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6 Ways to Handle Toxic Neighbors

The author has dealt with some unfortunate neighbors and is here to share advice for rising above the situation.

Are you dealing with toxic neighbors? Read on to find out how you can rise above and beyond their negativity!

Are you dealing with toxic neighbors? Read on to find out how you can rise above and beyond their negativity!

How to Deal With Toxic Neighbors: Rude, Intimidating Neighbors 101

Taking the high road when people are stirring strife and causing drama is a challenge. At first, you think everything is ok; you're having a great time, then, wham! Out of nowhere, you find yourself stunned in disbelief as people in your neighborhood peer through their curtains at you, talk behind your back, point their finger at you from the frozen goods at the local supermarket, and exclude you from the neighborhood yard sale.

What do these people want? Why are they laughing at you behind your back? Here are six essential tips to help you overcome your frustration and rise above and beyond your toxic neighbors' negativity.

What to Do About Toxic, Intimidating Neighbors: 6 Helpful Tips

  1. Make Peace With Yourself First
  2. Go About Your Day
  3. Do Your Best Every Day
  4. Remember, the Best Revenge Is Living Well
  5. Avoid Them Like the Plague
  6. Don't React in Any Way

1. Make Peace With Yourself First

Think back to see if there's anything you could have possibly done to warrant this awful behavior from the busybodies in your neighborhood.

Did you, could you, or even would you have stooped so low as to upset any of them? If so, it's ok to forgive yourself. Perhaps you should bring a freshly baked lemon meringue over to the pioneer who started the rumor-mongering and apologize. But if you genuinely can't figure out why everyone is so upset, don't give it another thought.

These people want to absorb your energy and effort. They want you to think something is wrong with you or you have done something to cause this catastrophic upset.

Be yourself, and know that you did nothing wrong—ignore them. When they get tired of you, they'll move on to their next victim. Let's hope that person is as smart as you are and doesn't give them an ounce of their attention.

2. Go About Your Day

It's possible that they just don't like you. As hard as that will be for those who cannot possibly believe that someone could not like them, believe me, it will become easier as your days go on. Obsessing about this will only give them what they want—they want to control you, bring you down, and make you stoop to their level.

Most people I've encountered who take pleasure in bringing others down are miserable themselves. Maybe they never had a flower garden, and yours is blooming out of control. Perhaps they could never eat ice cream, and they see you in a cute polka-dot dress happily strolling over to the truck every day to eat to your heart's content.

Who knows! Whatever the reason, there is no cause for you to give it another moment of your time. It's their problem; let it stay with them.

Remember, there are plenty of neighbors out there who will appreciate your friendship. Don't waste your time worrying about the energy-thieving neighbors who want to put you down!

Remember, there are plenty of neighbors out there who will appreciate your friendship. Don't waste your time worrying about the energy-thieving neighbors who want to put you down!

3. Do Your Best Every Day

No one can ask a thing of you. You are your own person. If you work for an employer, you are an employee and therefore must comply with the office rules. But in real life, when you are in your car, your home, or a coffee shop waiting for your pumpkin-flavored latte with hot, steamy cream (the way you like it), no one has the right to tell you it's not right until it's their way.

As you go through your life, you will begin to gain confidence and trust that your decisions are the best ones you can make because you made them. No one can take your right to choose away from you.

Therefore, you can choose to do your best every day. If it's not good enough for someone else or it's not their way, who cares? All that really matters is that it's good enough for you!

4. Remember, the Best Revenge Is Living Well

Living well doesn't mean you don't get the occasional cold and have to call out of work sick, or you aren't behind one month on the electric bill and need to get on a payment plan. It also doesn't mean that you are not living up to anyone's expectations because your car broke down, so you walked to work.

Living well means you are happy with who you are. It doesn't matter what anyone else says about you. You, yourself, define your happiness. And that, my friends, cannot be taken away—ever!

