Dear Urban Diplomat: what can I do about fighting neighbours that just won’t shut up?
Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live in a condo, and the woman in the unit neighbouring mine has a nasty habit of screaming at her boyfriend at all hours. She is loud enough for me to hear every highly personal detail of their relationship, as well as her profane vocabulary. I am woken by the antics of this charming young lady several times each week, even with my recently acquired earplugs. How can I regain peace in my home without getting the property manager’s attorney involved?
—Earmuffed and miffed,
YONGE AND EGLINTON
First, a little empathy: it’s possible your neighbour has no idea she’s broadcasting her personal life like a radio soap opera. Before launching into a campaign of wall banging, slip a polite unsigned note under her door, asking her to use her inside voice. If the anonymous shaming doesn’t work, try some non-confrontational confrontation: drop by with some cookies, or maybe a bottle of 100 proof bourbon, and introduce the subject by commenting on the surprisingly thin walls before broaching the Sid-and-Nancy drama. That way, the two of you can shake your heads at the developer’s cheapness instead of facing off as plaintiff and defendant. Should both those strategies fail to tame her inner howler monkey, try a little elbow grease: noisy neighbours are part of urban life, so you might have to suck it up and hang some sound-absorbing acoustic panels on your shared wall. If you’re an owner, hang an extra layer of drywall with soundproofing behind it, which is relatively cheap and shouldn’t take more than a weekend to install. If the situation still doesn’t improve, then it’s time to talk to your condo board. Still, there is a glass-half-full side to hearing your neighbours’ most intimate conversations: you’ll have plenty of blackmail material, should the need arise.