A Solution for a Neighbor Who Complains Too Much About Noise

Dr. Worthington,

I have a neighbor in the floor below who is over-sensitive and calls the cops on me constantly for noise complaints. It’s to the point where the cops and I are on a first name basis. At first, admittedly, I did have my music turned up a bit, but only because I didn’t think I had a neighbor and didn’t realize she moved in. But now, she is angry for every little thing like just walking around in my apartment. What can be done so I don’t have to put up with this just short of moving?


Wilmington, DE

annoyed neighbor who complains about noiseWell Skyler, I can tell you right now that her life is in shambles. She is so angry at life that she is looking for reasons to make other people suffer just like she is. So you should take solace in the fact that every step you take or music you play is a pin prick in her daily life.

I would invest in a police scanner, so when she does call in a complaint you can prepare to make her look even worse. Once you have a scanner, poke her by listening to your music loudly, but only so it bothers her and not your other neighbors. Once you hear the call come in, start playing classical music or NPR at a barely audible level. When the cops knock, invite them in. Have a book nearby, so you can let them know that you were reading and this is the current environment that made her call them. The atmosphere in your apartment should be the most calm and relaxed environment. By the way, make sure your police scanner is off and hidden.

Then I would complain that the neighbor downstairs is nuts and you’re tired of the harassment. I imagine, by contrast, she will be a mess emotionally. If they pay her a visit to get her side of the story, then hopefully they will see this and make the connection.

Keep doing this over and over again until you feel you have enough incidents to start pushing for a harassment charge or maybe even a lawsuit.

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