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Warm weather prompts condo etiquette reminder

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You’ve seen a few stories here on News1130 about the challenges of condo living in Vancouver — just yesterday we learned about the back-and-forth between Whitecaps Captain Jay DeMerit and his neighbours over party and noise complaints.

While thin walls, floors and ceilings make for thin patience, it is possible to coexist in close quarters harmoniously according to an expert on etiquette.

“Most people moving into that situation would expect that there would be a little bit of friction but I think we also take for granted that common sense is common practice,” says Lew Bayer, president of Civility Experts Worldwide.

“When people know that there’s a baby next door, we’d want to turn the radio down by 10:00; we’d hope that we’d treat others the way we’d want to be treated. When you live in close quarters, there is some stress and people tend to want to get even, but what comes around goes around, unfortunately,” she tells News1130.

“Be mindful of your space, be mindful of people’s privacy. We call it social dandruff, this notion that your business becomes everybody’s business whether they show some interest or not. Maybe it’s keeping your windows open so that everybody can see you run a round naked and hear all your arguments with your spouse. We’d expect that people would be mindful that not everyone wants to know all of our business,” says Bayer.

Neighbours tend to share even more as the weather warms up, the windows open and more people spend time socializing on patios and balconies, but dealing with problems doesn’t have to start out on an antagonistic note.

“We always encourage you to start out with a conversation. Our research shows that often people behave badly because they really don’t know what the expectations are or because no one has actually said to them that it’s rude to have your music that loud,” explains Bayer.

But a lot can depend on how you approach that conversation.

“Don’t make the assumption that people are being obnoxious or rude always on purpose just to get under your skin. Our research shows that while some of that does happen, the majority of the time people are really not aware how their actions are being recieved. If somebody explains to them kindly enough the first time, sometimes that’s enough to make a difference.”

If it doesn’t, that’s when it is time to take your complaints to your strata council or landlord.