Living in an apartment complex is a unique type of predicament. You’re surrounded by people at all times, and you often share the same spaces and utilities, especially in smaller units.
To function, such a living arrangement demands a special type of care and commitment. In the sections that follow, we’ll cover everything you can and should do to be a good and reliable neighbor to all around you.
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1. Keep the Noise Down
First and foremost, you will have to learn to be quieter while going about your everyday tasks. That includes walking softly, getting padded rugs to absorb the noise, and keeping music at a low or moderate volume.
In addition, you should leave all loud tasks — like vacuuming, drilling, or running the washer and dryer — for active hours during the day. So, do not do these activities in the middle of the night. Instead, complete them between 8 AM and 8 PM so that you disturb as few of the other tenants as possible.
Although you might think it isn’t that important, you also need to watch the volume of your voice. Namely, even moderate talking carries well over to your neighbors if you have thin walls and keep your windows open.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop talking and be scared to bring people over. However, being mindful of your loudness and making a conscious effort to keep your voice lower is a must.
As for your movements around your apartment (which will mostly affect your downstairs neighbor, if you have one), walking in socks or slippers is a good idea. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, get a pair of shoes with soft soles, as they won’t make too much noise.
Pay special attention to the manner in which you walk. Instead of creating loud footfalls or stomping, try to glide or tread lightly.
Finally, if you’re an avid TV or movie lover, subtitles should be your new best friend. By using them, you can keep the volume of your device low while still having a great watching experience.
2. Keep Common Areas Clean
In apartment complexes, you have to share a few common areas with other people. These include the hallways, stairways, and, in certain cases, laundry or storage rooms.
Whatever these areas are, it’s important to keep them tidy at all times. The best way to do so is to come up with a schedule for cleaning them where a different person has this task every week.
If that’s what your community does, yours is just to clean when it’s your turn. Make sure you do it well, though, as everyone will be able to tell if you slack off in order to get it over with as soon as possible.
And when it isn’t your turn to clean, try not to give your neighbors more work than necessary. So, avoid spilling something in the hallways or on the staircase. In addition, don’t leave muddy or wet footsteps behind you, as getting those out won’t be easy.
In case you and your apartment complex neighbors also share a laundry room, use it carefully. Don’t leave your laundry or other equipment scattered around the room, and wipe down the washer and dryer after you’re done with them.
Although these steps might seem like a drag to do every time, they actually won’t take too much of your time. And when they become your habits, you won’t even think twice about doing them.
3. Treat Your Neighbors the Way You Want to Be Treated
The next tip is simple: be kind and respectful to your neighbors. A good policy is to treat them the same way you want to be treated, as that will ensure everyone feels heard and respected.
For example, you should offer to help your neighbors when they’re carrying groceries or doing anything similarly strenuous. In addition, you should be nice and talk to them when you cross paths.
Doing so shouldn’t be a problem, even if you’re introverted. Namely, just a smile and a few nice words will be enough to make you likable, and being helpful should do the rest for you.
Another important aspect of this tip is being cordial when someone comes to you with an issue they’re having. For instance, your downstairs neighbor might knock on your door and complain about you making noise.
While hearing that might annoy you, it’s important to keep your cool and hear them out. Then, apologize and promise that you’ll be more considerate in the future. In most cases, that should be enough to clear the air and remove any awkwardness.
All in all, being nice can open many doors and save you from embarrassment and unnecessary conflicts. So, do your best to treat others with kindness, and you’ll be golden.
4. Follow Parking Etiquette
Does your complex have a parking lot with designated spots for each apartment? If so, you should only park in the spot(s) reserved for your apartment. In addition, you should instruct your guests to abide by these rules as well, especially if they’re staying over for longer.
You should not, under any circumstance, park in one of your neighbors’ spots. It will likely make them angry, which will only create further conflict that no one needs. So, stick to your own spot, and everything will be fine.
When it comes to your vehicle, ensure it operates quietly, minimizing disturbances to others. It’s also crucial that your car’s alarm system is sensitive but not overly so, preventing it from being triggered unnecessarily, especially during nighttime hours.
5. Make Sure Your Pets Are Well Behaved
In case you have any pets — especially those you have to walk every day — you have to ensure they’re trained and well-behaved. That includes teaching them to be quiet during the night, not to make too much noise while playing, and so on.
