5 Ways My Neighbors Are Driving Me Crazy (and 3 Ways I Pay It Back)

Vicki Lesage
Written by Vicki Lesage

One of these days, my family of three (soon to be four!) will move out of our tiny apartment and get a house. Until then, we’re stuck with all the joys that living in close proximity of neighbors (also known as “people trying to pretend they’re normal when they’re really crazy, annoying weirdoes”) brings.

Their top 5 offenses:

1. Random drilling

I understand the need for home improvements, but I don’t understand their timing. They drill every day for five minutes, at a different time of day. Way to keep me on the edge of my seat! Can I make a phone call or will they start drilling as soon as I dial? (Spoiler: They’ll start drilling as soon as I dial)

This project has been going on for weeks. What the heck are they doing? You’d think most of the drilling would be focused on 2-3 intense home improvement days and then they could PUT THE BLASTED THING AWAY.

2. Shouting in the hallways

Canyons have quieter echoes than our hallway. I don’t know how anyone can hold a conversation with the cacophony, but they certainly try. And they raise their voices to compensate, which only makes it worse. Can’t the “What are we having for dinner?” conversation be postponed 2.4 seconds until they’ve entered their apartment?

3. Taking forever to open their door

When I first moved in, I admit I had some trouble with my antique key. It looked better suited to locking away King Joffrey in a dungeon (hey, one can dream) and took a while to get used to. But how can my neighbor STILL be having problems with his key? Every night it’s the same jingle-jangle for five minutes.

My real problem is I’ve had a fear of dogs since I was a child and the jangling of keys sounds like a dog on the loose. Even within the confines of my apartment walls, I still fear the rabid animal that is going to attack me.

4. Slamming the trash chute

Were they born in a barn? I should applaud their efforts to dispose of their trash in the proper place but I’m not handing out awards yet. Open the chute, insert the trash, and close it. No need to slam it or, worse, let go of the handle so that it slams even more loudly and reverberates in the hall for hours.

5. Hypocritical hall-blocking

This inevitably happens when I’m on the way home from the grocery store, loaded up with numerous bags that are forging lines into my palms. Two neighbors will be chit-chatting in the hallway, blocking the stairs. There’s no way they didn’t see me and for sure they must have heard me say “Excuse me” 100 times. But they just ignore me until they’re done with their conversation.

But then God forbid I get a new stroller and can’t figure out how to fold it up and so I’m taking up half the hallway, inventing toddler-friendly swear words as I go, and then one of these neighbors comes home and huffs and puffs that I’m blocking the way. First, I’m NOT blocking the way because I thoughtfully pulled my chaos off to the side. Second, do they not remember doing the very same thing that morning?

In all fairness, I have to admit the things I do that must annoy my neighbors:

1. I go to the bathroom at all hours of the night. Thank you, pregnancy. And thank you, thin walls. I can hear my neighbors pee so I’m sure they can hear me.

2. My 20-month-old son’s favorite hobby, aside from vacuuming and listening to the same song on repeat, is banging on pots and pans. Especially at 6 in the morning.

3. And from back in my partying days, I can’t even begin to list all my offenses. But probably the worst is ABBA’s Greatest Hits karaoke on repeat.

Maybe let’s just agree to call it even? What annoying things do your neighbors do? 

About the author

Vicki Lesage

Vicki Lesage

Vicki Lesage proves daily that raising two French kids isn’t as easy as the hype lets on. In her three minutes of spare time per week, she writes, sips bubbly, and prepares for the impending zombie apocalypse. She lives in Paris with her French husband, rambunctious son, and charming daughter, all of whom mercifully don’t laugh when she says “au revoir.” She penned two books, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl and Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, in between diaper changes and wine refills. She writes about the ups and downs of life in Paris at VickiLesage.com.