The best course of action when dealing with a toxic neighbor may be to find peace within yourself.

The best course of action when dealing with a toxic neighbor may be to find peace within yourself.

5. Avoid Them Like the Plague

Avoiding someone doesn't mean you need to be rude or shun them at the Friday night high school football game. It does mean that you don't have to seek that person out to figure out why they don't like you!

If a person honestly doesn't like you, why on earth would you want to try to be their pal anyway? Many people have a hard time understanding this concept. Why? Because people love to be accepted by others. Being rejected is emotionally challenging.

Take it from someone who understands this on a deep and personal level—when you are rejected by your mother at birth; one can't possibly be much more rejected in life after that!

So, don't make a habit of trying to suck up to everyone who has rejected you or treats you like you should be ashamed of yourself. No way! Don't ever back down from being who you are. You are unique because you are you! Once you understand that, you won't need other people so much or at all.

7 Quick Tips for Finding Peace in a No-Win Situation

  1. Start a journal.
  2. Make a list of the attributes you like in each of your neighbors.
  3. If someone has added you to their blocked list in life, avoid them.
  4. When you hit it off with someone down the street, make it known that you appreciate them.
  5. Overcome rumors with truth. Don't fear people because of the latest lie told about you at the corner market.
  6. Be true to who you are, and stand your ground against unwarranted complaints.
  7. Find it in yourself to shut the door, close the curtains, turn off your phone, and just live your life.

6. Don't React in Any Way

Finally, after all else, the battle will not be won without you at the wheel of your own ship! Follow these critical steps:

  • Don't look at them.
  • Don't breathe in their direction.
  • Do not react to anything they say or do.

I don't know why some people pick a person off the street and use them as the latest bait for a fish fry on Walnut Street of life. My only guess is that people are simply unhappy with themselves.

At the end of the day, you want your neighborhood to be a peaceful place everyone can enjoy. Do your part to rise above your neighbors' negativity and enjoy your home.

At the end of the day, you want your neighborhood to be a peaceful place everyone can enjoy. Do your part to rise above your neighbors' negativity and enjoy your home.

Don't Let an Energy Thief Get the Better of You

An energy thief is a person who will drain you of all your energy. They want what you have; they want your secrets for living so well.

That's right! It isn't a mistake; they are after something that you have. Often, they are just waiting for the opportunity to pounce next time you meet in the crowded produce aisle at the supermarket.

Why? Because they have something to say to you within earshot of your neighbors. They want to make sure everyone there knows who they think you really are (which is never on the complimentary spectrum), and they take immense pleasure in watching everyone scurry away from you. Upsetting you brings them enjoyment.

A Few Words for the Weary

After coming home from a long day of work, grocery shopping, babysitting, mowing lawns, or whatever it is that you have accomplished, don't let any negativity on the part of your neighbors get the better of you.

So what if they are using walkie-talkies to report your every move to each other? Who cares if they are posting on Facebook to all of their friends that you are the world's worst person because you forgot to recycle your last milk carton?

Here are some tips for rising above:

  • Unlock your door and step inside.
  • Lock your door.
  • Shut your curtains.
  • Turn out the lights to really spook them.
  • Pour yourself a beverage, hot chocolate, cup of tea, hot steamy cappuccino, or whatever you drink to relax after a hard day.
  • Turn off your phone.
  • Sit down.
  • Turn on your favorite music to drown out the noise from outside.
  • Think about what you are going to do tomorrow.

I don't care if there is an endless wave of gossipers standing on your front porch threatening to burn down your Easter Bunny lawn ornament in the middle of July! Remember, they will get bored. No response is necessary!

I hope these tips have helped you; good luck dealing with your toxic neighbors!


diana on October 20, 2020:

I have one next door , I moving to get away from her. she so dangerous.

