Top Ten Things You Should Never Say to a Neighbor


The inspiration for this list comes up all the time. I, of course, have had the presence of mind not to say any of these things. Not that I have not wanted to say them, but just never wanted to practice a scorched Earth policy when it comes to people living next door.

Top Ten Things You Should Never Say to Your Neighbor

10 Do not say to your neighbor, “I see you have a fine crop of weeds.” If you do, at best you will get ignored. At worst, you get an offer to come over and take care of them. (Who wants to weed the neighbor’s lawn? You Bunky?)

9 Do not say to your neighbor, “That music is a little loud.” If you do, at best you might get someone to turn it down. At worst, around midnight, the music will be cranked up to the pain level. (And the drunk neighbor is in his underwear making rude gestures toward your bedroom window.)

8 Do not say to your neighbor, “We have covenants against that dog barking.” If you do, at best the neighbor will tell you what to do with the covenant. At worst, he will think it funny to release the slobbering and apparently irascible beast in your direction. (You never knew you could run that fast. Did you?)

7 Do not say to your neighbor, “You know Sundays are for quiet.” If you do, at best your neighbor will spend extra time with that leaf blower making sure his lawn is just right. At worst, he will take the rest of the day to work on that oak tree using the dullest chainsaw known to man. (Is that your rear molars I hear cracking?)

6 Do not say to your neighbor, “You know we are under water restrictions.” If you do, at best your neighbor will give you a smile and keep watering the street. At worst, your neighbor will take today as the opportunity to fill the pool, wash the car, test the sprinkling system, and take a bath. (I guess he will show you how to spend $300.00)

5 Do not say to your neighbor, “You are supposed to get your paint color approved before you paint.” If you do, at best your neighbor will continue to paint and get approval later. At worst, your neighbor will stop brush painting the delicate gray and start rolling the Barnie Purple. (No good deed goes unpunished does it?)

4 Do not say to your neighbor, “Is that fence approved by the POA?” If you do, at best you will get an offer to pay attention to something that is your business. At worst, you will be the proud half-owner of an eight-foot tall wire fence that has a fine barbed wire at the top on one side of your property. (Might come in handy to keep the neighbors at home, though.)

3 Do not say to your neighbor, “I don’t think I will be able to support your kid’s school’s popcorn sales event this year. If you do, at best you will be guiltified into participating anyway. At worst, you will keep having midnight phone calls. (And there is never anyone there. You swear you can hear the faint sound of popcorn popping in the background.)

2 Do not say to your neighbor, “Can you give us a hand on the clean-up project this weekend?” If you do at best, you will get a straight, “no.” At worst, you will have to listen to all the reasons why helping out is not part of what the neighbor signed up for when moving in. (Hard to stay awake isn’t it?)

1 Do not say to your neighbor, “How about picking up that poop.” If you do, at best you will get a suggestion for self-romance. At worst, you will get into a big argument and eventually end up wearing the poop. (Didn’t quite turn out the way you thought did it?)


  1. Ha. Great list, John. And here #11 apparently should be “Hello.” Based on the reactions I get. (So you know I just keep on saying “Hello,” and “Good morning.” 😈 )

    1. Yeah, hello can be a real odd thing to say to someone. 🙂 Thanks Teagan.

  2. Great list John. Here in New England you could add: “Would you like me to help with that?” when your’ neighbor is struggling to shovel snow. You can end up with a life-long obligation while your neighbor sips tea behind the curtain.

    1. Ha ha ha. I can see that happening. Thanks, Dan

  3. Ha ha! These are great, John. Lesson learned…don’t talk to your neighbors. Love the photo!

    1. At least don’t try to tell them what to do. Thanks Jill.

  4. #8 reminds me of someone. Their neighbor had a really loud dog that they left outside at night, which is terrible. The situation wasn’t improved by the other person screaming out their door late at night. It escalated to involve notes and cops, but wow was it awkward being around for all of that.

    1. I always wonder why people don’t think such a situation is abnormal and allow it to go too far.

      1. It does get weird real fast. Think rage takes over one side while the other just gets stubborn.

  5. Funny list, John. It isn’t worth a life-long feud. Look what happened with the Hatfields and the McCoys. 😀 — Suzanne

    1. Yes. I wonder who won.

  6. I love this list, John!
    Confirms why I live where my closest neighbor is more than a football field away 😉

    1. And why I live on an island

      1. Oooo…even better!

  7. Great list, John — timely, too. I just finished Band-aid-ing the fence between our house and one of my neighbors. It’s HIS dog that keeps leaping onto the thing, but he could care less if Doggie knocks it over and does his business in our yard!!

    1. You could pick up the business and toss it back over the fence. (Nighttime of course.)

  8. Great list, John! Quite a few other things not to say to retired neighbors who peek out their shades when you walk by with your dogs! If the dogs step a paw on their grassy lawn, there’s a knock at the window! Well, not to hand gesture your thoughts either! Just smile and nod! Elizabeth

    1. Or carry a shotgun.

  9. A good list! I have wanted to say nine out of the ten to neighbors but settle for a smile and a wave!

    1. Yes. Smile big.It’s the only defense.

  10. There is so much truth to these.

    1. Yes. Let’s just say I pay attention when I’m outside.

  11. You have introduced a new term into my arsenal . .”self romance”. As for Barnie purple, that’s not gonna be good for the neighborhood. That’s not gonna be good for anybody.

    1. Ha ha ha . I needed to avoid the f word but convey the same sentiment. I agree on the color.

      1. Admittedly, I use the f word much too liberally at times. Eh . . .#$%^ it.

      2. You gotta be f*cking kidding me. I don’t f*ucking remember the last f*cking time you used the f*ucking f word.

      3. Dude…I’m totally #@$&!;! serious.

  12. I think I’ve used variations of all of these on neighbours over the years, although I don’t understand the “covenant” reference. But I’m guessing my zero-tolerance policy against cats in the garden amounts to something similar.

    1. Covenants are rules of the neighborhood to which all residents agree to adhere.

      1. Ha! No way you’d get that to work over here, there’d be a war after about a week I think.

      2. These are legal documents that are signed. If you don’t want to sign live somewhere else.

      3. Nah, doesn’t happen here.

  13. Bee Halton · ·

    LOL thanks for those John. We soon get new neighbours 🙂

    1. Oh oh. Well a word to the wise. 🙂

      1. Bee Halton · ·


  14. These are so terrific and real. I especially like the brackets side comments at the end. I spewed coffee reading 2, 7 and 8 especially. 😀 😀 😀

    1. Thanks Tess. The side comments are supposed to make you laugh.

      1. And do they ever. Love the dry humor.

  15. Another one is “Don’t mind the screaming from my shed out back. It’s just part of a social group I belong to.”

    1. Ha ha ha. Good one

  16. Smiles. Now, if we don’t allow ourselves at least a few of these what fun could we possibly experience. Teehee

    1. I like the pick up poop one. Most get really irate that they were caught.

      1. “Yeah, I love the smell on my shoes in the morning.”

  17. Realtors should hand these tips out to homeowners, John.

    1. That is a good idea along with a 9mm pistol

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