Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: MindsEye on April 13, 2014, 12:02:17 PM

Title: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: MindsEye on April 13, 2014, 12:02:17 PM
A friend of mine related the following story to me which started me wondering about this...

My friend has a couple of wind chimes (the deeper, pentatonic ones) on her back deck, and they have been there for years.  Since she moved in, in fact.  She has never heard any comments on them from any of her neighbors.  This winter she got a new next-door neighbor.  Since spring has sprung, she has observed that new neighbor seems determined to feed all of the wildlife in the neighborhood with multiple bird-feeders and feeding stations for squirrels.  My friend has also noticed a large uptick in nuisance deer and raccoon related incidents (garbage torn open, flower beds dug up, deer-damage to her plants, etc) since the feeding started.  Friend has pretty much been gritting her teeth, getting large quantities of chemical deterrents to put around her property to try to minimize the damage, and otherwise dealing with the situation.  Yesterday, the new neighbor rang friend's doorbell and informed friend that she (the neighbor) does not like friend's wind chimes and demanded that friend take them down.  Friend countered that she would consider the request if the neighbor would stop her wildlife feeding because the large numbers of animals being attracted were damaging friend's property.  The neighbor huffed off, claiming that Friend's counter offer was "rude". 

So this gets to my question.  If someone comes to you and says that they find your activity X disturbing, is it rude to say that you will only stop doing X if they stop doing Y? (Y being an activity of theirs that you find disturbing)

Personally I don't think so... I think that if tell someone that something they do or have is annoying to you, that you open the door for them to inform you of things that you do that they don't like either.  I also think that it is a tad bit self-centered to demand that someone accommodate you without offering them anything in return.

What do you all think? 
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: GreenBird on April 13, 2014, 12:17:35 PM
It does strike me as a little rude to frame it as a tit-for-tat.  While the neighbor complaining certainly provides a natural opening for your friend to also complain, it seems needlessly confrontational to jump straight to "I'll only help you if you'll help me first".  Your friend could have said, "Sorry, I didn't realize the chimes were bothering you, I'll take them down.  By the way, your wildlife feeding is so successful that the animals you're attracting are causing a lot of damage to my yard.  Could you cut down on how much food you're putting out, particularly for the deer/racoons?  They're tearing up my landscaping.  Thanks!"
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Deetee on April 13, 2014, 12:27:42 PM
I have a pet peeve (maybe just maybe because my husband does this) about countering a complaint with a complaint.

Example:

Me "Can you please put your coffee cup in the dishwasher before you leave for work?"
Him "Well, why didn't you put tinfoil on the cookie sheet before making cookies?"
Me : (Random thoughts of rage and every annoying thing he has done in the past years)

Honestly, nothing gets sorted out as it just becomes a gripe-a-thon. It is SO DISMISSIVE to merely counter one person's complaint with another complaint.

Now, in your friend's arrangement it is different because they are neighbours and it is exra tough if you communicate with complaints. It makes people feel attacked and dismissed.  BUT, it also makes a lot of sense. So I think it can work if approached in the right way.

Me: "Can you please put your coffee cup in the dishwasher before you leave for work?"
Him " Right, I'm sorry I leave it out in some random place every time I go to work even when the dishwasher is completely empty. I can see how that is annoying, especially as I never, ever clean it up when I get home either. I'll put that away and my cereal bowl as well! Thanks love."
Me "Awwww thanks sweetheart"
Him " But I did want to mention that I would really appreciate it if you put tinfoil on the cookie sheets before using them"
Me "I'm sorry, they do take a long time to clean when things stick to them."
Him: "Let's go out for dinner tonight"
Me "Yeah! that sounds great!"


(but substitute wind chime and feeding animals)

hmmm, maybe I should show my husband the new script.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: m2kbug on April 13, 2014, 12:40:43 PM
My first thought -- why didn't she say something to the neighbor about feeding the critters a long time ago?