Jane Birkett on May 14, 2019:

I have the most evil toxic neighbours now next door to this house and been there just over a year

RJ on October 29, 2018:


Liz sherger on February 28, 2018:

I live around neighbours who not follow me and my daughter, they all hack on my phones, emails and facebook account. I thought it was the house we live in that they want but everything I do to uplift myself and my daughter is a problem to them. My daughter and I was going g Mathematics Lessons and my daughter was accepted in the national netball team for her country and a nieghbour almost bounced us down and said that was why we are in the position we are in. A nieghbour's son waits every morning to try to leave the same time as us. His mother like she tri to show me she is dressing the same as me. These nieghbours are so sick and act so wired I won't even trust a second with them. It has a male one who always like GPSing me but I haven't even shown him any interest whatsoever, I had to embaress him in front of people to leave me alone. When I say they are weird, believe me, they are weird people in this nieghbourhood, not normal at all.

Ikoro Iyineleda on July 29, 2017:

Your advice sounds great, but it's really difficult to just ignore abusive neighbours. In the United States and some other Western countries, a wife in an abusive relationship can get a divorce merely for that reason. Because the law knows it'll be difficult for her to stay in the relationship and try to ignore the abuse. Having abusive comments flung at you anytime you're in the vicinity can take a great toll on your mental health, if you do nothing about it.

Jen on June 11, 2017:

Keep too yourself smile enjoy your day go on vacation they dislike the thought u can do without them, I have an old lady whom is very nosey misery loves company and I love a good day something she never has and will never enjoy.

veteran on April 15, 2017:

Been harassed and "tracked" by toxic neighbors for the last 3 yrs. Everything from fish stolen from my pond to baby trees cut down, and being followed. Still happening. FYI

Say F on March 29, 2016:

I have a toxic neighbor - doing karaoke for 7 days saying they have birthdays (they say I can look at their birth certificate)...their dogs left out saying those don't bite while several times I have reported to the district police that it attacked me...even if the town police keeps telling them, they still let the dog out...the dog they claim is not theirs, but of the neighbor behind them...but the neighbor built a gate at the right of way preventing the dog of the far end neighbor from coming back...so at night when we come home it attacks us...frustrating how the district police would react to us saying that we are just fighting over a dog, and the police argues that whenever they come to check, the dog is already inside the gate...come on, of course, we already shouted at the neighbor to bring the dog inside...the neighbor at the gate, that old man, pointed fingers at me as if going to punch me...I told this to another police station higher than the district what happened but they said the district police has only jurisdiction over the case...I said can I file a blotter report about the harassment/bullying of the man?...They said no,,,Frustrating that even the law cannot really give protection...I might as well find a way on my own how to repel the dogs and annoy the neighbors...Justice is not always served even with laws...Sounds like justice should be in my own hands!

Namratha on November 12, 2015:

My next door neighbors 'from hell' arrived, 3years ago and its hell since. I never made contact with them but they have a small daughter and she loves to talk to me, we live on the same floor and everytime I open my door the lady sends the daughter out, they can see me as I have to pass their door to get to my apartment. The couple are very nasty and disrespectful and they pass nasty comments about me being a spinster. According to them its bad not to be married(India)

Now and then they offer food and have made it a point to send their kid to my place in the evenings. And I love children (mistake #1 - my weakness) slowly they started to tell me their opinion of how i should live and this got very toxic right from the start. I was not assertive enough to tell them to go to hell - because I loved the child. Now things have gotten worse as they expected me to water their garden over long weekends, not considering my plans. If I was out of town too, then they would stop talking to me (Passive Aggression) and since we are neighbors this was horrible for me!

