Everybody needs good neighbours.

There's nothing worse than an unfriendly or noisy (or an unfriendly and noisy) neighbour, especially if your ceiling is their floor, or your bedroom wall also is theirs. But there are ways you can help improve the situation.

1. Engage them in a conversation and listen to them. Everybody’s got a story.

2. Tell them politely that their behaviour is creating a problem for you. Sometimes people have no idea they are bothering others.

3. Think about the role you can play. Before you take a complaint to your Owners' Corporation Committee, write down five things you can do. This will give you a sense of control over your environment, instead of feeling like you have to be one of those people who complains about everything. For example, if the problem is a barking dog, perhaps you could refer them to Bark Busters at http://www.barkbusters.com.au.

4. Use assertiveness skills when speaking to your neighbours. Explain in a clear and unemotional way what the problem is and suggest a solution. For example, don’t say: "Your stupid music is too ****ing loud”. Maybe say something like: “We are having trouble sleeping in on Sunday mornings because your music wakes us up at 7am. Could you play music only after 9am on Sundays?”.

5. Manage your emotions. While you’re not responsible for how the neighbours live, you are responsible for your own actions. Talking to them when you are angry is likely to inflame the situation and lead to further problems.

Your community will be a better place to live if you take the time to get to know your neighbours.

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