I recently experienced some friction with my neighbour because while parking his car, he leaves a substantial gap between his car and the fence, giving us a hard time while reversing. Despite multiple discussions and a frank exchange of views, the gap remains unresolved—practically and metaphorically.

A friend who lives close by is also facing a difficult time with her neighbours who live downstairs. Their constant ‘being loud’ complaints defy logic. She fails to understand how her walk is noisy and tip toes around the house after 9:30 p.m. They do not have loud parties yet receive complaints about being ‘loud’ while having a conversation sitting in the living room. Guess having loud neighbours is equally frustrating as having an unreasonably complaining one.

Another friend who does not live far off describes her neighbours as mysterious. They are extremely unfriendly and can be heard fighting quite frequently. And so, she prefers to maintain a fair distance with them.

My neighbourhood may sound like conflicted Middle East at war but as per a survey conducted by Stuff on their new website Neighbourly (www.neighbourly.co.nz), such issues are identified amongst the most annoying. On an emotional level, it can sometimes take a serious toll on your security and well-being.

Here are some tips on how to be a good neighbour or deal with a difficult one:

Check before moving in

Take a stroll around the area to assess the neighbourhood. Most of us look at the house once or twice (mostly around daytime) and take a decision to move in. It is important to go around the area at different times of the day to judge if it is the right place for you. Maybe a popular park or train station nearby is too noisy for you. Or the house downstairs with kids might annoy those who don’t really enjoy being around kids.

Communication

The issues often remain untouched because they are not spoken about. It is important to have a good rapport with your neighbours and establish an open relationship. Introduce yourself or stop by for small conversations. Be cordial with them in order to address any future problems.

Flag it before it becomes a problem

If you are having a get-together at your place, it is best to invite your neighbours so they can join in with the festivities. If that is not the case, inform them beforehand, so they can approach you directly with any issue before making a noise complaint.

Get in touch with other neighbours

It could be a good idea to get in touch with other neighbours to check if they are having similar issues and then consider approaching the situation together.

Make a note

If the problem persists, it is important to keep a diary and notes of the issues you are having. The time, date, instances, and nitty-gritty of the issue so that you have examples to substantiate while addressing. It may sound extreme but it is important to have evidence if the situation is bad and there is a possibility of having authorities involved.

Seek a mediator

If you have tried everything and are unable to resolve the issues, it is best to seek a mediator. The mediator may not necessarily take sides but could try to seek a middle path for both parties in order for them to co-exist harmoniously.

In a situation of housing crisis, apartments are becoming smaller and people are living closer to each other. In such a situation, it is important to address the problems and rectify them. I will surely implement some of these tips and, hopefully, have a happy carpark situation.