Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I tell my naked-yoga-loving neighbours to put on some Lululemons?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I tell my naked-yoga-loving neighbours to put on some Lululemons?

I put up with their incense, wind chimes and backyard chickens, but every Sunday morning, without fail, I’m greeted by their bits when I open my blinds. Naked outdoor yoga feels like a step too far. How can I politely ask them to put some pants on?
—Nude Awakening, Davisville

You can’t. Whatever your boho neighbours decide to do on their property—including letting it all hang out—is their business. I sympathize: there are far more pleasant sights to wake up to than an X-rated downward dog (unless you’re into that, in which case, no judgment here), but it’s not like you’re being forced to look. If their nudity truly offends you, put up a privacy fence or just keep the blinds closed for an extra hour on Sunday mornings.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I have been considering going in on a property with friends. We casually brought it up during dinner with another couple and they got excited about the idea, which was awkward, since I wasn’t suggesting co-owning with them. I figured once the wine wore off they’d forget about it, but they keep sending us links to listings. I love them, but I don’t want to live with them. How can we brush them off without making things weird?
—Split Decision, Yonge and Eglinton

Short of ghosting them or packing your bags to find cheaper real estate in a different city (which might not be such a bad idea), there’s always the default option of being honest. Anyone who’s lived with roommates knows how complicated it can be. Since you’re investing your life savings into this decision—not just renting a dingy basement with a couple of pals—explain to your friends that you don’t think you’re roomie-compatible, and that you’d rather explore your options before committing. They might feel affronted, but your friendship will recover. The alternative of spending the next 50 years arguing over who’s going to take out the recycling is far worse than a bit of awkward tension.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My next-door neighbour wants to set up an apiary in her yard. My son is severely allergic to bees, so I explained to her that she was putting him at risk. She basically shrugged me off and talked at me about disappearing bees and our collapsing ecosystem being the real threat. Do I have any recourse?
—Hive Mentality, Kensington

Your neighbour’s environmental crusade is admirable in theory, but she’s going about it all wrong. Not only is it a jerk move to put thy neighbour in mortal peril, it’s also illegal for most people to place an apiary in their backyard. Bees cannot be kept within 30 metres of a property line, so unless your neighbour’s grounds are palatial, she’ll have to buzz off. If she doesn’t, you can call 311 to report her forbidden hives.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A few days ago, a guy sat down next to me on the streetcar and proceeded to stretch out into the widest manspread I have ever seen. Seriously. It was like he was trying to do an impression of the Grand Canyon. I almost wanted to congratulate him on his flexibility. I looked at him in horror and disbelief but he didn’t seem to notice, so I sat squished against the wall for a solid 20 minutes. What’s the correct way to shame manspreaders?
—Nut Case, Moss Park

While men have parts that relish a bit of breathing room, no parts need that much room. Being squished during rush hour is bad enough without having to cower from an intrusive thigh or an errant knee. Next time someone sits down beside you and proceeds to practise their centre-splits, shamelessly claim what little room is yours and speak up. Ask if they wouldn’t mind giving you a couple of inches (thank you very much!). They’ll likely be startled enough by your request to relinquish some territory. If they don’t, stare directly into their eyes, unblinking, until they back down.

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I run a small start-up with a robust beer fridge, and I encourage my colleagues to drink as a way to socialize and take the edge off. Recently, an employee told me she’s trying to get sober, and that the office dynamic makes her uncomfortable. How can I make the office a booze-free space without crushing everyone’s fun?
—Pint of No Return, King West

On one hand, temptation is ubiquitous, and people seeking sobriety need to fortify themselves against the onslaught of ads, bars and beer fridges they’re bound to confront. On the other, I’m convinced that drinking at work is this era’s “smoking inside”: disruptive, misguided and altogether unhealthy. Try putting your beer budget elsewhere (lunchtime yoga, a foosball table, puppy visits). Start-ups are rife with employee wellness schemes meant to compensate for the crushing hours and frantic pace—many of which present no opportunity to get sloshed.