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r/BadNeighbors
51
Posted by2 months ago

The Worst Friendliest Neighbor.

First time homeowner here. Any tips and tricks would be appreciated.

So, I buy my first house, a small, 3bd 2 bath bungalow close by my parents so I can be near them in their "golden years." The house was a rental for a decade and needed a little TLC but a year in and I'm finally making it a home. My younger brother (he is 25 and I'm 33) moved in last year in September and we couldn't be better housemates. Things, all-in-all, are fine.

Then enter my overly-friendly neighbors, a couple in their mid 50s with whom I share a chain link fence. Our backyards are small and close by. Their yard is immaculate while mine needs some work (not dumpy by any means, just isn't landscaped to the T like theirs is).

While the wife is friendly and kind, the husband (let's call him "Jim") thinks we are best friends. Literally. I can't walk into my backyard without a 20 minute conversation. I can't sit back there with my girlfriend without him trying to come over for a beer. He offers my brother and I plates of food and when I politely decline he gets "jokingly offended" until I take it. The tables turn, however, when I'm grilling out cooking and he then asks me ("jokingly" of course) if he can have whatever I'm making.

It is a pure lack of social cues.

Furthermore, this dude has a pretty standard M-F gig where he works morning till early evening. His favorite hobbies are getting drunk and stoned in his garage while BLASTING classic rock. At first I thought it was funny. Endearing, even. He was quirky and a microcosm of the Midwest, an area I tried so desperately to leave but found myself tied back into.

He calls, he texts, he knocks on my door. He helped me when the power went out in my garage but he also offended my girlfriend one night (he saw me kiss her in the backyard and asked "Hey where is mine!?" as he leaned over my fence). He blasts music constantly and, while this is already annoying, take into consideration that I work swing shifts and have a rotating schedule. When I work nights on the weekend and have to come home on a Saturday or Sunday morning I know I only have a few hours of sleep before hearing Jimi Hendrix or The Doors blaring from his garage. A perfect example of this:

I pull in from a 16 hour midnight shift. 5:30p-9:30a. He is in his backyard.

"Hey OP, what's up?"

"Just got home from work."

"Wow. Did you work a 16?"

"Yep. And I gotta be back in 8 hours."

"That's crazy."

"Yep. Goodnight man."

"Okay. So hey, anyways, did you see the score of the game...".

When I finally peel myself away from the convo to try and get some sleep, the music starts. I get no sleep. 16 hour swing shifts are hard enough but I work a pretty dangerous job where I need my rest. I cannot afford to go into work not being on my A game. It could be my life or the lives of my coworkers.

The solution to this that you're probably thinking is "6 foot privacy fence". But here is my dilemma... when I moved in, I met his wife first and his wife said "all we ask is you don't put up a privacy fence." They are nice people, but they are getting to me. So much so that I've been debating selling the place and looking elsewhere.

I'm naturally a pretty quiet guy. I don't mind "city sounds" but when I'm gardening or having a fire or reading I'd like to not be interrupted with a 20 minute conversation (which aren't really conversations, they are drunken incoherent ramblings that revolve around his life). Again, I'm 33 and live with a 25 year old. We are two dudes. We both have friends and girlfriends. You'd think our house was a fucking monestary based on the lack of noise, music and traffic here.

The couple next door is friendly. They aren't bad people. I could have much worse neighbors (I realize this after reading this board for a bit). I'm just curious how anyone of y'all would approach this scenario. I don't want to cut ties with them completely as I don't mind their company but I do need some fucking privacy.

67 comments
96% Upvoted
level 1

Plant a privacy hedge. I’d go with evergreen so it’s year round if you have seasons. Not a fence, and it helps muffle sound and will allow you visual privacy as well.

Plant them densely (as recommended) so there aren’t any gaps. It’s also less expensive than a wooden privacy fence. Some maintenance the first year, but if you go with no or low trim ever greens, once they’re established, it should be set it and forget it.

I planted American pillar arborvitae and it’s worked out well for us. Not sure of your zone…or if this would be an option for you.

45
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

My mother had the same advice with the arborvitae and I'm thinking that might be the way to go. Just a fat row of them along the fence line.

Appreciate it.

30
level 1

Put up a privacy fence so you can have some peace. Wife probably doesn’t want you to because without you to harass he bugs her.

42
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

This theory has been my long running joke for months now.

24
level 2

This reminds me of this guy that used to come into a bar I worked at. He wouldn't shut up. Just talk talk talk. It was so bad that if the only seats available were next to him, other regulars would turn around and leave instead of sitting near him. Ugh, it was bad. One day, he brought his wife in with him. Which was very unusual, he always came in by himself. He introduced me to his wife and I gotta tell you, now I know why he always comes in by himself. He couldn't get a word in. She talked so much, like as much, if not more, than him! Now I understand why he always came in by himself and talked so much. He probably never gets to say a word when he's home! 🤣

10
level 1

Hmmm. You could just put up the privacy fence and pretend you didn't remember her saying that. It is a completely weird and unreasonable request.

