Sadly, you don’t get to pick your neighbors. Most of the time, you luck out and get some pretty decent neighbors. In some especially lucky cases, you even end up with neighbors you’re friends with. Unfortunately, for every good neighbor you have, there’s about five bad neighbors. These neighbors are so horrible they’ll make you feel better about even your worst neighbors.
All content has been edited for clarity.
A Massive Red Flag
“This isn’t what my neighbor did, but instead what was done to my neighbor.
I was a newlywed, adjusting to married life with my very intelligent, but a little unusual attorney wife. I’d moved into her apartment and quickly noticed how friendly the neighbors were to me, but they would be silent if they saw me with my new bride. I wondered why so I asked her. ‘They don’t like me. Some strange thing about newspapers,’ was all she would say.
So weekend days would always start the same way. My wife would wake at 7am and pick up the New York Times from outside the apartment door. I would doze till about 8:30 and begin reading the newspaper after she had already read half. I’m a speed reader, don’t know why, so we’d finish around the same time.
One Sunday morning I sense her getting up to pick up the newspaper. Then ‘Bang! Crash! Pow!’ I hear an awful metallic racket like someone knocked over a stack of saucepans in a department store. I jump out of bed and run to the door.
‘I knew it was you,’ yells my neighbor, from the hallway. My new wife is standing with a newspaper in her hands and a guilty expression. There’s a strand of fishing line from the paper to a pile of saucepans, casseroles, and frypans in the hall. I’m completely baffled by what I see. My neighbor, who I like, says, ‘She’s been stealing my newspaper for a year and always denies it!’
‘But we have our own New York Times subscription,’ I say.
‘Look at that,’ he points at the newspaper in her hands. Of course, it has his name and address on the front.
‘Where’s our newspaper,’ I ask her.
‘It comes an hour later,’ she sheepishly replies.
‘That’s so messed up,’ I say, making eye contact with my neighbor who is obviously delighted to have finally tracked down his newspaper thief.
So, for one year, my wife had been grabbing his newspaper as soon as it arrived, reading it, then replacing it when our paper arrived an hour later. I was gobsmacked. This was before ‘Karen’ was part of our lexicon.
‘Have I married a crazy person,’ I wondered. All those times I’d asked her why the neighbors didn’t like her and she’d laughed it off as some crazy idea they had.
‘Why did you think this was okay,’ I asked.
‘I didn’t think they’d catch me.’
‘Why not just ask them for the name of their delivery person?’
‘I like our delivery guy.’
This was a moment in life when fate gave me a quick heads up, ‘You are in crazy town. Get out while you still can.’ I
ignored the message. I stayed.
Fast forward five years to a miserable marriage, psychological abuse, and my decision to divorce. ‘Let’s do it in a civilized way. Collaborative. We can do it in six weeks.’
She didn’t want to be divorced and wouldn’t make it easy.
It took three years, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, It tormented our children. And there’s a moral to this story. Pay attention to how people treat their neighbors. Ultimately it’s a hint as to how they will treat everyone. And if something doesn’t look right, doesn’t feel right, doesn’t smell right, then don’t just let it go. Neighbors can be the canaries that warn you that the air isn’t safe to breathe.”
The Luckiest Man In History
“Making repairs to his roof. With a powerful electric lamp and an electric stapler, all plugged into extension cords running up to the tools.
In a thunderstorm.
This same neighbor was not satisfied with how a small porch on his second story was sitting, so he sat on the porch, sawed through the support, and drove a shim in with a hammer. While he was still sitting on the porch.
Then he went down the stairs, stood under the porch, sawed through the support, and drove in another shim. While still standing under the porch.
I have no idea why he’s not dead.”
A Wholesome Twist
“I moved in a little 1930s house in quiet El Segundo with my 2nd fiance , I was in my mid 20’s and had a dog.
On my walk I would say hello to the older man who lived across the street. He ignored me and I waved and gestured to him a few times and the last time he gave me the finger.
I tried to follow him to his door to meet him in person and shake hands and he slammed the door in my face!
I was furious and used to shoot skyrockets at his roof. He had BBQ’s on Sunday and I would throw shell primers on his lawn so when he mowed the lawn with the power mower it would blow them up.
I snickered at the angry fellow looking for the culprit. It got so bad he would throw the dog poop from his lawn on mine and I would encourage my dog to give his yard a fresh one and I sometimes kicked his garbage cans over on his driveway in the early morning as I went surfing at 5 am.
One day, I was in the local grocery store and only one checker was there and him and his wife were right in front of me. They were giving me dirty looks and she would talk in his ear!
The line was painstakingly slow and she finally turned to me and asked, ‘WHY DO YOU HATE MY HUSBAND? WHY?!’
I told her how I used to say hello and he ignored me and that I used to wave and smile at him and he just turned his back on me and once even flipped me off!
‘Oh my,’ she said, ‘he has a terrible hearing problem and his hearing aid is uncomfortable so he only wears it on occasion. And his eyes are just near sighted as he can’t see anything past his arm and he wears glasses only to church!’
She spoke to him in his ear and so loud I could hear her repeating what I said.
