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I live in an apartment building with a few other units. I consider everyone in my building an acquaintance. The walls aren’t paper thin but I’m able to hear the couple next door anytime things get loud over there. There has been a lot of yelling from both of them for these past few weeks. It’s starting to become too much. It’s hard to sleep through the noise and quite frankly they sound frightening. It doesn’t necessarily sound like they are becoming physical during all this yelling but I’m worried. My first question is how can I get peace and quiet in my home again? Second, is there anything I can do to help them in case things are getting out of hand?
-Next Door Concern
Dear Next Door Concern,
It sounds like things next door are becoming a bit much. The noise is disrupting your home and has gotten to the point of interrupting your sleep. You’re also worried about your neighbors. Since you know the couple and hear the noise, you’re concerned for their emotional and physical health. You don’t believe that things have become physical but you’re also not sure.
The challenge in responding here is that you don’t want to overstep your bounds. You don’t want to infringe on their privacy and you don’t want your relationship with the other couple to become uncomfortable. It is certainly not a crime to argue with someone and as anyone who has been in a romantic relationship can attest, verbal conflict is going to happen in a relationship. However, if you have any questions about safety or if their arguing is significantly affecting your home, you should do something.
First things first. If you have credible evidence that their argument has escalated to physical violence, it is well within your ability (and perhaps duty) to call the police. Anytime that you have direct knowledge that someone is being harmed, even if that person is an adult, calling the police to help re-establish safety is vital and may even save someone’s life. You are able to make the call anonymously if you prefer.
However, if you have any questions about safety or if their arguing is significantly affecting your home, you should do something.
Since you aren’t at that point, let’s discuss other options. If you are close with either partner and feel comfortable enough to reach out, a conversation over a coffee or a drink may be the best bet. After you have both settled into the conversation, mention that you happened to hear them arguing over the past few weeks and wanted to check in to see how things were going.
If there has been violence or if things have begun to turn ugly, this conversation may just be the outlet that they have been looking for. If this is the case, be prepared to offer resources. Even if he or she declines any significant issues, it just may be the reality check that they needed in order to begin working things out. It should also turn down the volume for a while.
In the event that you don’t know them very well or don’t feel comfortable reaching out, know that your landlord may be a good resource to help protect your peace of mind. Lastly, always know that you can always try the bang on the wall and tell them to shut up approach. It may not work long term, but it sure feels good.
Dear Next Door Concern,
Noisy neighbors are the pits. And not getting sufficient zzz’s because of the noise is not a good situation.I have never been the victim of bad neighbors, but have experienced some of the world’s loudest upstairs neighbors (or circus performers, it’s still up for debate) after staying with a dear friend of mine in St. Louis. She actually called the police on an occasion when she felt there was a physical altercation taking place. As a result of that incident and a few more that followed the landlord terminated their lease early.
You should feel at peace and safe in your home. It sounds like you have a compassionate heart for wanting to help your upstairs neighbors, but I would advise alerting the authorities before getting involved, especially considering that they sound frightening.
It sounds like you have a compassionate heart for wanting to help your upstairs neighbors, but I would advise alerting the authorities before getting involved…
If you rent, reach out to your landlord or apartment management company and let them know about the continuous noise coming from upstairs and express your concern that there may be abuse. As a renter, you may also want to look and see if there is a noise clause within your lease, which permits you the right to quiet.
If you own, you should contact your building association president. By having management deal with the situation, the finger isn’t pointed at you. Ideally, the upstairs neighbors will be notified of the anonymous noise complaint and stop. But, if it continues, you may have to take it to the real authority, the police. And if the noise ever turns into something that sounds obviously like physical abuse, without hesitation contact the police.