Boon or bane: The ugly truth about dealing with neighbors

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Illustration by Miles Huffman

For every good neighbor, there is always another one that is just plain annoying.

These neighbors are the ones who borrow your vacuum but always forget to return it. They also say they will clean it out before they return it, but that never happens.

They are the neighbors of broken promises.

The good and the bad things that come with living so close to others really depends on who lives nearby. It’s possible, but unlikely, to get lucky and have great neighbors.

In the year and a half that I have lived in my apartment, I have had two types of neighbors.

The first were normal, nice and down-to-earth people.

They weren’t crazy, loud or obnoxious. They didn’t do drugs, and when they borrowed something they would always bring it back or try and reimburse me for letting them borrow it.

These are the neighbors who are fun to visit with and have dinner and movie nights or a few drinks, and it’s not weird or awkward.

The second type of neighbor is the annoying, needy kind.

In my case, they thought we were best friends and used that to try and borrow, use or take anything that I had whenever they wanted. This is the kind of neighbor who wants to go out and get drinks but has no money and expects others to pick up the tab.

Soon enough, weeks go by and they still haven’t paid the money back because they have too many bills. They complain about not being able to pay bills, but regularly call in sick to work and always have enough money for liquor and cigarettes.

Somehow these neighbors who couldn’t pay for anything decided it was a good idea to get an animal, an absurd prospect for people who can’t take care of themselves.

It got especially bad when my neighbor’s cat got worms. He failed to mention that to me before I let his cat come over to my house.

The next day, I saw something slimy and yellow on my cat’s leg. I took a closer look and realized it was moving. My cat had gotten worms from my neighbor’s cat.

I was furious.

My neighbor had “forgotten” to mention that his cat had worms.

In the end, I ended up buying an expensive medication for my cat, without any help from my neighbor.

Neighbors come in all shapes and sizes. When living so close to each other, people inevitably are going to be involved in each other’s lives.

Don’t be afraid to confront neighbors about the problems that they are creating — it’s the only way they will be solved.

Jason Spies can be reached at [email protected] or @Jason_Spies on Twitter.