best way to complain

moonshine22September 27, 2004

I am being annoyed by new neighbors but I'm hesitant about the best way to let them know. I am a senior-ish grad student living next door to some newly matriculated students...(but please note, we are not living in a dorm -- it is an apartment building with other non-students)...I will be a teaching assistant to these students later in the year, hence my concern to remain on the best terms possible.. on the other side of these students happens to be another apartment of new students and the bunch of them are constantly bumping back and forth between the two apartments and chatting in the hallway, and leaving their doors open so conversations and cooking smells waft out etc. etc....I find this a little ridiculous but I don't really care, except! everytime they bounce between apartments the door is slammed. it's not angry slamming, just careless, too-rushed-to-turn-the-doorknob-while-closing slamming. it starts after 6pm and continues till 2 am, probably twenty times an evening (although I am not quite obsessively annoyed enough yet to count -- I'd like to take care of this before it progresses to that). it is sporadic and unexpected and keeps me awake. of course, doors shutting is normal noise to hear so i feel a little ridiculous about complaining. but i was never bothered by (or even noticed) the comings-and-goings of my previous neighbor. i have the same kind of door and i know it is possible to shut the door much more quietly. also, one or two slams a night wouldn't bother me, but over and over drives me nuts. the way our doors are situated, i am likely the only neighbor on the floor bothered by their habit, so i can't just quietly wait until someone else complains (this has been going on since mid-august). So I was thinking I should leave them a note, because it would bother *me* to be gotten up from TV or homework or socializing to be reprimanded for my door habits. This is the note:

Sorry to bother you, but we were hoping you could shut your door a little more gently. The noise travels very well and it's been waking us up. Thanks!

Please nitpick it for anything that would offend you, and is it ok if i "forget" to leave my name?

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I think I'd sign it--there's something about the anonymity that's vaguely insulting or censorious.

Also, sometimes a note isn't the best thing, for that reason--it can give the impression that you're too mad to trust yourself to talk to them.

The tone of yours if very matter-of-fact, and not too apologetic. Sometimes it's hard to get the "tone" right. I think yours it good, but you stll loose the friendliness.

Is there anyway you can catch them in person, and ask them w/ a smile? Use almost the same words, and the same BRIEFNESS--trying to explain or justify your request makes it seem like lecture, I think, and it's very infuriating. Just ask them, in a friendly tone, and smile.

Whichever you do, continue to smile and say hello in a neighborly (but not chummy) way after you've made your request. That'll defuse any resentment they feel or any of their worries that you're seething over there.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 10:49AM
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".I will be a teaching assistant to these students later in the year, hence my concern to remain on the best terms possible"

Let them know that, and then ask them politely to be a bit quieter, because it botherss you when you are grading papers. The implied threat is that you may be bothered while grading their papers.

" it starts after 6pm and continues till 2 am," ... let the manager know, and have them intervene. When fresh from the confines of their homes, younglings occasionally need to be reminded that they are not the only ones in the world.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 10:01AM
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Hi Moonshine, There is a 'strip' of wood, part of the doorway, about 3/8 of an inch wide around most every doorframe that keeps the door from falling through. Get some Double sided carpet tape and cut pieces about 1 1/2 inches long (trim along the length to the 3/8's or as wide as you need) and place them around the frame, (ONLY TAKE THE PAPER OFF THE TAPE on the SIDE that STICKS to the FRAME or they will also stick to the door and you don't want that) Place them about 10" apart depending on weight and size of the door(s). Sometimes only the top 3rd of a door needs done, but if out of plumb (warped) it will need the top half or more. You won't believe how much this will help. I started doing this on doors in my first apartment and have had the same ones on my bathroom doorframe over 10yrs.
Try to get the Super to do it if you can't.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 4:00PM
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Hi again...sorry for lagging so long in thanking you for your suggestions. I did actually run into one of them one day in the hall and had a little chat mentioning the door. It was all very cordial and friendly. But there was absolutely no improvement. So I am left thinking that the "slamming" that I am hearing is a normal door noise to them. I've gotten to know them better since then, and it seems like they are just kind of oblivious (to the idea that neighbors can hear them, to schoolwork importance, etc. etc.). I'm thinking of making a request to the housing office something like Carole39's suggestion. Thanks again for your comments :)

    Bookmark   November 13, 2004 at 12:39AM
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Probably making such a request and getting the intervention would impress upon them a bit that they are disturbing others. Being oblivious to others is a VERY hard habit to break through - particularly from the outside. Also, if they don't all realize what is happening and think it is important, it will continue, most likely.

If you see any of them again, you might want to say that you have guessed that it must be very difficult to remember in the middle of the night, when all of them are up and awake, that something as small as closing their door could sound loud in another apartment. Maybe ask if there any chance that they could put a little sign up inside their doors to remind themselves to close the door more gently, particularly after dark? Naturally, as their neighbor and TA, you would appreciate it. Hopefully you can get them to discuss it with each other.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2004 at 12:46PM
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I am so afraid of confronting my upstairs neighbors and complaining about their heel-planted stomping that rattles my brain to no end. It is like I am living inside a drum. I am financially, physically, and emotionally too ill and exhausted to move out of this unit and find a top-floor unit. Sudden high-frequency vibrations and booms are absolutely startling, epsecially when I am trying to fall asleep. I am too ashamed to have company over to my home for fear of them knowing that I have been tolerating this noise. However, I made the first step and sent my landlord an e-mail about this predicament. I so very much want to tell my neighbors: "Here is the deal, in order for me to be able to enjoy a meal or a book in peace, or better yet to sleep uninterruptedly, . . I ask that all of you tip toe around the apartment from room to room as if you were thiefs" . .this is not a reasonable request. I may try a white noise machine. Earplugs do not remedy the high frequency vibrations and booms... I am a very large and heavy person, I tip toe in my apartment 24/7. I would be absoultely mortified and ashamed if I ever learned that I was subjecting my downstairs neighbor to a slight portion of the noise that I constantly endure. My ankles get to tense with my tiptoe-ing that they literally hurt at the end of the day. I am a VIP tennant in this slum with nearly ten years of occupancy. I hope that the current resident management in this property will break their back to help this situation, I feel that I deserve it.

Peace and be well,

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 7:05PM
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