I think to counter a complaint with another complaint is nonproductive.  The war of the neighbors.  She allowed her own annoyance to fester rather than speaking up, and then had an opening to her own complaint when the neighbor complained about the wind chimes.  Perhaps a better route like the previous posters mentioned would be better - "What is it about the wind chimes your friend doesn't like?  I like them and don't want to remove them.  What if I take one down or get a different kind?  Do you think that would work?  Oh, since you're here, can you please pass on to Neighbor that when she feeds the animals, they come in and destroy my property.  You're really not supposed to be feeding the wildlife anyway.  The raccoons get into the trash.  Can she please not feed so much or stop feeding the deer and raccoons?"   
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: shhh its me on April 13, 2014, 12:49:15 PM
  I don't think negotiation "tit for tat" is inherently rude but it comes off as petty and really easy to see the worst possible motives. 

It doesn't come off as "Oh I really really like my wind chimes. I gather you really enjoy feeding the animals but they are doing a lot of damage to my property maybe we could both cut back so we disrupt each other less."
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: jpcher on April 13, 2014, 12:54:15 PM
(snip) Friend has pretty much been gritting her teeth, getting large quantities of chemical deterrents to put around her property to try to minimize the damage, and otherwise dealing with the situation.

(snip)

So this gets to my question.  If someone comes to you and says that they find your activity X disturbing, is it rude to say that you will only stop doing X if they stop doing Y? (Y being an activity of theirs that you find disturbing)

I don't think it's rude at all. Especially since Friend was taking steps to minimize the damage without talking to neighbor . . . in other words Friend was politely dealing with the situation the best that she could without causing neighbor to change her lifestyle.

Neighbor brought it on by asking Friend to change her long-term lifestyle (enjoying the wind chimes) thereby giving Friend a perfect opening to lodge her own complaint.


Deetee posted as I was typing and while I do agree that, perhaps, the approach was a bit ill-timed I don't see that waiting a few days for Friend to go over to the Neighbor's to say "I took down my wind chimes, now will you do this for me?" would be the way to go either.

Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: cicero on April 13, 2014, 01:06:30 PM
negotiating between neighbors/spouses/etc is fine. but what would make more sense would have been if your friend had something to her about the wildlife sooner, instead of waiting for this "opportunity". it makes your friend seem very petty/PA - sort of "I asked my neighbor to reduce the wind chime noise and out of the blue she comes back with 'well, stop feeding the animals and i'll think about it'".

Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: drzim on April 13, 2014, 01:17:56 PM
(snip) Friend has pretty much been gritting her teeth, getting large quantities of chemical deterrents to put around her property to try to minimize the damage, and otherwise dealing with the situation.

(snip)

So this gets to my question.  If someone comes to you and says that they find your activity X disturbing, is it rude to say that you will only stop doing X if they stop doing Y? (Y being an activity of theirs that you find disturbing)

I don't think it's rude at all. Especially since Friend was taking steps to minimize the damage without talking to neighbor . . . in other words Friend was politely dealing with the situation the best that she could without causing neighbor to change her lifestyle.

Neighbor brought it on by asking Friend to change her long-term lifestyle (enjoying the wind chimes) thereby giving Friend a perfect opening to lodge her own complaint.


Deetee posted as I was typing and while I do agree that, perhaps, the approach was a bit ill-timed I don't see that waiting a few days for Friend to go over to the Neighbor's to say "I took down my wind chimes, now will you do this for me?" would be the way to go either.

I do see how these situations come about.  I've had neighbors who have done things that are annoying, but I tend to let things slide and chalk it up to being in a large city where everyone lives in close quarters. I would never approach a neighbor with a complaint about something like a wind chime.
However, if a neighbor came to me to complain about something like that, I would be thinking "well, I put up with all your _________, if you can't put up with my__________, now I'm no longer obligated to put up with your _______"!  But it does lead to defensiveness and bad neighbor relations.  Because maybe the neighbor doesn't realize they have been annoying you in the first place, and it screams retaliation.

I think waiting a few days and then bringing up the wildlife-feeding issue with the neighbor is the best way to go.  The key is using the opportunity to foster a good relationship with the neighbor.  It makes it much more likely that they will act favorably on your request if you have already favorably acted on theirs.

So, the neighbor comes and asks you to take down the wind chime.  Be reasonable, does it bother them all the time, or maybe just at night?  Maybe you can agree to taking it down sometimes and leaving it up at other times. Come to an agreement.  Be polite and accommodating. 

