Colorado is home to some of the nicest people on Earth. Perhaps it’s the clean mountain air, the healthy living, or just loving the scenery, but even in a big city like Denver, we are known to be friendly and hospitable. Maybe that is why I’m so shocked when I hear stories of neighborhood feuds and brawling neighbors. In fact, we even had clients that have sold their home just because they didn’t like the people next door.
Why is the Grass Greener?
I remember as a kid there was one house on the block where you weren’t allowed on the lawn. The gentleman who lived there was quite serious and we suffered many tongue lashings and threats if we dared touch his perfectly manicured grass. Later as a teen, he asked me to mow his lawn in the summer as it had become too hard for him. I then learned that he kept the lawn perfect for his wife who when very sick, loved to look at the yard and flowers. He just wanted it to be perfect for her even after she had passed away. I admit, I worked extra hard in the following years to make sure it looked perfect and even shooed off a few youngsters myself.
It’s surprising what can make people upset. Overhanging trees, barking dogs, people parking in front of your house, or kids running across a lawn can cause even the nicest person to become enraged. Most of the time it isn’t a serious or damage causing issue that becomes the spark that lights the fire, but a simple misunderstanding or pent-up anger about something that was never resolved.
Be the Big Person
Someone has to be the big person, who talks with respect, humility, and is willing to solve the problem without becoming overly emotional. That should be you. Whether you are having a problem with the neighbor or they have a problem with you, the first thing you should do is try to talk about it. The causes of most neighbor wars are just simple misunderstandings or something that is easily corrected. Talking is always the best step before you start complaining to the other neighbors, calling the police, or going to court. You never know what you might find out, and resolving the conflict may result in lifelong friends.
Remember, this is your neighbor. Not only do you share space, you should be looking out for each other, protecting each others' children, and making sure each of you is safe. It makes no sense to battle over inconsequential things. While sometimes it makes great movies, it doesn’t make your neighborhood any happier. Click here for some good tips on resolving conflict.
We all want to be happy and love our home. Perhaps today you are sitting there looking with disdain at a pile of leaves from last fall that keep blowing in your yard, or wondering how long it will take for the neighbor’s luscious crop of dandelions to make their way to your pristine yard. You may even be grinning because you intentionally parked 6 inches closer to the dividing line just to make a point. Whatever the issues, large or small, reach out and do your best to be the neighbor you always wanted. You will be glad you did.