If your pet is a dog, you should also pick up after it while you walk. That refers both to their poop while you’re outside and any hair or dirt that might fall off while inside. That way, you’ll keep all shared spaces clean and ensure your neighbors have nothing to complain about.
Another important thing to remember is that your dog should be friendly. So, you should train them to be around people from an early age. If they lunge and bark at others and you can barely contain them when walking through the building, everyone will be scared.
So, invest in some training, or get a smaller dog that’s more suitable for an apartment. Either way, your goal should be to have a relatively quiet and friendly animal beside you.
6. Take Part in Community Events
Every apartment complex has tenant meetings every once in a while. These meetings are either held with your landlord(s) present or with just the tenants, all depending on the topic of the gathering.
Generally, the meetings are organized so that tenants can express all concerns and come up with compromises. Moreover, it’s a great time to set cleaning schedules, agree on any necessary repairs, or talk about any other relevant subjects.
In most cases, these meetings happen at times when most, if not all, tenants can be present. This fact is important, as all decisions have to be made with the majority voting in favor.
It goes without saying that you should attend all of these meetings if you are available. For one, you will get to have a say in important matters and address any potential issues that are troubling you.
In addition, you’ll show your neighbors that you care about your community. As a result, they will know that you are always there for them to lean on, which is an important trait every good neighbor should possess.
7. Learn to Compromise
No matter how nice and cordial you and your neighbors are, you won’t be able to solve all problems in a way that makes everyone happy. In other words, you will have to reach compromises more often than not.
Now, compromising is usually easier said than done. After all, it will be difficult to make a bunch of people concede one thing to get another in return. That’s why these conversations usually won’t be comfortable.
Still, as difficult as it is, finding compromises will be necessary for everyone’s quality of life. Plus, with time, everyone will get used to them, so they will become easier.
To illustrate some of the compromises you might have to make, here are some examples. If the sound of your treadmill bothers your downstairs neighbor, you can agree to get a noise-reduction mat and only use the treadmill between 8 AM and 8 PM. On the other hand, they can agree not to use their blender to make a smoothie at midnight, no matter how hungry they get.
Alternatively, you can have a talk with your neighbors or send them a message if you’re having a get-together to celebrate something in your apartment. Tell them there will be more noise than usual in advance, and they’ll be more lenient. Of course, you should be just as understanding when it’s their turn to throw a party.
The list of situations goes on and on, but hopefully, you get the big picture. As long as you’re open to making concessions, your neighbors will be willing to do the same, and everyone will be happier.
8. Understand Boundaries and Privacy
For most people, a home is a sanctuary and a place where they can relax and be themselves. But when that home is in an apartment complex, privacy becomes an issue.
You’ve probably noticed that hearing other people’s conversations is a regular occurrence in buildings. When you both leave your windows open, the sound carries over quite easily, and you can’t help but overhear it.
In such circumstances, you should try and tune things out as much as you can. You’d probably want others to do the same for you, so it shouldn’t be too difficult a task.
Also, make sure you respect the boundaries that your neighbors set. Their space is still their own, so they should feel fully comfortable in it. The same goes for you, naturally.
9. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
And finally, the golden rule. Every problem, no matter how big or small, can be resolved through honest communication. So, always be open to talking with your neighbors.
While talking, be polite and kind, but don’t beat around the bush. Being direct is important, as it will speed things up and likely help avoid any future awkwardness.
Just make sure you don’t mistake directness for rudeness. So, say what you mean clearly, but do try to keep your tone light and friendly. Your neighbors will appreciate it and do the same, which will make every conflict resolution more seamless.
And if you don’t like talking, you can always send your neighbor a message or a letter. That way, you’ll have more time to figure out what you want to say and find a respectful way to do it.
To Sum Up
While living in an apartment complex does have its downsides, learning how to be a good neighbor solves most of them. Some of the habits you could form are being quieter in your place, keeping shared spaces tidy, and picking up after yourself or your pets.
Aside from these, you’ll have to learn how to communicate and compromise with your neighbors. It will probably be difficult at first, but you’ll find a common language with time.
Hopefully, this guide gives you all the tips you need to begin your journey of becoming a great neighbor. Follow them closely, and you’ll make sure your apartment complex is a harmonious community in no time.
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