It is not just civil to be nice to your neighbors; it is a necessary ‘investment’ because you never know when they would be of help. And there’s a reason why the entire world is referred to as a ‘global village’ because we want everyone to be a ‘neighbor’- someone we can keep in touch with, someone who can commune with and come to our aid when we urgently need their help.
But some people can really test you to your breaking point. They surpass your maximal tolerance level and the best you can do to save your heart from literally bursting out is to limit contact to the barest minimum. They think the fact that you respond to their greetings with a smile gives them the license to intrude into your matters just because…well, we are neighbors.
Come to think of it, is that how the concept of fencing or walling our homes arrived? What if it’s not to just keep the house ‘in’ but to keep others ‘out’? Is that why some houses have taller walls than others? To further emphasize the point to mind our own business?
I’m not a big fan of noisy places. It disrupts my whole system and gets me restless. To have neighbors who are either always shouting at each other or playing my least favorite genre of music non-stop on high volumes would be a near-perfect definition of hell on earth for me. I find myself at my very best in a calm and serene environment. My thinking capacity is heightened and my mood is set right. Any disturbance could upset my mood the whole day and render me unproductive. This reminds me of some of my ‘woeful’ days on campus; when students in my hostel block would put their stereos on full blast for hours especially during weekends. What torture!
As much as I despise noisy neighbors, I don’t think I can tolerate the nosy type any better. There’s a reason why people walk away right after responding to the ‘how are you?’ inquiry. Whatever they might be going through is personal and not for ‘neighborly’ consumption unless one clearly takes away the boundaries probably because he really needs to let out what is bothering him.
But the one or two-time invitation doesn’t grant you access to someone’s life anytime you are bored with your own life just so you can entertain yourself. Even the Bible advises us to live peaceably with all men as much as we can. God knows some people are just plain difficult to live with.
I thank God for the neighbors that I have; they are generally not noisy. So if they get a little loud once in a while, I don’t let it bother me too much.
Everyone is entitled to some moments of ‘letting out steam’ from time to time. As for them being nosy, one cannot help it. Even when you repaint your house, they want to know if an event is coming up (where I come from, most families repaint their houses when a relative dies or if there’s a marriage ceremony approaching). And they have the guts to inquire as if they have the right to know.
If all communities around the world were made up of either nosy or noisy neighbors, I think I’d settle for the nosy. Because I determine how much information goes out to them and I plan to keep my issues to myself as much as possible. But on the other hand, if the neighbors would thunder the whole place with noise but would mind their own business, it sounds like a fair settlement. I can’t seem to make up my mind.
Which one do you find more tolerable? The inquisitive or the loud neighbor? Which one is the last straw for you?
Josephine Amoako (c) 2016