They started spinning rumors about me and even threw garbage and diapers in my balcony. They started blocking the passage way so that I cant take my cycle out. I am going through hell - I have to move.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 20, 2015:

Great tips Crafty on how to deal with toxic neighbors. I'm fortunate that I don't have any at my new place or at my old apartment. Voted up!

carol on February 21, 2015:

Crafty I believe you. My neighbour has been blessed to inherit a huge plot of land from her father in law. Yet makes my life miserable trying to steal my small plot which I and my husband have purchased out of our hard earned money.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on October 19, 2014:

i wish the people in the world would read this hub and learn a thing or two. If we don't throw rubbish here and there, there would be clean environment and peace

CraftytotheCore (author) on April 14, 2014:

Hi Glenn! Thanks for your comment. Yes, that's true. Ignoring them does work. After a while, they get bored and move on.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on April 13, 2014:

This can apply to any social setting, not just with neighbors. Your advice is good. In these situations, it's best to ignore it and not let it bother you. There will always be people who only think of themselves and not of others. And there will be people who have no life and need to dwell into the lives of others with their opinions. Best to ignore both of these.

CraftytotheCore (author) on October 16, 2013:

Hi Moneyfairy! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too once had a neighbor that dumped dirty water on my back patio. She would mop her floors and clean her toilets, and then dump the water off of her back down on to my patio. After I left, I ran in to the next tenant that took over my place. She said that she had her mother's outdoor patio furniture outside, and the crazy neighbor dumped dirty bleach water all over it. I don't understand what is wrong with some people.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Money Fairy from New Woodstock on October 16, 2013:

I had a psycho neighbor right above me at my last apt. I was in over 4 yrs. ago and they dumped dirty water on my porch and played loud music so much so that i heard it in the parking lot and I called the police but they came and did nothing and the management did nothing. It was as if they didn't really care . It really irrateded me so I moved when my lease was up and that same complex tried to charge me $1500 for a small stain on the back rm. carpet. I think they were trying to piss me off by not responding to any of my complaints so that I would lv. so they could charge me for their renovations. Needless to say they never got a cent from me. The place i am in now is on the 4th floor and very peaceful thankfully. But rents keep going higher andn higher so I need to move yet again this Nov. for cheaper rent.

Kari on October 11, 2013:

Me too!

CraftytotheCore (author) on October 11, 2013:

That's a wonderful story and thank you so much for sharing it here Relationshipc. I know the feeling all too well. I still have mixed feelings for some of my neighbors who used to do the same. It's hard to wave hello when you really just want to avoid all together. I'm so glad it has worked out for you.

Kari on October 10, 2013:

I have had to deal with a neighbor that we are convinced is a physcopath for years. She has done everything she can to make our lives miserable, and I have tried the nice card and the angry card, but the only one that worked was, like you said, avoiding her like the plague.

Without engaging with her she seems to have lost her desire to make our lives miserable and has moved onto other people in the neighborhood.

She used to be such a drain on my life, and sometimes I still get angry when I think about the things she has done, but ignoring her has worked miracles and allowed me to step outside of her world and back into mine.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 23, 2013:

Ha! Flourish! Some of them wouldn't know what fun was though. That's like a four letter word to them. hehe

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 22, 2013:

Crafty - We could have fun with these people -- then we could follow your advice and mind our own business.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 22, 2013:

Hi Pamela! I'm so happy to hear that they are helpful.

Pamela Cornes from Memphis, TN on September 22, 2013:

very nice...your tips helped me.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Thank you for commenting Sharkye. That's terrible that your mom has to go through that. I just met someone a few weeks ago that is going through a terrible ordeal right now with absentee neighbors who leave for the summers. At least he got a little break.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on September 21, 2013:

Great advice. I am lucky to live in the country so I have no neighbors. My mom has to deal with some real lunatics in town though. Luckily, none that are actively cruel to her, but they do stuff that indirectly affects everyone. I'll stick to the country where no one complains if my house or yard isn't up to their standards. Good hub, passing it along!

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Kathleen, that sounds like an episode of the reality tv show hoarders. Our town wanted to pass a blight ordinance so that people couldn't store stuff like that, or have broken windows, or stuff around their yards. It didn't pass.

