I’ve lived in a few apartments over the years. Some nice, some not too dissimilar to that one banana peel that’s been sitting next to the dumpster for three weeks. Regardless of niceness or interior and exterior workings, though, there’s one thing they all had in common: neighbors. All apartment complex’s have them. Even that banana peel next to the dumpster. In fact, Tina and Rick, the nice couple that lived next to the banana peel, were perhaps the nicest neighbors I have ever had. And also raccoons.
When it comes to having apartment neighbors, you have two choices: befriend them, or act as though they don’t exist and avoid any kind of communication and interaction, even if that means hiding in the frozen foods section at the grocery store. This post is advice for those that choose the first option. Actually, that’s underselling. This post is advice for those that want to become best friends with their apartment neighbors.
The following seven pieces of advice are relevant for current and future tenants alike. Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list – there are infinite ways to make friends – but in my experience it’s a good place to start. (For the best results, try some combination of the following. But not all of them, you don’t want to seem desperate.)
1. Vacuum late at night. There’s nothing better than the sweet sound of a vacuum to help put you to sleep. Forget about fans, or soft, subtle sounds of nature playing in the background, vacuuming is the white noise you’ve always wanted. Your neighbors will pick up on this, and appreciate how thoughtful it was.
2. Walk constantly and aggressively. This one is especially great for making friends with the people that live below you. The more aggressive the better. If you have heals, bring ‘em out. If you’re in to clogging, don’t be afraid to practice for a few hours. If you’re in a bowling league but don’t want to drive to the bowling alley, go ahead and get some rolls in. It’s all just a nice way to let your neighbors know you’re thinking about them.
3. Let the water run longer than you need to. It’s always fun to hear your pipes working harder than they should. And, if you’re on one of those community apartment complex plans where you all split the water bill equally, regardless of who uses it the most, this is doubly effective.
4. Leave your trash sitting outside the front door for a couple of days. People love this. It shows them your taking care of your place, but not wanting to overflow the community trash. If you can smell it from two doors down, even better.
5. Play loud music. Oh, you normally put the volume at a respectable 4 out of 10? Come on, you can do better. Try 9. Heck, why not crank it up all the way! It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, you should always turn the music up louder than you think necessary. This will help you make friends for a couple of reasons. First, it lets people know what music you’re in to (it goes without saying you have exquisite taste). Which not only brings neighbors together, but allows you all to skip that ice breaker at the monthly pool party. Second, it means your neighbors won’t have to go to the trouble of playing their own music. Think about it. That’s minutes, even hours, of time saved searching YouTube, or taking chances on Pandora, or playing old playlists. You’re basically a public servant.
6. Borrow something and never give it back. I’ve seen it all too often. One neighbor lends another neighbor an item of theirs – you know, flour or something – and then that neighbor uses it for what they intended and then immediately give it back. I mean, how insulting is that? It’s like they don’t even value its worth. In order to show your neighbors you truly care, and don’t think of their personal property being worth the equivalent of a burnt rug, keep that item and never give it back. They may come around asking for it, but it’s all a front. Stay strong. Lie if you have to (watch, it’s easy: Ron, I gave that plunger back weeks ago. Silly you). They’re just happy to see you properly appreciate their stuff.
7. Let your dog shit on someone’s welcome mat and leave it. After all, nothing quite says ‘your the shit’, like actual shit on someone’s personal property.