Whether you live in an urban or suburban setting, you probably live in close proximity to other people. Despite your best efforts to either avoid these people or put your best foot forward, sometimes they just aren’t worth your time. Some of them might even go out of their way to appear downright un-neighborly. It’s those people that deserve your stink-eye. They’re the ones who have ruined an otherwise quiet street.
First, it's always best to dig up dirt. These days you can pretty easily get sensitive info on your neighbor (or landlord, roommates, etc) by deep searching their name and state for police records, background check reports, and all social media accounts and photos, i.e. the stuff you can't get by googling.
Of course, we want to be as friendly as possible because we all have to share this Earth, but for those neighbors who just can’t take a hint, here are ten entertaining ways to let them know that what goes around, comes around.
1. Have your car alarm go off at unusual times.
Evening hours usually work best. Between 7 and 10 pm seems to be the optimal time period for filling the night air with the sounds of vehicle alarms. Of course, don’t rule out using your car alarm earlier, which coincidentally, coincides with a much-anticipated televised sports event. Get yourself one of those car alarms from the 1990’s that literally talks when someone gets too close to the car. Your neighbors will hear, “Step away from the car,” or “No, no, don’t touch me.”
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could have your alarm go off after midnight any day of the week. Use this last option sparingly, as you don’t want to be the reason public executions make a comeback, and rightfully so.
2. a) Use your front yard as a storage facility.
Your front yard is the ideal space to place your refrigerator, whether it’s broken or not. During the summer, you can store beer, sodas, and ice cream for those long, hot summer evenings outside. If you don’t have an extra fridge for outside convenience, the contents of your garage will do nicely.
The sight of your property will quickly become the talk of the block. Your neighbors will soon understand that storage facilities can be expensive and that you’re just being frugal. This means that you will be able to spend more money on whatever their kid is selling door-to-door. Your reluctance to get rid of anything will signal to others that you embrace tradition, and long for a bygone era.
Even though it’s overdone, don’t be afraid to put an old car up on cinder blocks for the next few years. An old couch sitting on the lawn couldn't hurt either.
2. b) Neglect your wooden fences.
If you live on a corner, or even if you don’t, never paint your fences, no matter how bad they look. This will force one or two neighbors to politely ask, multiple times, when the fences will be painted. Tell your neighbors that you’ll get to it just as soon as you can.
When you get the chance, buy a bucket of any very brightly-colored paint and a paintbrush. Go outside and write on the fences in big letters, “Look, I finally painted my fences.” I’m sure this will be the last time anyone asks about those fences. If the sight of those fences really bothered them that much, they could have volunteered to do the painting themselves. Don’t you think?
3. Get your neighbors to keep their distance.
If you live in an apartment complex, chances are the walls separating each apartment are pretty thin. Why this is, nobody knows. I’m sure there’s been a time or two you overheard a conversation not meant for your ears. Make this work for you.
Pick a next-door neighbor who has been unusually nosy or loud, and wait until you know they’re home. Sit by the common wall you share with this neighbor. Talk loudly, as if on the phone and say, “I don’t care if you call the cops, I want my money, TODAY! Don’t make me go Fredo on your ass. The last person who messed with my distribution system hasn’t been able to reproduce.” These neighbors will now go out of their way to avoid you, maybe even make sure someone helps you carry your grocery bags to your apartment.
4. Share your music with your neighbors.
Everyone loves the sound of music. Just as some of your neighbors have shared their music with you and the neighborhood, you should do the same for them. Be sure to pick music that isn’t normally heard on your block, because nobody likes repetition. Maybe some Gregorian chants, marching band music, or opera lyrics sans orchestra.
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s loud enough to be heard at the grocery store around the corner. While the music is playing, take a stroll to the grocery store to see if you can still hear the music. If not, adjust the music accordingly when you get home. If any of your neighbors come by to talk about the music, tell them you didn’t know it was so loud and that you’ll turn it down. Of course, you won’t, but just tell them that.
5. Never take your Christmas lights down.
Just because it’s July doesn’t mean you need to take your Christmas lights down. Being the good neighbor you are, you’re always thinking ahead. The holiday season will be upon us again in a matter of months, and you don’t want to take the risk of being too busy to put your lights up again. With a little effort, other fall/winter decorations can be used throughout the year. That Halloween pumpkin can be used again for Thanksgiving, and then carved into a heart for Valentine’s Day. Frosty the Snowman can double as a leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day, as well as one of your in-laws while you’re driving in the carpool lane.
6. Get yourself one of those novelty musical car horns.
Nothing says “class” like a car horn that plays musical tunes. When you want to warn the neighborhood kids playing in the street to look out for approaching cars, namely yours, honk your horn repeatedly. Everyone will get out of your way when they hear “Muskrat Love” coming from your car. “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead,” “Monster Mash,” and “Afternoon Delight” are some particularly annoying tunes to choose from. Be sure to use your horn when passing by the home of a neighbor who you know has a sleeping infant.
7. Move “For Sale” signs around from one house to another in the neighborhood.
Just to see what happens, move a “For Sale” sign from its rightful house to the front yard of one of your neighbors. Who knows, maybe your neighbor will get the idea that it’s time to move. This is a project that you want to undertake late at night. You may be having trouble sleeping, and this might be a way to hasten the “sandman” to your door. Also, doing this late at night will ensure that there will be no discussions about this with your neighbor, or an irate real estate agent. I’m pretty sure they aren’t gonna want to split their commission.
8. Have your friends visit you at all hours of the day or night.
Not only will this build lasting relationships with your friends, it will also arouse the curiosity of your neighbors. They will ask themselves about your popularity, your profession, and whether your guests will be taking a closer look at their possessions. You may see an increase in home security systems on the block, but this is a good thing. Possible intruders will assume that your home has a security system as well, even though it doesn’t, and they will bypass your home in search of an easier target. Your rise in popularity will cause your neighbors to become more safety conscious, not to mention bump you to the foremost topic at the next neighborhood watch meeting.
9. Get a bullhorn to track down family members.
There will always be times you need to find a wayward child, parent, or spouse at a moment’s notice. Trying to find these people can be a time-consuming task. Whether you need to alert them to an important phone call, the start of a sports game, dinnertime, or time for their medication, you’ll want to be able to find that person in an instant.
When you’re using the bullhorn, the person that you’re looking for will know where you are, and be able to respond to your verbal requests. You might even want to consider getting a second bullhorn for that ever-forgetful person. Even if the person you’re looking for chooses not to answer, your neighbors will locate them for you, just to shut you up. Who says people can’t work together to reach a common goal? Your bullhorn will pay for itself in no time.
10. Use their secrets as leverage to get your way.
Ever wanted to tell your neighbor to turn the music down and not only have it done on the spot, but never hear it that loud again? Of course you have, because you believe in magic! Well, let's just say I've learned a little magic myself. You see, in any negotiation, the person who has more leverage usually comes out on top. Get enough leverage, and, like Burger King says, prepare to “have it your way.” The secret sauce here is digging up at least one or two juicy tidbits about your neighbor that they wouldn't want you announcing to the world. Then, politely let them know what you know, and the next time you make some neighborly requests for them to stop being so annoying, things are likely to go your way. You know what they say: living well is the best revenge.
Run a detailed public records search on your neighbor.
Have any weird or crazy neighbor stories? Ideas for getting back at your neighbors? Share them in the comments below.
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