We have all been there. You have secured your little piece of heaven in NYC. You worked with the team at Triplemint to find just the right place: close to work in your ideal neighborhood, a place where you can settle down and establish some roots. Then you have that one encounter, nothing ominous at first. You do your best to avoid crossing paths with them again, but then you realize that he/she or even “it” (I’m not being mean, sometimes it is an “it”) is your next door neighbor.

There appears to have been some cosmic misunderstanding that occurred between you two that you missed. Each interaction seems to be worse than the last. It has escalated from snide remarks and glares to open threats. You come to dread opening the door or coming home. You’re just trying to go about living your life. You pay your bills, go to work, dammit, you have earned the right to come home and enjoy your own personal space. That is not the case at present though. How did you get here? Is it your fault? What do you do now?

In the most compassionate and caring way that I can express, suck it up and deal with it boys and girls. I’m not saying to go “Mad Max” on them, but you have to deal with it. Your home can’t become a place of conflict. What is the point of a home if it can’t be your refuge?

tm adThe Noisy Cave Dweller.

The noise issue has two very clear sides, the noise offender and the noise offended. Which one is worse? They both pretty much suck to be honest, but I can proudly say that I have had the pleasure of being both the offender and the offended at one time or another.

As the noise offender, you may not be aware that your 11:00 P.M. P90X sessions are being heard by your neighbors as well. In all honesty, you are under the assumption that there is no harm no foul. You see walls and you think soundproof, or at least you try to convince yourself that they are.

Most noise offenses are not perpetuated on purpose, but in a large number of cases, the offended will not give you the benefit of the doubt. The person being wronged will assume that you’ve designed your workout routine or whatever the issue at hand is just to ruin their lives. You are declaring war.

The point is, you are impacting someone’s refuge. It could be something as petty as having your TV against the same wall as your neighbors’ bed, talking too loud on the phone, or even waking them up with your alarm clock (that’s a damn good alarm clock). I call that the college special. You are causing a problem because you have interjected yourself into their lives when you weren’t invited.

Respect Your Elders & Neighbors (Especially Your Elder Neighbors).

It is important to treat people with respect at all times. I had an instance occur where I was the offender, and I showed poor judgment. I have always been a night person. I am essentially the best version of myself usually at 10:00 PM & later each night.

One night, I was working with music playing and the TV on. When I finally picked up momentum in my work, I heard a very angry “bang, bang, bang”. I answered the door, and there stood a disgruntled sixty year old man in his underwear. Apparently, he was not a fan of my unorthodox work and fitness schedule. So I did what any rational adult would do in this situation, I shared some colorful euphemisms with the old guy. He eventually left my door, but not until after I insulted him and the last six generations of his family.

Initially, I felt great. I had put him in his place, and held nothing back. However, the next morning I woke up and didn’t quite feel as vindicated as I had the night before. In fact, I felt a little bit ashamed. Then as the day passed, I felt completely ashamed. Then I began thinking about how this was going to play out. What if I run into this person when I have friends or family come over? What if they want to continue this argument? I had come to the realization that I had ruined my own refuge.

A couple days later, I choked down my pride and apologized to the sixty year old man. I tried to make an excuse when I approached him at first to justify my behavior, but I couldn’t. I had to tell him there was no excuse for my behavior. To which he responded that he agreed, and that I could go “find” myself… however, he didn’t say “find”. We were never buddies before or after that point, but that was the end of the hostility. My refuge was safe and intact again. The moral of the story is to always stay calm and collected when trying to solve a dispute. Otherwise you may be told to go “find” yourself one day.