Apartment Advice

Your Guide to (Respectfully) Quieting a Noisy Neighbor

It’s one thing to be stuck listening to the traffic and sirens of the typical suburban neighborhood.

It’s another thing to have to listen to your neighbor’s three-hour long phone conversation or eclectic taste in music.

When you have a noisy neighbor, whether it’s in your home or a hotel room, it’s stressful. You can’t concentrate, you can’t sleep and you can’t confront them.

Or can you?

Most consider it rude to approach a neighbor who is discourteous and inconsiderate. This non-confrontational bone in your body is the one causing you to scream into your pillow in frustration.

But, there are other options besides frustration and rude confrontation.

Yes, it’s possible to be polite and courteous and still get the job done.

If your sleep is on hold until they go to bed, here’s the guide you need to respectfully quiet your noisy neighbor.

1. Try the Direct Approach

Unless you want to deal with the noise forever or move out, you’re going to have to talk to your neighbor. This is hard for a lot of people, especially if you don’t like confrontation.

Just know that you’re probably blowing up the conversation in your head to more than it will be. Your first approach doesn’t have to be more than a few seconds of simple, straight to the point dialogue.

Sometimes direct is best. In most cases, your neighbor doesn’t realize how loud they are being.

Knock on their door or take an opportunity when you see them outside. Let them know that the walls are thin or their window is open and you can hear their personal conversations.

Chances are they don’t want you to know all of their intimate details and they’ll quiet down automatically.

2. Offer Suggestions

Maybe the direct approach didn’t work and you’ve still got noisy neighbors. But instead, you now have the added resentment of knowing that they know they’re being loud.

Since they are aware that their noise is distracting you, they shouldn’t be surprised if you offer helpful tips on how they can quiet down.

This is in the spirit of assisting them, not in a sarcastic or confrontational manner.

Making polite suggestions is a life skill that comes in handy in many circumstances. It’s not being a doormat; it’s being tactful and it’s necessary to get what you want sometimes.

There’s a saying, “You catch more flies with honey,” and it’s true. There may be time for sarcasm and irritation later, but you’re not there yet. Wait until you can be calm and polite, then approach your neighbor with your advice.

If the problem is footsteps over your head, suggest to your neighbor that they use slippers.

Let your neighbor know that wireless headphones are available and inexpensive as well.

They may not take you up on your tips, but the second time you bring up their noise level might be enough to quiet them down without external help.

Related: How to Meet Your Neighbors [5 Proven Methods]

3. Explain the Consequences of Their Noise

By now, the neighbor knows you hear them, but they don’t mind their personal life aired out. They know there are solutions to their level of decibel output, but they’re not applying them.

Resentment begins fostering on both ends. Before you move into the “clearly irritated zone,” try one more time.

You may need to step it up and let them know how it’s affecting you. The application of real harm to others is often enough to work on a good portion of people.

Be truthful, even if you’re exaggerating a tiny bit.

Do you have little ones waking up to their loud music? Is your lack of sleep about to cost you your job?  Is your physical health dependent on getting a full night of sleep?

Most people have an internal detector for obvious stories, so keep your struggles real but don’t sugarcoat them. Your noisy neighbors need to know the consequences of their irresponsible actions.

4. Don’t Antagonize

Whatever you do, don’t engage in unfriendly retaliation. This never ends well.

Stooping to their level just invites more conflict and increases the stress you are already feeling.

Let them know that if their incessant loudness at inappropriate hours doesn’t stop, you’ll be taking the next step and seeking outside help.

Related: 3 Scary Things All Introverts Must Overcome to Be Successful

5. Use the Authorities That You Have

Eventually, enough will be enough and you’ll have to get help.

If you have a lease, read the fine print and see what your options are. Go to the property manager or landlord and get them involved. Chances are if you’re irritated by the obnoxious behavior of your neighbor, you’re not the only one affected.

You can also go further than your apartment building if your landlord isn’t able to help. Find out what your zoning laws are for your neighborhood. Contact the neighborhood association and see if they can assist you with noise ordinance enforcement.

As a last resort, if things escalate into ugly territory, call in law enforcement. This should never be the first action.

First responders are busy dealing with life and death situations. Unless you feel like you may be in danger because of the buildup of conflict with your neighbor, try to avoid this route.


With a noisy neighbor, be careful how you tread. It may be that they simply don’t realize their loudness and simple redirection may help. Or they could be unpleasant people who don’t care how their behavior affects others.

But you don’t want their behavior to change your pleasant personality.

Before you fly off the deep end and engage in conflict, be sure you follow this guide to respectfully quiet your neighbors.

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