And he approached me and extended his hand and said he was terribly sorry for the misunderstanding and he thought I was cussing him for parking his old car in the front and he moved it to the alley because of my complaints.
I apologized and said I was the one firing the skyrockets and threw the primers on his grass that blew up when his mowers blades hit them and we both laughed and he invited me to his BBQ that Sunday.
I brought Doves and Quail as I used to hunt then, and we had a fine time.
He was a Veteran and was wearing his hearing aid and glasses too and we really took a liking to each other. He had great humor and character and survived the depression and that World War and lost his hearing as Artillery Officer.
I chased away the people who were letting their dogs poop on his lawn and brought his trash cans in and helped him wash and wax the old car that he again parked in front and I would drop off baked goods my Sweet Woman made and helped him with any projects he was doing and we had them over many times for dinner and drinks.
He and my Dad were the same age and both WW2 vets and they started to go to the local park together where many other Vets gathered from the WW2 era.
The Sunday BBQ’s at his house were a ritual and my Mom and Dad loved the gatherings and we lived there for 7 years!
I loved this Man and his dear Wife and I drove them to many places and events as they were getting older and we bonded and my folks being the same generation had holidays with them and all our relatives got to know each other.
He was a diamond and I had treated him like a lump of coal!
I was with him once to try and get his Drivers License, but he failed. He was disappointed!
And outside were many Boy scouts gathered to board on a Bus and he had on his Army cap and the troop leader and the other 30 Scouts came up to him and asked if he was a WW2 veteran, and he said yes.
They all saluted him and got in a troop formation and took turns, each scout shaking his hand and returning to their place in formation!
The young Scout leader told him how thankful and grateful they were for his service and dedication in fighting for our America. They gave him another salute and he saluted back.
They were on their way to the big Cemetery to place American flags on the Veteran’s tomb stones and the big Scout Jamboree!
He was dabbing his eyes as I drove him home!
And I finally moved to Laguna Beach. Many weekends I came up and would surprise them! Bringing them prime rib (his favorite) and the many Sees candy chocolates his Wife loved!
I never had attitude with people after that and always give the benefit of the doubt to others!
But he passed away a few years later and my father and I attended his funeral and it was a Military one too with Soldiers in their ceremonial dress uniforms and a full salute.
I really hated my impulsive behavior and felt a guilt and remorse for the harm I caused a sweet and wonderful person and his funeral was really something- as so many attended and many got up in the podium and said such fine things about this Man- my Dear Friend!
I wanted to speak, but I was too ashamed to get up there as I deserved NOTHING!
It turned out I was the disturbing neighbor who had no grasp of humanity until a lesson learned well changed me!”
There’s A Simple Solution For This One
“She’s too cheap to pay for garbage service, so she just stacked the bags on the back side of her house.
She did this for 2 years.
Eventually the city caught on, and after multiple visits to her home and written warnings, they fined her $5,000.
She paid the fine (which was roughly 14 years worth of garbage service) and then disposed of the garbage by packing it all across her yard and throwing it over the fence into the neighboring condo association greenspace.
The condo people didn’t like that. Not at all.
The city came back out and fined her again. $26,000 this time. PLUS the fees for having a crew of workers with several trucks come and haul the garbage away.
Lesson learned, right? Nope.
That all took place 6 months ago, and she has been stacking garbage on the back side of her house ever since. Yesterday I saw a city employee snooping around and putting a warning notice on her door. Wonder what the fine will be this time.”
An Unorthodox Neighborhood Watch
“My husband and I once had neighbors that were selling substances. We never actually verified what it was that they were selling, but it was definitely something in very high demand, and we had a hunch it wasn’t Girl Scout cookies.
All day long, cars would drive up to their house. Someone would jump out of the car and run into the house, and emerge less than a minute later, before driving off.
Sometimes the younger guy from the neighbor’s house would come out instead and hover at the driver window for a little while before the car drove off.
It was all very suspicious, not to mention annoying. At least two or three times every hour, we would hear the sound of customer cars arriving and leaving.
The older guy from the same house ran a car mechanic shop at home, so all day long, we would hear him running the engines of cars that he was testing or working on.
About a year before we moved away, this same neighbor got a German Shepherd, which he allowed to roam free in the neighborhood.
Their dog was aggressive and would run around the front yards of our neighbors, barking at them whenever they were leaving or coming home. We had a walking trail behind our house, and the dog would walk up and down the trail, barking at people who tried to use the trail.
One morning, I stepped out of my house to put something in my mailbox, when the neighbor’s dog ran towards me, barking and baring his teeth. He refused to let me near my mailbox.
I’m an animal lover, and normally very level-headed about how to handle aggressive animals. But that morning, I had it.
The neighbor had been annoying us for the past few years with all their rogue activities, and their dog staking claim to my front yard was the last straw.
I went into the house and grabbed the first thing I saw that I could defend myself with, which happened to be a mallet that my husband had been using to put some furniture together.
I went back outside and marched towards the dog, shouting angrily, while waving the mallet at him.
The dog reacted to my aggression by backing up more and more, and I was able to advance towards my mailbox. At some point, my neighbor saw what was going on, and called his dog over and took him back into his house.
