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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

How to Deal with a Potentially Unsafe Neighbor

We’ve all heard the saying “keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.”


The phrase is attributed to Sun Tzu, a Chinese military general. While we don’t know too much about Sun Tzu’s personal life, we’re fairly confident he wasn’t talking about a bad neighbor when he came up with his famous quote.


Having difficult neighbors is a challenge in itself. Having neighbors who make you feel worried or afraid takes things to the next level.


This post will describe what you can do if your neighbor makes you feel unsafe.


Don’t Be Too Quick to Judge

We aren’t in any way encouraging you to put yourself at risk. However, if you get a weird feeling about someone but don’t know what’s going on, give the situation time. Sometimes we don’t click with people right away. Your neighbor may be eccentric or abrasive, but ultimately harmless.


Seek Answers from a Third Party

Perhaps a different neighbor can clue you in on what is going on with the person you’re concerned about. Maybe they’re grieving a loss or layoff. If their behavior toward you is the problem, consult a third party about whether this person has acted strangely in the past. Gather information.


Approach Your Neighbor

Again, only do this if you feel safe. Just remember that a polite conversation can go a long way. Your neighbor may be receptive to feedback. If they spend most evenings lurking on the edge of their property line, there could be a reasonable answer. You may feel reassured by making contact.


Consider a Lawsuit

Going to court is something of a last resort. However, if your neighbor continually dumps trash on your lawn or allows their cat to claw through your garden, a nuisance claim can bring resolution. Don’t forget to approach your neighbor first—ideally with a polite plea to improve their behavior.


Call the Police

It goes without saying that if you’re truly afraid, you should call 911. In turn, if you think your neighbor may be a danger to themself or others, contact the police right away. Follow your instincts in the event of a situation that’s really unnerving.


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