When you moved to the city to be close to all the amenities that Seattle has to offer, you forgot to consider one important factor: living in the city means living close to other people—yuck.
Unfortunately, if you want to live in the city (and who doesn’t), you are going to have neighbors. Dealing with people can be a stressful experience, but there are some easy tricks you can use to diffuse the situation when your neighbors get on your nerves.
Before you try anything else, the best bet is to simply ignore them. Pretend that they don’t exist. Never make eye contact or give them any sort of hand signal, and whatever you do, absolutely do not speak to them. Most problems between neighbors will go away if you ignore them long enough.
As a well-educated Seattleite, you are probably already proficient in the “ignore them” method, which has its limits. When simple cold shoulders won’t do the trick, it’s time to take things to the next level: passive-aggressiveness.
There are many ways you can put passive-aggressiveness to work for you as you deal with pesky neighbors. Effective methods can range from something as simple as constantly calling them Bob because you “forgot” their name or leaving nasty anonymous notes on the windshield of their car to more advanced techniques such as offering to check their mail and watch their cats when they go on vacation, then never setting foot on their property while they’re gone.
If your neighbor really gets out of control, it may be time to pull out the big guns, metaphorically speaking. We call this final method of engagement “mimicum ad absurdum.” To successfully employ mimicum, just take whatever annoying behavior your neighbor is doing and do it yourself, only when you do it, take it to a ridiculous extreme.
Let me give you a few examples to help you visualize.
Say your neighbor has an annoying habit of playing loud music at night, and no matter how hard you ignore them or how many nasty anonymous notes you leave, they just keep doing it. Time for mimicum. Build a 50-foot stage in your back yard, install a 64-speaker sound system, and hold live nightly concerts until they get the point.
Or what if your neighbor keeps letting their dog poo in your yard? The simple and effective mimicum strategy to deal with this problem is to call up the nearest dairy, order three or four dump trucks full of manure, and have it delivered to your neighbor’s front yard. Repeat as necessary until the problem is eliminated.
Next time you find yourself annoyed by the people you are forced to live in close proximity to, just refer to this handy guide and your problems will dissolve like a biodegradable styrofoam-substitute food container.