Your Guide To Thwarting Nightmare Neighbor Behavior

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The idea of living in isolation with the nearest neighbor two miles away is unthinkable for a lot of people. We’re social creatures by nature and simply more comfortable living in relatively close proximity with one another. The exception is when those neighbors are living nightmares with bad habits that threaten your well-being, sanity, and property value. It’s a lot easier to forget about a random jerk that you might run across at the supermarket than it is when they’re living right next door.

With Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising hitting theaters this weekend, it felt like an opportune time to look at some of the worst bad neighbor offenses you might have the misfortune of encountering. Maybe you’re already familiar with these neighborly pests or you’ve been lucky enough to live in peace and tranquility thus far. Either way, it’s important that you can recognize potential problems unless you want to find yourself in your own neighborhood war zone:

Boundaries Have Become Completely Nonexistent

For nine seasons, Jerry Seinfeld stuck it out in his one-bedroom apartment, surrounded by some of the worst neighbors on the Upper West Side. When he didn’t have to deal with Newman plotting to “rue the day” and ruin Jerry’s life, he had Kramer constantly mooching off of him. Boundary-crossing neighbors like Kramer are a common species in the family tree of bad neighbors, and while they don’t necessarily mean any harm, their toe-stepping behavior can be maddening. If they’re not constantly borrowing your stuff without asking, they’re trying to rope you in on some harebrained business idea that you have zero-interest in.

Solution: Tall fences or answering the door in the nude, thus making them so uncomfortable that they never step foot on your doormat again. (This latter option does have potential to backfire in a a very messy way.)

Their Home Business Is A Shady Business

We never saw much of Jesse Pinkman’s neighbors on Breaking Bad but it’s probably a safe bet that they were suspicious of the goings-on in his house. The guy always had shady characters stopping by — looking at you, Skinny Pete and Badger — and was known to throw the occasional meth house party. Oh, there was also the time he attempted to dispose of a body in a bathtub with acid — a definite no-no for any neighborhood association. The neighbor who might be using their house for illegal activity isn’t one of the most common types of bad neighbors, but they’re certainly one of the most threatening.

Solution: If moving isn’t an option, it’s probably best to steer clear of them and call your local police precinct to ask for the occasional patrol car to cruise by. You should not go into business with them. You know nothing about meth making.

Congrats, There’s A New Cult On The Block.

So your neighbors drive their trash to the end of the driveway at night. Maybe they’re just lazy. You say they were digging large holes in the backyard at 2AM? It could just be that moonlight gardening is their new hobby. Or, they’re the new cult in the cul-de-sac. While you definitely need to respect your neighbor’s freedom to practice whatever religion they choose — or risk becoming the neighborhood jerk — if you suspect your new neighbors are relatives of The ‘Burbs’ Klopeks, trouble could be brewing.

Solution: Being absolutely certain that the newest version of Heaven’s Gate is holding residence on your block is crucial. That said, your best bet is to assemble a ragtag group of neighborhood busybodies and Corey Feldman to investigate, or just mind your own business and go get some tacos with your squad (+Feldman).

The Home-Value-Abuser

Family Matters might have been family friendly programming, but it’s still kind of amazing that Carl Winslow didn’t crack and eventually murder Steve Urkel. The nerd next door was just as invasive as Kramer, but far more destructive. The kid was a wrecking ball in suspenders and regularly caused thousands of dollars in property damage to the Winslow’s home. Real-life Steve Urkels might not be the norm, but neighbors who bring down the value of their neighbor’s homes are quite common. Whether it’s because they only mow their lawn twice a year or because there’s been a car on cinder blocks in their yard since the Clinton administration, their neglect befouls the whole street.

Solution: They could be going through a rough patch in life and have simply let house upkeep get away from them, or they just don’t care. Either way, communication is key here and it’s best to get your fellow neighbors on your side and simply talk to the neglectful neighbor. Or, better yet, let one of the other neighbors do it and stand in the middle of the street while it’s happening. Like, you could be a part of the complainy mob or you could be getting your mail. Who can tell?

The Better-Than-You Neighbor

You could argue that Homer is actually the worse neighbor on The Simpsons. He’s rude and enjoys tormenting his neighbors, whether it be Ned Flanders or George H. W. Bush. As much of a headache of a neighbor as Homer is, Ned Flanders is much more of a bad neighbor because of his attitude. The guy is constantly judging Homer with his holier than thou attitude and rubbing his perfect family in Homer’s face. Whether it’s intentional or not, these competitive Joneses will wage a psychological war on your self-esteem if you let them.

Solution: There’s really no easy fix for this one, other than simply learning to cope. It’s either that or head to Home Depot in a jealous rage and really show them what a backyard treehouse should look like.