Respect Thy Neighbours – 10 tips on keeping the peace (and proper etiquette)

Respect thy neighbours
1.  Be tidy.

Good neighbours take out the rubbish, recycling or organic waste on the right day. The street doesn’t need to see (or smell) what you’ve thrown out, ahead of time.

2.  Don’t fight for the right to party.

When having people over, the noise level can go up very quickly. The most courteous neighbours inform others of get-togethers, and ask to let them know if the gathering has gotten too loud.

3.  Show respect.

Good neighbours teach their children what both literal and figurative boundaries mean by explaining where their property ends and the neighbour’s begins. They also reinforce the concept that being on one side of the property line doesn’t mean noise levels can be ignored.

4.  Keep it down.

Apartment walls are notoriously thin. Keep the decibel levels reasonable or you’ll be giving your neighbours a play-by-play of your life, whether you’re laughing, fighting, watching a movie, playing music etc. Be considerate, especially late at night and early in the morning.

5.  Remember, your pet has to be a good neighbour too.

Make sure your dog isn’t howling all day or barking all night. Make sure your pet gets ample love, treats and at least a couple of good walks each day.

6.  Waiting for a lift?

Hooting a pick-up is just plain rude. Ask your carpool driver to give you a quick call or to send a message – not while driving, though. Better yet, look out of your window and be prepared!

7.  Acknowledge neighbours who smile at you or greet you.

You don’t have to stop and chat, but a little smile and wave doesn’t cost you anything. Remember the nasty thoughts that crossed your mind about people you’ve said hello to who ignored you? You don’t want anyone thinking of you that way.

8.  Be soft-spoken when entering and exiting your block of apartments.

Avoid stomping on stairwells, especially when leaving before sunrise or coming back late at night. Try not to walk around apartment with wood floors in your shoes (put them on just prior to leaving your apartment and remove upon entering your apartment) not all tenants work a “9-5” job and may be trying to sleep during “regular” daylight hours. Keep the noise at whisper-level in hallways. Loud laughter and conversations while people are relaxing or sleeping are a nuisance. Close doors behind you gently. Apartment doors create a lot of noise. Don’t let them slam shut.

9.  Only invite guests over who can respect your apartment building rules.

Some contract clauses restrict guests or any person who doesn’t live there to be left alone in the apartment. Reckless behaviour or any disputes between the guest(s) and another tenant may become your responsibility.

10.  Offer any assistance to your elderly neighbours.

If you see them parking with groceries, ask them if they need help carrying them inside the building or hold any doors open. If you see their mail piling up or you don’t notice their lights on at night for some time, knock on their door and see how they are doing.

A little respect, goes a long way to living peacefully.

Ramona Galea

Ramona is an International Etiquette Coach and an avid believer of the importance these soft skills have nowadays. This passion kicked off from a young age when she questioned why elbows couldn’t stay on the table and her inquisitiveness continued and she founded First Class Etiquette, to address the developing need for people’s understanding of the importance of international business and social etiquette. It really is not just about elbows but confidence, attitude, assertiveness and knowing the how, the when and the why we do things. Amongst her hectic schedule, her two biggest indulgences are travelling with her family and reading with an Aperol Spritz in quiet surroundings - just being away from it all to de-stress.

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