Self-Help Guide for Neighbours
Tips on how best to approach your neighbour with a problem
Choose a convenient time
Be calm. Have a word with your neighbour before you get angry or upset.
- Think beforehand about what you want to say. Be clear and precise about your view of the problem.
- Think about how you would like to be approached by your neighbour if they had a problem to bring to you.
- Don't be reluctant to say what it is that has upset you, but remain calm and friendly in your speech. Do not exaggerate the problem.
- Don't forget to mention some of the positive things your neighbour does.
Be patient and listen
- Don't be quick to jump to assumptions about what has happened
- Give your neighbour plenty of time to express their views and try to understand what they are actually saying. Don't assume you already know what they are thinking.
- Be careful not to bring in matters that are not relevant to the immediate problem - e.g. how your neighbour held a noisy house-warming party ten years ago but you didn't like to say anything at the time.
- Never shout, use bad language or threaten retaliation.
Live and let live
- Be prepared to accept differences in attitudes and lifestyles, but be firm about things that cause you inconvenience or distress. Let your neighbour say what they think but don't be afraid to make your own views clear as well.
- Bring all the relevant issues into the open from the start. Don't keep the awkward bits hidden, or your neighbour may think that it is less of a problem than it really is.
- Take the view that together you can sort the problem out and still remain on good terms. Be open to suggestions as to how the problem may be resolved.
Coming to an agreeement
- Be reasonable. If your neighbour offers to make concessions or put themselves out, see if you can do the same.
- Don't assume that the first idea that comes into your head will be the best one - it may suit you but if it isn't convenient to your neighbour it probably won't work.
- Don't rush into an agreement. Allow a trial period to see if it suits you both. Then check back with each other and be prepared to make alterations. A good workable agreement doesn't have to be set in stone.
MESH offers neighbour mediation services to help resolve disputes involving antisocial behaviour, noise, parking harassment, and boundaries. To learn more about how we can help, visit our Neighbour Mediation page or get in touch.