Then, the following week, you can approach the neighbor and ask about the feeding.  Could they possibly cut back?  You've noticed more animals in your yard doing damage.  Come to an agreement.  Everyone wins, you've established a good relationship which will be beneficial in the future if there other issues.


Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: lkdrymom on April 13, 2014, 01:56:25 PM
I don't see it as tit for tat either. I have been in situations where a neighbor does something you don't particularily like but you put up with it for neighborhood harmony. But then neighbor tells you to stop doing something as it bothers them....I think you have every right to then ask them to correct their behavior too.  Why should one side do all the compromising?  I don;t think waiting a few days to bring up your complaint would work out well...they would assume you are complaining just for spike. I think that since they brought up the subject it would be good to clear the air right then and there.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: sweetonsno on April 13, 2014, 02:34:46 PM

So this gets to my question.  If someone comes to you and says that they find your activity X disturbing, is it rude to say that you will only stop doing X if they stop doing Y? (Y being an activity of theirs that you find disturbing)

Personally I don't think so... I think that if tell someone that something they do or have is annoying to you, that you open the door for them to inform you of things that you do that they don't like either.  I also think that it is a tad bit self-centered to demand that someone accommodate you without offering them anything in return.

What do you all think? 

I don't know that it's rude, but I do think it's quite juvenile, especially if their request is phrased politely and you have never brought up your problem with them. I agree with the previous posters who say that part of the problem is timing. It also seems dismissive of their concern and a bit disingenuous (not sure if it's the best word, but it's the best I can think of) in terms of a desire and willingness to accommodate them.

I don't think the request (to take down the wind chimes) is inherently unreasonable, even if they have never bothered anyone else. It doesn't matter if they have never bothered anyone else (thought to be fair, we don't know whether they have bothered anyone, only that nobody has complained).

If the situation had been reversed, and your friend had gone over to ask the neighbor to cut back on feeding the animals and met with the response, "Sure, if you take down those wind chimes," I think it very understandable if she were irked. The response doesn't sound at all like cooperation or concern for your neighbors' well-being and comfort. It sounds like coercion.

I agree with previous posters who say that the best response is to completely separate their request from your own through timing (wait a few days before bringing up your own grievance) or phrasing (like Deetee's script, but without the language reserved for couples).
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: veronaz on April 13, 2014, 02:39:27 PM
Quote
Personally I don't think so... I think that if tell someone that something they do or have is annoying to you, that you open the door for them to inform you of things that you do that they don't like either.  I also think that it is a tad bit self-centered to demand that someone accommodate you without offering them anything in return.

I disagree with this.

If someone is chewing/cracking gum loudly, and I ask them to stop, then they tell me that it annoys them when I hum a song……

First of all, the issue I’ve presented – at the time - is their loud gum cracking.
I had no idea that my humming was annoying them – it was their responsibility to tell me.
There was no “demand”.  It was a polite request.

Since when is anyone obligated to offer something in exchange for another person stopping annoying behavior?  That's not what etiquette is about.

Case in point:  I have a friend who plays music way too loud in her car.  The last time I got in, the music was really booming.  I said “Can you turn that down a little?”  She did.  But are you saying she should have thought of something I do that annoys her and asked me to change my behavior in exchange for turning down music?  Or that I should have offered her something or accommodated her in some way? ???
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: CrazyDaffodilLady on April 13, 2014, 03:15:50 PM
I have a large high quality wind chime that can make quite a racket when the wind picks up.  I think the sound is lovely, but I've told every neighbor within earshot to let me know if it bothers them .  In fact, I've told my neighbors that if anything I'm doing bothers them to let me know.  They all told me the same in return. I'd rather have a good relationship with my neighbors than have a wind chime.

I agree with sweetonsno that tit-for-tat is juvenile.  If something's bothering you, speak up.  If someone lets you know you're bothering them, figure out a solution.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Peppergirl on April 13, 2014, 03:22:07 PM
I think your friend came off as petty and PA. 

If she was so bothered by the wildlife the neighbors yard attracts, she should have been a big girl and gone to the neighbor before, not used it as a retaliatory counterpoint when confronted about her chimes.

