Now this is going to be quite a lengthy article, and we appreciate that you’re busy people and you might not have time to sit down and read it all, so we’re going to distil it down to one, simple statement (in the words of the wise Adam Hills):
Don’t be a d**k.
Seriously. If everyone lived their lives by that simple piece of advice we’d all be much happier. Develop an inner filter that constantly asks ‘am I being a d**k?’ and if the answer is yes, stop doing it. And apologise.
We’d like to start the rest of this article with a little story, that took place not very far from here at all. It’s about a man, let’s call him Bob. Bob is a middle aged gent, likes rugby, beer and swearing and makes up for what he lacks in hair in red-facedness and pent up anger. He has a manly manual job and looks a lot like his pet bulldog, which probably has a name like Mauler or Tyson. A few years ago, Bob used to live not far from the University, on a terraced street that was popular with students. He was friendly enough once you got to know him, but not really the type of chap you’d want to annoy.
Our story starts one warm summer’s night at around 3am. The street is quiet, most folk are in bed and Bob is quietly slumbering in preparation for a 6am start. Into this tranquil scene wanders a young fellow, we’ll call him Jonty, somewhat worse for wear after indulging in a few alcoholic beverages with friends, perhaps at the Piper or the Welly. An acquaintance of his lives across the street from Bob (it may be an ex girlfriend, it may be someone he’s just met, it may even be his own house and he’s lost his keys; we didn’t have chance to ask). Let’s call her Talulah.
Jonty knocks quietly on Talulah’s door, to no avail. Perhaps she’s not in, or perhaps she’s asleep. Jonty knocks a little louder. Still no response. Gradually his knocking turns to hammering, and if you listen carefully a rustling and a muttering can be heard across the street as innocent folk toss and turn in their beds, their sleep disturbed. Through all this, Bob slumbers on.
There’s no response from Talulah. Jonty begins to shout. Still nothing. There’s a wheelie bin outside the front of the house; Jonty starts to kick it, and to bang the lid, all the while imploring Talulah at the top of his voice to let him in. This racket is enough to cut through even Bob’s heavy slumber, and he is overpowered with rage at being awoken in such a rude fashion. He lumbers out of bed, throws his window wide and bellows across the street at Jonty, ensuring that anyone who hasn’t been woken up yet most definitely has now. The exchange went something like this.
JONTY: Taluuuuulah! Lemme in! Why won’t you lemme in? (sound of bin being kicked and slammed shut repeatedly)
BOB: WILL YOU SHUT UP! PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SLEEP!
JONTY: But I need to get in! Taluuuuuuuuuuulah! Lemme in! (bin noises continue)
BOB: IF YOU DON’T FUNKING SHUT UP RIGHT NOW I’M GOING TO FUNKING COME OVER THERE AND STICK THAT FUNKING BIN SO FAR UP YOUR FUNKING ARSE YOU’LL BE PICKING RECYCLING OUT OF YOUR FUNKING TEETH FOR THE NEXT FUNKING MONTH!
JONTY: but – (half hearted kick on bin)
BOB: I’M FUNKING WARNING YOU I’M GOING TO COME DOWN THERE RIGHT NOW AND IF YOU’RE STILL THERE I SWEAR FUNKING TALULAH IS GOING TO BE FEEDING YOU THROUGH A FUNKING STRAW (sound of window slamming)
JONTY: (walks down the road extremely rapidly in that kind of sideways way you do when you’re constantly checking over your shoulder to make sure you’re not being chased by an angry bald man who wants to insert a wheelie bin somewhere it’s unlikely to fit without some serious modification)
So, what can we learn from this tale of woe? Well basically, don’t be a Jonty or a Bob. We suspect Talulah really wasn’t there, so she’s pretty much blame free. But really, it all boils back down to that original statement: don’t be a d**k. If Jonty had asked himself that question before waking up half the street then everyone would have remained obliviously happy. If Bob had asked himself that before bellowing out the window and waking up the other half then everyone would have remained obliviously happy (though to be fair, someone DID need to have a word with Jonty.
Anyway, here are a few handy tips to make sure you stay on good terms with your neighbours, whether they’re folk in the same hall or locals living in the next house.
Get to know your neighbours
You don’t have to be bezzie mates or anything, but make the effort to introduce yourself, have a chat and find out a little bit about your neighbours.
If you want to have a party, or practice your bagpipes, or do anything else that might affect your neighbours pop round well in advance and mention it to them. It may be that they have a super early start the morning after you’re planning on partying and would really rather you did it another day; or it may be that they’re happy to sleep in the spare room so they noise won’t bother them. Who knows, they might even turn up with a six-pack (though that may not be what you’re after).
Remember people have different routines
It may be perfectly normal for you to fire up the surround sound and play a few rounds of Call of Duty at full blast to unwind after an evening studying (or down the pub), but spare a thought for your poor neighbours trying to sleep in what now sounds like a warzone, especially if your speakers are on a party wall. Make headphones your friend and maybe your neighbours will be too.
It works both ways
We’ve said a lot here about how you can be a good neighbour, and you should – but don’t forget that it should work both ways, too. If you’re trying to spend the day revising and your neighbour’s dog is howling like a wolf the entire time they’re at work then mention it to them! Chances are they’ll be mortified, though you might end up having to go work there so you can keep the dog company. Actually, that’s a win win!
We could waffle about this all day, but we think you get the gist – try and be considerate to your neighbours, and with a bit of luck they’ll do the same to you. And in the immortal words of the mighty Wyld Stallyns (ask your dad) – be excellent to each other.