Noisy floors not neigh­bor’s is­sue; it’s your prob­lem

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Carolyn Hax Tell Me About It is writ­ten by Carolyn Hax ofthe Washington Post. Her col­umn ap­pears on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day. Email her at tellme@wash­post.com.

Dear Carolyn: My boyfriend and I re­cently be­gan rent­ing a condo. Our neigh­bor up­stairs, “Kathy,” has very squeaky floors. She’s not al­ways bare­foot nor is she a light step­per.

While I un­der­stand no one can be quiet all the time, I have been up, lis­ten­ing to her walk through her room since 5:45 a.m. I be­gan count­ing — 118 times she crossed the room. In an hour.

How do I ask her to please be more con­sid­er­ate? Given our one pre­vi­ous in­ter­ac­tion, I get the feel­ing Kathy could be very dis­mis­sive of my opin­ion.

— Sleep­less in An­napo­lis, Md. Dear Sleep­less: As she should be, al­beit with the ut­most ci­vil­ity and sym­pa­thy for your plight.

Why? Be­cause you’re not ask­ing her to re­strict her hop­scotch­ing hippo re­hearsals to day­light hours; you’re pre­sum­ing to dic­tate how, when and how fre­quently she walks through her apart­ment.

How would you re­spond to a neigh­bor who asked you to walk less? “No prob­lem, I’ll just re­main perched upon th­ese here pil­lows”?

It’s not rare, what you’re go­ing through — the dis­cov­ery that not all apart­ments were built re­cently or well. It’s also a raw deal, does ruin sleep, and does al­ways seem to come right af­ter you’ve in­vested hard work, emo­tion and cash in es­tab­lish­ing a new home.

But none of th­ese needs to be Kathy’s prob­lem in her new role as eas­i­est en­tity to blame.

What you can do is take your own noise-re­duc­tion mea­sures, start­ing with the ob­vi­ous earplugs and work­ing your way up. If noth­ing works, then you can ap­proach Kathy — not to blame her, but in­stead to in­vite her sym­pa­thy and co­op­er­a­tion. “I re­al­ize it’s an old/ squeaky build­ing, and a per­son needs to be able to walk around with­out wor­ry­ing about her down­stairs neigh­bor”— a con­cept you really, really must em­brace to pull this off — “but my ceil­ing and your floor have a noise prob­lem, so I’m won­der­ing if there’s any­thing you’d be will­ing to try ... .”

How­ever you choose to han­dle it, make sure it’s a way you’d re­spond to sym­pa­thet­i­cally if you were in Kathy’s place. If you come at this only from your per­spec­tive, then you all but force her to de­fend hers. Dear Carolyn: My ex and I broke up a few months ago. I was fi­nally start­ing to feel bet­ter, then I found out from Face­book he is dat­ing some­one else. I’m shocked and hurt. He was telling me the week be­fore that he still missed me. I don’t un­der­stand how he could be dat­ing some­one so fast.

Ev­ery­one has told me it’s just a re­bound and it doesn’t mean any­thing, but it makes me feel worth­less and that our re­la­tion­ship meant noth­ing.

Is dat­ing a new per­son im­me­di­ately af­ter break­ing up an aw­ful thing to do, and what does it say about the old re­la­tion­ship? — D. Dear D.: It says noth­ing about the old re­la­tion­ship ex­cept that it’s over, and that’s in­for­ma­tion you al­ready had.

It might be a re­bound; it might be for good. He can miss you and still date. There’s no re­lief avail­able to you in th­ese de­tails; you’ll find it only by tend­ing to your re­cov­ery and let­ting him tend to his. I’m sorry.

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