Why You Hate Your Neighbor / Roommate… And How To Stop

The hatred that is born when a relationship with a neighbor or a roommate is severed, tends to burn real hot.

Some of the most heated disagreements people get into are ones with neighbors, roommates, and others with whom they cohabitate. You may have landed on this article following a heated disagreement with a neighbor in an effort to figure out how to solve a certain issue.

This article aims to provide some insight as to why you may have feelings of anger, hatred, and disapproval towards your neighbors.

It is important to understand the underlying aspects of the feelings you feel towards your neighbors in order to work towards a practical solution.

There are reasons why the anger you feel towards neighbors and roommates differs from anger you feel towards others in times of disagreement. The anger you feel towards a neighbor tends to live longer and burn hotter than the anger you have for someone cutting you off in traffic.

Why is this? Why do neighbors, roommates, and people we live alongside have the ability to bring out a cataclysmic level of anger?

The simple explanation is because they witness, and have an effect on, a part of our life which not many others do. Your neighbors and roommates have the ability to affect and change the quality of the way you live. They are your cohabitants, and with that comes a lack of control over their way of being which is frustrating to accept.

You’re Not More Correct in How You Live

The disagreements you have with neighbors and roommates hit on a very private and direct aspect of self-identity. If you disagree with a neighbor over what time they mow their lawn or play loud music, you are in essence disagreeing with how they live their life. Your neighbors and roommates return the favor when they send a noise complaint against you, or when your roommate deliberately lets the trash pile up until you are forced to take it out.

The battle which goes on is a battle of out-validating how we lead our lives. When others hint at the fact that we may be living our lives in a manner which is not “correct,” it gives birth to a response. Our response is to often double-down, and take a spiteful interest in their lives in an effort to attack. We begin to find holes in the things they do, and they begin to find inconsistencies with how we behave ourselves in response. Sooner or later, an all-out war breaks out.

Before you know it, you’ll be hating how they park their car, how they raise their kids, and how they shovel their snow. You’ll use the most mundane habits, behaviors, and traits of theirs to attack how they live their life.To prove to yourself that you lead your life in a more meaningful way than your neighbor lives theirs, you’ll grow to hate them and they’ll grow to hate you.

Remember this small fact in order to disengage from this vicious cycle: they way you lead your life is not more correct than how your neighbor leads their own.

No matter how convinced you are about being right, try to not allow yourself to judge. Though certainly possible to do, it is very difficult let go of this emotion. We often can’t easily admit this truth because the way our neighbors lead their lives has the capacity to affect how we live ours. If your neighbor’s actions never affected the perceived quality of your life, it would be easy to let them live in peace. However, once our lives become affected by their actions, the cycle of hatred yet again begins to spin.

They Shalt Not Cause Change in How You Live, or Shall They?

Anger comes about when we realize we won’t get our daily dose of sleep if our neighbors/roommates continue blasting their music into the night. Their choice of living has now affected our life without our choice, and resorting to hatred feels appropriate to do. Though you may try to control your neighbor’s behavior directly, it’s likely you won’t have much luck.

The choice then, should be made in essence with what you can control.  Once you witness unfavorable behavior from your roommates or your neighbors, you can choose to take one of two paths towards a solution:

  • You can allow your way of living to align with theirs, and perhaps jam out to music every night and wake up later right along with them.
  • Or you can take action to mitigate the situation by focusing on what you can control.

There are pros and cons to both of those solutions. One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t see the act of aligning your habits with your neighbors’ as a loss on your part. The relief of stress doing so will bring is by no means a loss for you.  Celebrate when tension between yourself and your neighbor is dissolved notwithstanding the methods used to dissolve it.

If you choose to align your way of living with the way your neighbors lead their lives, you must be fully confident in your decision to do so. Taking this approach will allow you to learn, and perhaps discover something new. Keep this option open when looking for ways to settle disputes, as not many consider it with enough thought.

The second option is to take control of only things that are under your control. In the case where your neighbor plays loud music, you always have the option of putting ear plugs in before you sleep. In a case when your roommate refuses to turn on the cooking fan while frying onions, you have an option to open up the windows. There are seldom times when you have absolutely no control over the situation at hand surrounding the behavior of another. Look for factors that you can control, and try your best to take control of them.

If you truly are left with no factors to control in the situation you find yourself within – and if you refuse to align your living habits with theirs – then your only options are to leave or to confront.

Leaving or Confronting 

Sometimes confronting your neighbors and roommates over bad behavior will do the trick, but sometimes it’ll make the problem worse. Don’t think that stopping the behavior in the current moment translates to a change in their behavior going forward. Humans can react in strange ways to being confronted by another, so look out for vengeful acts down the line. Confronting their behavior head-on can give rise to them confronting behavior of yours they’ve kept quiet about. It can fire up the cycle mentioned in the paragraphs above, and the floodgates of hatred can be opened up.

Leaving will, of course, solve the problem with the neighbor or the roommate that you have. This decision will understandably bring along its own set of stressors and worries, the risks of which are yours to calculate. It is generally better to leave than to confront with anger as you always want to limit possibility for vengeful acts. Leaving is the safest approach in mitigating hate for neighbors and roommates. However, this option should generally be left until a confrontation is certain to take place should you choose to stay.

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.