(Photo: Straits Times)

Sometimes good neighbours make good friends but that’s not always the case in our busy society. Most people don’t even know their neighbours these days and those who do may choose to keep a distance. But what happens when what should be a cordial relationship turns sour?

Madam Toh found out the hard way when she locked horns with her neighbour outside their Chai Chee residence. The two women engaged in a 18-minute tussle, which left Madam Toh bruised, bloodied and in shock. The trigger? An apparent misunderstanding over a noise complaint.

Her case is a shocking reminder that how you interact with the people who live in close proximity with you make all the difference between a happy home life or nightmare living situation. Read on to find out more about the different types of nasty neighbours you may encounter and how to deal with them.

How To Deal With Nightmare Neighbours

The Difficult Neighbour

These neighbours tend to make life more difficult than it needs to be. Whether it’s bothering you about the way your shoes are arranged outside your home or dropping heavy hints about your overgrown house plants, this type of neighbour always has an opinion and will make sure you hear about it.

How to deal: Feigning innocence is your best bet here. Keep up a good rapport with your neighbour and they’ll be less likely to call you out on certain things or at least make an effort to let you know in a nice way. Also, a little physical contact can go a long way. Smile, wave and greet your neighbour when you can and they’ll have a much better impression of you even if they don’t know your name.

(Related: 20 Pratical Home Hacks To Make Your Life Easier)

How To Deal With Nightmare Neighbours

The Noise Makers

These neighbours just won’t let up with whatever they’re doing and won’t let you get any sleep either. From loud music to shouting matches, these are the types to avoid if you’re looking to inject some zen into your home life. They are also especially annoying if you have children in the house.

How to deal: Engage and communicate. Sometimes people don’t realise that the racket they’re making can be heard from the outside or maybe they just get too over-excited in the heat of the moment (football fans anyone?) but a simple heads up might change that. Be courteous and just let them know that you’d like it if they kept it down once in awhile.

How To Deal With Nightmare Neighbours

The Errant Pet Owner

These neighbours may have cute, fluffy animals that they treat like family but that doesn’t mean you want to have anything to do with them. From letting their pets go loose on the neighbourhood, to leaving globs of feaces in common areas, errant pet owners are all fur and no fun.

How to deal: Here, too, communication is your best bet. Let your neighbour know gently but firmly that they should keep their pets on a tighter leash or offer suggestions on how they can manage their family pet duties efficiently. Avoid being snarky at all costs, pet people tend to be sensitive when it comes to their little furballs.

How To Deal With Nightmare Neighbours

The Dangerous Neighbour

You don’t know what they’re up to but you know something’s not quite right. Some neighbours should just be avoided at all costs but be alert at all times and if you see anything remotely suspicious, trust your instincts and report the issue.

How to deal: Don’t go snooping around, but it’s worth getting to know your neighbour a little bit so you know that nothing illegal is happening. This doesn’t mean actual verbal communication but maybe what you can deduce from conversations from your other neighbours in the vicinity who have been residing there for longer.

How To Deal With Nightmare Neighbours

The Property Devaluator

These neighbours may be friendly enough but they are also messy and dirty. Leaving bags of trash outside in the common areas or letting old bicycles collect dust and rust – they just can’t seem to throw anything away properly.

How to deal: Again, as with any tense situation, try to communicate your frustrations with the offending party. Things may not always be how they seem. Maybe your neighbour is elderly and can’t manage to dispose of her trash in a suitable manner or maybe those bikes that you think are just a waste of space are actually a slice of nostalgia that reminds her of the yesteryear. Speak up and find a solution…together!