Fortunately, we don't have many people here that do that type of thing. Usually people keep up with their yard messes. What I can't stand is when I take the time to get all of our leaves off the ground and someone with a leaf blower comes by and blows them all back in my yard! That happens a lot. I've blown them back on a few occasions. :D

I wouldn't be happy with someone using my fence or painting the other side of it. That's unbelievable! LOL

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on September 21, 2013:

Five of us live downhill from a family where the husband has recently retired and now uses their backyard to store all the materials and left over junk from all his projects. They don't have to look at their yard from the top of the hill, but the rest of us have a full view, especially in the winter when the leaves are off the trees.

One neighbor built one section of privacy fence just to block the view. Did the offending neighbors get the subtle hint? No. They painted their side of it and now use it to prop up their left over window frames.

They tied their dog fence into our fence and their too-big dog for the too-small fence did so much damage last winter my husband spent every weekend replacing all the posts. Fortunately so many neighbors complained to animal control about their constantly barking dog, they were finally forced to give the dog to a better home.

For two years they stored a junk car in their back yard. Finally someone learned the county required all vehicles be stored on a concrete slab. They were issued a violation and the car was gone.

These are the kind of folks who are perfectly nice, but don't understand the basic courtesy required to live in a neighborhood. They should live out in the country where they can live however they like without considering any one else. They don't argue with a soul. They just don't think of anybody else.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Hi DDE! I think it's the part of the world where I live! LOL I hear that from a lot of out-of-state visitors that people here are rude. I try not to be like that. Hopefully one day I can move to where it's more peaceful.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 21, 2013:

I don't have such kind of neighbors but your suggestions sound helpful and worth trying. It must be difficult to put up with these kind of people I always keep to myself so don't care about the next neighbor it is my best way of keeping a toxic neighbor out of my life

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Susan, I'm definitely going to check that out! I don't think that's one of yours I've read yet.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Oh Moonlake! I can definitely relate to those types of ridiculous people. If I wave to people around here, they think I'm weird. If I don't wave, they think I'm snubbing them. I can't win. I try to be friendly to everyone, and usually I have their backs turned to me! Ha! Oh well.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Flourish! LOL, you would have had a field day with mine then!!! :D

I had a serious ordeal with stalkers a while back. First, there was a group of wild turkeys in the woods out here. I took my children outside to show them and to capture a few photos. The neighbor came out, reversed their vehicle to see what I was doing, and then sat there watching me from a car until I went back inside. That's just one example.

Then I had the police come because someone started a facebook rumor that I had a fire set in the backwoods here. It was 10 p.m., the children were in bed, and I had just fallen asleep. My husband had to get up and go to the door to greet 5 officers with weapons. Turned out it was teenagers that had a bon fire going. But the neighbors blocks away called the police on me!

This is typical around here. You wouldn't believe half of the stuff if I told you!!! LOL :D

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 21, 2013:

Aw, Thief, I bet you have some seriously strong legs! :D

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on September 21, 2013:

I wrote a hub called do you have a neighbor from hell. Since writing that hub things have changed so much :)

Enjoyed your hub Crafty!

moonlake from America on September 21, 2013:

I once had some people in our neighborhood that stayed mad at me. They were upset because their daughter-in-law would leave her children with me and not with them. This was not my fault but they blamed me..talked about me all the time said I never waved to them. I'm sure the waving part was true. I have bad eyes and don't always recognize people when driving by I'm busy keeping my eyes on the road. I just let it go if they wanted to think that of me fine. I didn't care. I was young when it happened it taught me not to get close with my neighbors if I can possiblely help it. My husband ask me if we should go down and greet the neighbor next door when we moved here. I said "No." I remebered when my granddaughter was small and would go by on her bike this neighbor would yell at this cute little girl that never bothered anyone. I didn't care to know her. We have lived here 8 years I wouldn't know her if I passed her on the street.