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14 Comments

  • Oh apartment living…my upstairs neighbours drop what sound like tiny metal marbles randomly every third Saturday morning. It’s so weird. I also hear you on the random drilling. WHY ARE YOUR DIY’S SO SPORADIC? My guilty behaviours include sprinting down hallways with my kid to wear her out (we at least try to do that on our tippytoes) and when we have adult parties and they spill onto the deck. I’m sure the neighbours want to slingshot us and our intensely loud conversations about things only we find hilarious…

    • HA! Isn’t it fun to play “Guess What’s Making That Noise?” It’s like the neighbors received a welcome kit when moving in that contained tiny metal marbles, drills that only work for 5 minutes at a time, and a slew of other random objects to be dropped on the floor at various times of the day. How come I didn’t receive one of these packages?

      Other people’s parties don’t really bother me as long as it’s not EVERY night. Probably because that used to be me, so I have sympathy for the cause. If you’re having a party, it’s just not as fun to be quiet and keep the music turned down. But slamming the trash chute? It’s the same amount of fun (that is, zero) whether you slam it or close it like a normal human being. So I have no mercy on that one.

  • Barking? No dog barking? I don’t live in an apartment building but I do live in one of those “tract housing” developments where all the houses are so close you can lean out the window and shake hands with your neighbor who is also leaning out THEIR window. Which would be fucking weird, we never *actually* do that, btw. Anyway (jesus I ramble) the backyard neighbor diagonal to us lets their dog bark for HOURS. Nothing more effective for sending me into a homicidal rage.

    • You just made me realize how lucky I am. I totally forgot about barking dogs! I’ve had my fair share of annoying neighbor dogs in the past, but surprisingly I haven’t heard a peep in my new apartment building. Maybe they were scared off from all the drilling and other obnoxious noises.

  • Hilarious! Thanks for the great post. I live in a house in the suburbs but I can still complain about my neighbors – barking dogs at night and mowing the lawn at 6am on Saturday.

  • Sorry to say Miss V, but the neighbours will still be there ones you get a house…. and they are not better.
    We are talking the old couple next door who built there house from scratch, and half mine to, 50 years ago, so they own the rights to dictate everybodys life. The little ol’ lady on the other side who feeds the pidgeons so the live on YOUR roof and keep you up all nite, the law against ANY noice on sundays, as long as it comes from you, of course………. and it goes on and on and on………….

    • Kaysa, don’t shatter my illusion! Once I get a house my neighbors will be awesome and we will drink mimosas on the front porch together and borrow sugar and eggs. No one will do anything annoying!

  • we have a rooster and I can only imagine what our neighbours say about us! Good thing we also have 30 hens and can deliver a dozen free range eggs to them each month as a bribe!

    • Bribery is always good. My neighbors have never offered anything in exchange for their annoying habits. Though what could they offer? A CD recording of their drilling so I can cherish it forever? You’re lucky you’ve got free range eggs to give. I’d gladly take them in exchange for a rooster crowing. I’m up early every day anyway so that seems like an awesome trade 🙂

  • Thankfully, I live in a house now with nice neighbors, aside from a once a year blow-out-screaming-fight. But once I lived in a large apartment building and we were in a corner unit around a courtyard. Our bedroom window was 90 degrees from our neighbor’s kitchen window. So on top of disgusting food smells wafting in our windows at every meal, they had a 3 year old child that would start yelling the moment he sat down at their kitchen table which was conveniently next to their window. This was particularly lovely on early weekend mornings. This same child would run up an down the hallway loudly at all hours of the day and night, and one time even kicked my husband in the shins for no apparent reason. Though I am sure my antics were not always welcomed; I have been known to vacuum at 11 pm.

    • OMG, I forgot about cooking smells! Our neighbors across the hall are Chinese so their house pretty much always smells good, and the people downstairs are big fans of garlic, which also smells nice. But my old neighbors cooked fish ALL THE TIME and I wanted to barf. You have my sympathy!

  • i live in a flat next a big chute and is used by over 200 residents.
    my ignorant neighbors use the chute any time of the day which is so annoying. They dill 7 times a week.