Apartment Guru: How to Handle Noisy Sex-Door Neighbors

arguing coupleDear Apartment Guru,

The walls in my building are paper-thin and I always hear my neighbors-whether they are arguing or being overly amorous. Unfortunately, they seem to do both a lot (although not always at the same time-not kidding). How can I bring up this subject with them without straining what is an otherwise okay living situation?

-Feeling Un-Neighborly

Dear U.N.,

I appreciate this question as it was something a close friend of mine went through several years ago. Strangely, she was on the other side of this wall. She and her ex were yellers and admitted they didn't really care that others could hear them. In fact, she told me that it was part of what made the whole thing so...heated.

The fact that you can hear your neighbors probably isn't much of a secret to them. After all, they live there too and can probably hear similarly unsavory sounds coming from your place. Of course, you might be the church mouse type who listens to music on headphones and watches movies on a laptop, living alone and only meeting friends out in the real world. In this case, you might be able to silence your neighbors by inviting someone over with a bottle or two of wine and talking in a full voice about your stance on health care or "The Bachelor". If that doesn't silence the dirty-duo, try mimicking (or, better yet, having) loud sex or staging big fights. Having their behavior mirrored might just horrify them into taking it down a notch.

But if that doesn't work or you know that they know that you know that they are inviting you into their private time, my friend of the formerly unhealthy relationship says that one day while she and her ex were "making up" there was a loud knock on the door. When they answered, their neighbor stood on the other side with a somber look on her face.

"I'm going through a really hard time right now," she told my friend. "My boyfriend just dumped me and I'm feeling just so so sad. So would you mind just keeping it down for a while? Just while I deal with this?"

My friend had no idea if this was true, but the plea was so heartfelt, she couldn't say no. You might also try sick parent, lost job or new roommate who is of the cloth. Of course, if you are a bad liar, try this tactic over email.

Good luck!

The Aparment Guru is Joselin Linder, co-writer of
The Good Girls Guide to Living in Sin and Have Sex Like You Just Met. Having rented apartments and houses in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Columbus, OH and abroad in Prague, CZ, she knows what it means to live in home you don't own and still make it homey. Anything she doesn't know, she isn't afraid to ask.
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