How "nice" are they if their behavior is such that you're considering selling the home to get away from them? It doesn't sound like they have any respect for you. They don't seem to care whether or not you enjoy their conversation, loud music or demands on your attention. Maybe if you block them from trying to socialize with you they'll move on to someone else or get actual pets.

I do recommend digging deep and seeing if there's some of your own behaviors you could modify or work on. Like if you tend to be a people pleaser you could use this as an opportunity to practice better boundaries and getting out of conversations with people who try to trap you in them etc.

28
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

Hmmm. You could just put up the privacy fence and pretend you didn't remember her saying that. It is a completely weird and unreasonable request

The old "whoopsie daisy" defense. I like it.

I do suppose you're right. How "nice" are they being. They have helped and have been friendly in the past but the lack of privacy is a bit much.

Thanks for the reply.

15
level 1

Privacy fence, tell them you're planning to put in a hot tub or pool or similar, and your homeowners insurance said you need a fence for liability/safety.

20
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

I like this idea but there is already a chain link fence up. Would that not suffice?

I suppose I could say I'm putting in a hot tub and I want privacy for when I'm in said hot tub?

6
level 2

This. Excellent idea.

4
level 2

PERFECT!

2
level 1

Privacy fence. The fact that the first thing you were asked was not to put one up is a huge red flag. They’ve obviously been called out on this behavior before. The hedge idea is great, but I can just see this guy “helpfully” trimming it for you. And if he doesn’t stop the music, point a speaker at his house and play something you know he’d hate while you’re gone all night at work. And if you’re outside, put on headphones and pretend you can’t hear him, even if you can. You don’t have to actually listen to anything, just wear them.

20
level 1

Everyone else has provided good advice on fence and plants, but I would highly recommend working on setting some boundaries with them. It's hard, especially when they come at you in a seemingly nice way, but forcing food on you that you don't want, trying to get food out of you, keeping you talking or playing loud music when you're trying to get to bed, invading your privacy when you hang out in your yard, these are all ways this guy is just railroading you and it's not ok, and definitely not nice. It really can be difficult and UNCOMFORTABLE to learn to set those boundaries, especially for those of us who weren't raised to speak up for ourselves, but it's well worth the struggle and will hopefully relieve some of the issues you're having because there's no guarantee a privacy fence or bushes will improve his behavior.

16
level 2

I agree with this boundaries-defense …. But not the shrubs. OP, well-meaning neighbors like them do not see social cues, as you already mentioned. And when we (those of us who DO see social cues) run into someone who doesn’t see social cues, we then are ‘forced’ out of our OWN comfort zone to meet them in their no-social-cue-landscape. You WILL have to step out of your comfort zone to address this issue. You can do that rudely (“would you just shut the fuck up!?!”) or you could do that politely (“I would rather sit here alone with our conversation and read my book”). Either way, they will be offended but that is not your issue. I suggest you start with wearing earbuds or headphones if you want to sit outside and put them in and use them as a physical cue. Maybe pop one out and answer his question, then put the earbud back in and keep reading. It will take some training (on BOTH your parts) but if you want peace, this is what you need to do.

4
level 1

Damn the request not to put up a fence ! What’s the reason? Put up the privacy fence . It’s your property. A lot of nerve

14
level 1

But here is my dilemma... when I moved in, I met his wife first and his wife said "all we ask is you don't put up a privacy fence."

Unreasonable demand. Tell her you'll get privacy one way or the other, and you'll also get the quiet you need to sleep if it requires formal noise complaints. And yeah, maybe look at moving if they get hostile about it.

11
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

I agree, a bit unreasonable but I figured this was my first go at home ownership and I wanted to get things off on the right foot.

While I've been tempted to go about noise complaints out of anger, I don't think I could bring myself to do it. I'd rather move or toughen up and just tell them to quiet down. I'm not big on getting the police involved, especially since the noise really is during "daylight hours". Luckily they aren't blasting music at night.

7
level 1
· 2 mo. ago · edited 2 mo. ago

Omg. You moved next door to my ex's drunken best friend. We sold the house and moved.

11
level 2
Op · 2 mo. ago

This is the Midwest we are talking.

Everyone is someone's ex drunken best friend.

15
level 1

soundproof your bedroom, start with the windows as they let him most of the noise.

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/soundproofing-windows/

for a few dollars, you can at least get your sleep.

You could do sooo much worse with neighbors, i am sure you know that. You have to be firm about your boundaries, "I am exhausted, maybe we can catch up on the weekend", do not get caught up in an exchange of sports news. Also try, "i really need to sleep now, could u keep the music down until 6pm, i go back to work then." You could speak to da wifey about the lack of sleep due to music

11

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**Share the story of your bad neighbors**. How they screwed you over, how you dealt with it, suggestions for others, or any possible pranks you pulled.
Created Jun 23, 2012

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