I might be extra sensitive, though because my ex husband was exactly like this - so take my opinion with a grain of salt.  >:D
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: veronaz on April 13, 2014, 03:27:30 PM
Quote
I agree with sweetonsno that tit-for-tat is juvenile.  If something's bothering you, speak up.  If someone lets you know you're bothering them, figure out a solution.

POD

One of my siblings is known for not being able to take criticism or complaints of any kind.  If/when someone brings up something he does that's annoying, he comes back at them with several things they've done that have angered him.  It's like he keeps an arsenal or ammo to counter the complaint, and nothing ever gets resolved.  It's juvenile, counterproductive, and one of the main reasons people don't like to be around him.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Amara on April 13, 2014, 03:59:37 PM
I don't think this was handled well either. But what can be done now?

If it were me (with the wind chimes) I would bake a plate of cookies and go over to see the neighbor saying: "Hi, I'm sorry we started off on the wrong foot the other day. I would love to start over and talk about how we can solve the problems of the wind chimes and the foraging animals. I brought fresh-baked cookies for you, and I hope that perhaps we can have some tea if now is a good time and talk about this. Would you like to to do that?"

If she is amendable, you could find out what bothers her about the wind chimes. If it's more of an "all the time" annoyance, what compromise are you willing to make? Would you be willing to place them inside your home in a location where only you can hear them and turn a fan on them? Are you willing to put them out once a week for an hour? Is there a location where she can't hear them, or times when she is gone?

After you solve that problem, ask if she is willing to talk about her feedings. Explain why you'd like her to stop and why it is dangerous not just for people and pets living there now but for the animals themselves (who get used to being fed and may starve when suddenly cut off at some point in the future). See if you can get her to stop.

But keep the two issues separate. Do not go in with a tit-for-tat attitude because I think you are going to be better off, and achieve far better results, if you approach it as a "what can I do for our neighborly relations" problem.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: nolechica on April 13, 2014, 04:31:40 PM
I don't think this was tit-for-tat, but then I don't try to be friends with neighbors either.  Some people prefer to only talk about complaints with neighbors and be friends with others.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Jones on April 13, 2014, 06:52:26 PM
Personally I don't think it sounds like "tit for tat". It sounds like Friend was trying to be a good neighbor and not complain, but once the door was open for complaints, made her case heard as well. If she didn't speak rudely I don't see the rudeness here. But then my neighborhood is very plainspoken, there are issues when neighbors beat around the bush, as it were.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: VorFemme on April 13, 2014, 08:54:45 PM
I had a neighbor who called me out of state (cell phone - she didn't KNOW I was out of state) to ask me to please turn off the outside lights around my house as they were keeping her 11 year old son awake. 

Please note that the curtains to his room were café curtains of a lightweight fabric that covered the lower half of the window and had a valance across part of the top of the window.  About a third of the window was not covered at all.  The previous residents had a teenaged girl in the same room with the same window treatment and I made SURE that our master bedroom windows and bathroom window were blocked by our window treatments.  When they had built their house, our lot was a wooded lot without a house - they apparently never got around to replacing the window treatments after we moved in. 

But the real estate agent showing the house was NOT responding to calls and it would be a day or two before Ambrosia Hino could get by with her set of keys...

I mentioned that he could do what I did - use a satin sleep mask or put up a heavier window treatment when the light from next door was too bright...

It was the first time she'd realized that her older son NEVER turned off their outdoor lights when he got home after a shift at the local fast food place (midnight or later)...I'd never complained because there was something that *I* could do to remedy the situation.

We sold the house shortly thereafter and I have not gone by to see if they ever did something about replacing the lightweight café curtains. 

I do know that I would never have café curtains in a bedroom or bathroom where someone was getting dressed & undressed - but that's because I decided that I prefer sleeping in a DARK bedroom and café curtains are too lightweight and leave too much of the window uncovered to make the room dark enough.  Other people may prefer the breezes that can blow through lightweight curtains and don't mind the light.

Their choice of what window treatments to use.  But if you don't put up curtains that are capable of blocking the light, don't complain about the light...

