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How to Peacefully Resolve a Dispute With Your Neighbor

hey say “fences make good neighbors,” but if I’m to believe my TikTok feed, that’s a load of hoohockey: It’s all purple mountain majesties and property line disputes out there. It’s not just #fencetok, either. According to a 2016 study, a whopping 42% of Americans report a conflict with their neighbor, and those generally fall into four categories: noise, pets, unkempt property, and property boundaries—and almost half of those complaints are noise-related. While the study hasn’t been updated, I suspect it would find conditions worse eight years on, after two very divisive elections and a pandemic that saw us emerge more dedicated to individualism than ever.

Neighborhoods have changed since the white picket “ideal” of the ‘50s where everyone knew one another (neighbors might have known each other better, but red lining and classism were definitely part of the equation). Where neighborhoods were once mostly owners in a “forever home,” our neighborhoods are now a mix of owners who sell within five years, renters, and short-term rentals like Airbnb. The shorter the stay, the less likely neighbors are to form lasting relationships.

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