In hindsight, it was probably not the smartest thing to do with an aggressive dog, but after that incident, the neighbor’s dog never bothered me again.”
They Sound Like A Delight
“I lived next door to a retired couple who thought they were in charge of my neighborhood. The man felt he could boss me around and I wouldn’t have it. We lived in a townhome and the drains in the complex were connected. It was connected in such a way that if they had a clog, so did we. I can’t begin to count the number of times they blamed us for clogging their drain when it was them.
One Thanksgiving Eve, I came home to find my kitchen sink backed up. I went next door to see if they were too, suspecting them, but didn’t outright say it. They were too and he was quick to blame us when neither myself nor my husband had cooked in days. I offered to find the number to the local plumbing service (part of a nationwide chain) and even found a coupon for them. When the plumber came by he blamed us because I had drained pasta the week before. I ended up kicking the plumber out and calling to complain about the ineptitude of the plumber. They sent someone else out to investigate and snaked the neighbors drain. They found coffee grounds in his sink.
Never the less, he still tried to blame us and demanded we pay him. My husband said all signs pointed to them, so we wouldn’t be responsible. He swore at us and said he’d sue. We’re still waiting and it’s been 10 years.
A year later he came by and demanded I let him and his friend into out back yard to get rid of some poison ivy growing along our shared fence. I said no, as I was alone and he swore at me again. I had my husband put on protective clothing and remove it. If the neighbor had asked instead of trying to barge his way past, it would have been fine. I’d have let him, but I didn’t know him other than his surliness.
He also accused our indoor cats who liked to lookout the sliding screen door to the back of antagonizing his dogs. Dogs that barked all day and night and were the subject of many neighbor complaints until he had to get rid of them due to excessive noise. That was apparently our fault too.
We moved about 6 years ago and he came out to watch our stuff be loaded up and told my husband ‘about f-ing time, I’m not sad to see you go.’ Bye crazy old man, I won’t miss you either.”
They Deserved So Much Worse Than This
“We’ve had some weird neighbors growing up. The worst ones would have to be the teens that stole our dog.
These were proper misfits. Little boys in a gang that thought they were tough as nails. These little pains did it all. But the thing that crossed the line, (at least in my father’s eyes) was when they stole our old golden retriever. They had jumped the fence, and carried her up their driveway and into the house. Now we were kids were well. 10, 8, and 2. We were peeking out, we didn’t see what happened and knew only that Daisy was missing and we couldn’t find her. The lady next door was the one to fill us in, soon as she saw it happen she came over and told our parents. Most people were frightened of this house. They were trouble, but our father well. Something snapped. He put up with them for a while, he usually tries to distance himself from neighbors. His motto was be friendly but nothing more. As soon as he heard what happened, he quietly put down his coffee, walked up the driveway and knocked on the door.
(Now this recollection of events is from a 10 year-old’s memory looking out the window, and his words years later. Some parts may be romanticised, some may be missing. But it’s all I got to offer)
The oldest of the group answered the door, and trying to be tough for the others asked, ‘What the f do you want?’
My dad calmly said he was there for his dog. Give her to him. Again the response was more cool man gibberish. And after that my dad kicked in the door. Now these tough guys apparently weren’t prepared for this. They didn’t expect anyone from this quiet neighborhood to actually do anything against them, after all they were in a gang, you know. They stood back and watched him get the dog, and leave the house in silence.
And that was a turning point for the hooligans. No longer did my father put up with any of their nonsense, be it aimed at our house or anyone elses. Little did they know he knew some scary people (scary looking gentle Giants I would add) also. Who after finding out about the dog theft, decided to take it upon themselves to staunch them out. His large, tattooed Samoan friend, Mickey, visited just for the sole purpose of standing down the bottom of the driveway staring at the front door for 15 minutes, before my father told him to stop it because he is scaring them, and to come in for a drink. ( Still one of his favorite stories to this day).
Moral of the story, don’t steal my dad’s dog.”
What On Earth
“My sister was walking home from school one day, she must’ve been a freshman in high school. The walk is about a mile but there are multiple ways to get back to my house. Anyway, she drops a friend off in one direction and heads home through the park. A nice quiet neighborhood park where all the kids would play, seems safe and legit, right?
When she reaches the park, she hears knocking and she looks up the hill to see a middle aged man, standing completely undressed on the other side of his sliding glass door, and he just waves at her with his other hand on his junk.
She runs home to tell my mother, who in turn calls the police and it ensued from there. It didn’t stop at that though. It turns out this man, who we all loveingly call Freaky Frank, he can see our driveway and front of our house from his house. He ends up stalking my family, weird phone calls saying he was selling something but would say, ‘Oh I’m sorry it looks like you’re busy, I’ll call when your company leaves.’
He would drive up next to my mother in traffic, after we ended up getting a restraining order against him, and he would smile and wave in his truck next to our vehicle. Just some seriously creepy stuff. He ended up moving due to the entire neighborhood hating him and knowing what he did and was doing to my family.
It took years for us to be comfortable ever going back to that park, even after he was gone. it still creeps me out thinking about it, and it was in the late 90’s.”