Voted up on your hub and shared.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 20, 2013:

Don't tell anyone (haha) but I have been known to take one mean neighbor's name, phone number and address and sign them up for LOADS of junk mail and telemarketing. I made a hobby out of it and giggled each time I filled it out. Not nice but neither was their hateful treatment. Otherwise, I quietly left them along and went on my way like you suggest.

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on September 20, 2013:

LOL, Crafty. The elevators here aren't worth a penny. I've been living here 4-5 years and they break up all the time. And yes, going up 19 floors with groceries and whatnot is not very nice ;-)

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

You are so right wetnose! That's the way I see it too. I haven't been happier since I put up curtains, even on my basement windows! I put on soothing music and let outside stay there.

wetnosedogs from Alabama on September 20, 2013:

Great hub, Crafty.

Long ago, I quit letting people who didn't like me bother me. I can't be anyone but me.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

Hi Moon Daisy! Yes, this certainly can be applied to many different situations.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

Benjamin, I've lived here my entire life in the same neighborhood. What's sad is that this land has been in my family for more than 100 years. It started out as potato fields that my great-grandparents farmed and one day dreamed of building a home of their own here. It gave my grandfather great pleasure to see me move to this spot when I was older. So, it's very sad that so many people around here are very unfriendly.

Moon Daisy from London on September 20, 2013:

Great hub CraftytotherCore! I love all of it! This is good advice on how to deal with difficult/negative people, regardless of whether they are neighbours or not.

We're really lucky with our neighbours and live in a very friendly place, but there are other people in our lives who act like this, and zap all our energy away. I will be taking your advice. x

Benjamin Chege on September 20, 2013:

You're welcome. If you own the place it would not be advisable to leave, as you cannot leave everything you have worked for because somebody somewhere is bothering you. Just confront the problem head on, as you never know if the neighborhood you move into will be better. You could be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. However, if you have leased the place it would be okay to find peace elsewhere, but only if it does not inconvenience you.

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

Hi Benjamin! Thank you for commenting. I've stopped trying to figure out why it is that no one around here is friendly. I feel I need to find a new place to live at times. One where people can smile at each other, wave, and not think there is an alterior motive! LOL

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

Hi Billy! I eventually gave up. If they are happy being toxic, then I'll just avoid them and hopefully they won't rub off! LOL

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

Hi Thief! Wow, I commend you for living so high up. I used to live on a 3rd floor apartment and thought it was a challenge getting groceries up the steps. There was no elevator in that building though. Hopefully you have one. Thanks for stopping by!

CraftytotheCore (author) on September 20, 2013:

Brave! LOL I want to live where you live! At one time, I knew every single person on this street. This is where I grew up, rode my bike, walked to school, played with the neighbor's kids, etc. Today it's changed. I only know a handful of people that live here. No one says hello. You wave at someone and they think you are weird.

I visited my sister in Texas and was greeting by smiling, happy people who were genuinely happy to say hello. Someone from out of state told me people here are standoffish.

Benjamin Chege on September 20, 2013:

Hi Crafty, avoiding such neighbors works for me. You know when everyone minds their business, you and the toxic neighbor don't have a chance to fight. There can never be war between two people if one of them is unwilling and even if there is, it ends faster than you can imagine. Nice weekend

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 20, 2013:

My goodness, that is some toxic neighborhood. We happen to live in a wonderful neighborhood with none of these problems. How would I handle it? I do not have much patience with rude behavior and I would be in their face. Not necessarily the best way to handle it but I know myself well enough to know that's what I would do. :)

Have a great weekend!

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on September 20, 2013:

I think I've been lucky as hell. I live in a 19th Floor, and fortunately, all my neighbors have been great. I've heard it's not the same for people that live in other floors, but all of my neighbors have been either very friendly and/or very quiet.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on September 20, 2013:

Crafty, fortunately I don't have anyone like that in my neighborhood. There are only a handful of houses on my street and we all get along. I can't imagine living in a community where I was mistreated or misunderstood as you describe above. I hope this hub is not a reflection of how your neighbors treat you!

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