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How to positively address an issue with a neighbour

If you have an issue with something that your neighbour is doing (or not doing), you can likely resolve it quickly and easily simply by talking to them. Communicating clearly with your neighbour is an effective way to resolve issues and prevent them from escalating into larger disputes.

While talking about issues in your condo community can be stressful, there are steps that you can take to prepare for having a productive and positive discussion. You can download the Preparing for a conversation with a neighbour template and make notes.

Before the Conversation

  • Prepare in advance: Plan out what you want to say to your neighbour before you talk to them. It may be helpful to write down what you want to say so you can refer to it during your conversation.
  • Define the issue: Make sure that you can clearly describe the issue, and what is causing it.
  • Describe why the issue is important to you: It is often useful to discuss why the issue is important to you, rather than focusing on the problem itself. By explaining why an issue is important to you, you and your neighbour may be able to find a compromise that meets everyone’s needs.
  • Consider possible solutions: Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem before talking to your neighbour. When thinking of possible solutions, try to consider your neighbour’s point of view. If you think you have identified a possible solution, make sure that you can clearly describe what everyone will have to do.
  • Choose an appropriate time: Choose a time for your conversation that works well for everyone. If you or your neighbour feel rushed, you may feel flustered or overwhelmed.

During the Conversation

  • Be polite and considerate.
  • Avoid using accusatory language and blaming.
  • Listen closely and acknowledge your neighbour’s point of view.
  • If you don’t understand something your neighbour has said, ask them to clarify.
  • Try to keep the conversation friendly. Remember that you and your neighbour probably have the same long-term goals, and that you may be living close to them for many years.
  • Try to keep calm. Remember that this may be the first time your neighbour is hearing about this issue.

After the conversation

  • Take note of what was said, and the date and time of your conversation.
  • If an agreement has been reached, you may want to write it down and share a copy with your neighbour.
  • Follow through with anything you commit to doing, and follow-up with your neighbour if they have committed to doing something.
  • If the issue comes up again, try speaking to your neighbour again. There might be a simple misunderstanding.

Next Steps

If you have spoken to your neighbour and the issue is still occurring, you may want to consider speaking to your condo manager or board. In many instances, your condo manager or board will speak to your neighbour on your behalf, and will try to resolve the issue.

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