How to Adore the Nuisance Next Door

Can we all get along? – Rodney King, May 1, 1992

I suppose you don’t have to adore your annoying neighbor, but at least reaching a degree of vigorous tolerance can be a good thing.  For that matter, it doesn’t have to be the next-door neighbor, it could be the cube dweller just a few feet away at work.  Either way, can we all get along?

Here are a few ideas:

  1. Safety first. We’re not talking here about physical and emotional abusers.  There will still be some folks where the only remedy is to avoid them.
  2. Give them a second chance. Look for something to like about them.  Try to see them as human.
  3. Or not. Maybe they’re not human.  Maybe they are really trained chimpanzees.  See the humor in that?  Maybe your annoying neighbor can launch your comedy career or at least help you gain a few chuckles around the water cooler.
  4. Think blind spot. Maybe they don’t know what they do is annoying.
  5. Be Nice. Ever heard the cliché about catching more flies with honey?  I’m not sure that I get this one.  First, who wants to catch flies?  And once you catch them, aren’t you going to kill them?  I should be nice to people so I can set them up for the kill?  Maybe I’m over thinking this.  Just be nice.
  6. Watch how you behave. Body language counts.  Uncross your arms!  Remember to smile.  I’m starting to feel like your mom.
  7. Drop the gossip. Don’t start the conversation by broadcasting you can’t be trusted.
  8. Do a favor. See them in the parking lot with a trunk full of groceries?  Help them in with that.  Hold open the door. Walk together with them to their car under your umbrella when it rains.  Help scrape the snow off their car.
  9. Try to have a relationship outside of the conversation you’re always having about their [insert annoying habit here].
  10. Pay a compliment. Be honest, their miserable barking dog can be cute sometimes.
  11. Ask for a small favor unrelated to any problem. That gives the other guy the chance to be the hero.  It softens them up a bit and saves you an extra trip up the stairs with the groceries.
  12. Move out of the glass house. Maybe you’re the one with the blind spot.  Make sure you’re not giving folks reason to retaliate because you’re annoying too!