amanda @ My Life, I Guess recently posted…So, How Did Your Job Interview Go?My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      They lock the kids out??? That is terrible. And really mean. I hate your neighbor.

  10. Michelle

    I live in one of the best neighborhoods in the city. I bought there for the safety, quiet, etc. Unfortunately, a couple of doors down is the family that you describe in your post AND add to that their pot dealing 38 year old son who has an illegal tattoo parlor in a trailer at the back of their house. He tattoos gang members from a different city. Lovely. Happily, we’re all fed up with it (and pot was legalized) yes, I noticed a drop in his clientele.
    Michelle recently posted…How Being An Accidental Hipster Saves Me ThousandsMy Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I am so intrigued by the pot dealing/illegal tattoo shop operator. It’d make me nervous to live near him but for people watching purposes, he sounds spectacular!

  11. Nadine

    Hahahahahaha that ecard!!!! I hate most all of my neighbors. The ones across the street let their 190 pound dog take elephant shits in our front yard and have cameras on their house for “security” but like…they are facing our garage. I get creeper feelings walking to my mailbox because of them. Some of our other neighbors are huge rednecks…and we have this one house that has a ton of farm animals…in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow such a thing. Sigh.

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Your neighborhood definitely sounds like a treat! I’d freak out with the cameras, too. Why is that even necessary?

  12. kathy @ vodka and soda

    the guy across the street must have written this because this is bible. for real. he commits all of these offenses but except for dogs, it’s his family members…which are pretty much the same thing because I HATE THEM ALL. even the shitty kids who run rampant.
    kathy @ vodka and soda recently posted…Friday Favorites [10-10]My Profile

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I feel no shame in hating my neighbors’ kids. They’re little assholes.

  13. Amanda

    One thing I hate about apartment living is that we’re fucking SURROUNDED by neighbors. 90% of them are okay, but, still… you hear so much!
    Amanda recently posted…Savin’ A Dolla Makes This Bitch Holla!My Profile

  14. Kate

    I live in an apartment building so don’t deal with the yard issues but it comes with its own set of problems- mostly noise. The people next door take their screaming child out onto the balcony which means everyone else with doors open can hear. Not okay.
    Kate recently posted…Around Town: Nightmare New EnglandMy Profile

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  16. Candace

    hahahaah yes I found the neighbor post!!! k seriously thank heavens they moved. and I live in a condo and one of our neighbors has two HUGE dogs who literally bark at a pin dropping on the ground. It’s so weird to me that the owners never tell their stupid animals to pipe down. and up until recently, someone was letting their dog poop in the grass right outside our front door. there were literally like 10 poops and I was like “really” so I left a nice note(it really was nice haha) asking whoever owned the furry friends (yup, used that phrase) to please clean up after their dogs. it worked, thank HEAVENS
    Xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants
    Candace recently posted…everybody loves free stuff!My Profile


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