Someone feeding wild animals to the point that the animals are destroying the neighbor's property (landscaping & trash cans) might be in violation of various local statutes and such - you might check with the local wildlife wardens or the local sheriff. 

There may also be noise statutes that the wind chimes would be covered under - but the property owner with the wind chimes and property damage could check on both - then talk to her neighbor about cutting back due to the LAW and offer to use a "silencer" (I'm sure silicone or latex could be used to still the chimes while leaving them outside) most of the time except when outside to enjoy the "serenade" 

But I don't KNOW if there are legal requirements in the area or not - but it would be prudent to check - and it is not rude to check & warn a neighbor who might be attracting potentially dangerous animals with the access to food.

There was a story in the news about a Florida woman attacked by a black bear in her garage - http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/13/us/florida-bear-attack/index.html - your neighbor may not realize how many varieties of animals could end up on her property (and neighboring properties) looking for food.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: sammycat on April 13, 2014, 09:19:28 PM
Personally I don't think it sounds like "tit for tat". It sounds like Friend was trying to be a good neighbor and not complain, but once the door was open for complaints, made her case heard as well. If she didn't speak rudely I don't see the rudeness here.

I agree.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 13, 2014, 10:16:18 PM
I think it's all in the delivery.

Deetee's husband sounds a bit like my DF too. Telling him "I don't like it when you do ABC - can you stop doing it please?" usually gets a response of "Yeah?! Well I don't like it when YOU do XYZ!" which is very annoying.  >:(

But saying "Sure, I'll cut down on doing ABC. And while we're having this conversation, do you mind refraining from XYZ?" is fine, IMO.

The problem arises when the other person refuses to stop doing THEIR thing, but expects you to stop doing YOUR thing. It seems the OP's friend's neighbour might be like this? In which case, some more tact might be needed, and you might also point out that not doing YOUR thing is a sacrifice for you, but you're doing it because you care about their welfare.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: RooRoo on April 14, 2014, 01:04:39 AM
There's something that, to me, makes this a "safety trumps etiquette" issue. (I'm not giving Friend a complete pass, unless she complained to the neighbor before this.) My knowledge of the following would have had me knocking on her door the first time I saw a squirrel!

Raccoons can carry both rabies and canine distemper. And they may seem cute and fuzzy - well, they are - but they are also very efficient fighters. If a Labrador comes across a coon, the coon will win the fight, possibly killing the dog; at the least, stitches will be needed. No, I'm not kidding. They can also transmit something known as "coonhound paralysis," for which there is no medication and no cure. And though raccoons are cute and fuzzy, and may recognize Neighbor as the person with the food, they don't love her. If s/he was to try to take it away, they'll protect their food.

And the little fiends will make a mess out of the garbage cans.  Like the one who, once we figured out how to keep him from getting the lid off, tipped it over, broke in the bottom, and rolled it up the driveway, leaving a trail of trash! And, if they know where she keeps the food, they can break in and get it. We also had to cover the screen door with hardware cloth, after he broke in 4 times!

Deer can carry ticks, which means Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and ehrlichiosis. Since ticks drop off once they're full, guess what might be hanging around in Friend's back yard? They can also carry anthrax. Not to mention the traffic hazard, and other dangers.

VorFemme is right to mention bears, too. If Friend is anywhere near bear habitat...

I would be very surprised indeed if there wasn't some kind of ordinance about feeding wildlife.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: aussie_chick on April 14, 2014, 03:49:13 AM
Is there any restriction on feeding wild animals? Because if so, that makes the two issues completely separate. and more a safety or legal versus etiquette issue.

I doubt any local noise by laws would include something like a wind chime so i'm not sure these issues are at the same level

Therefore any tit for tat is counter productive. It suggests they're the same level of concern and I don't think they are.

Having said that I think each party should raise issues as they notice them or are annoyed by them. Not sit back saying nothing getting crankier and then only saying something when the other party raises an issue of their own.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Margo on April 14, 2014, 07:49:59 AM
I agree with LifeOfPluto - I think it is the delivery, not the timing which is the issue. "I'm sorry, I've had the wind chimes for a long time and not had any problems - is the a particular time of day they bother you? I could take them down at night, if you like. By the way, I've been meaning to speak to you about the wild animals which have been here since you've started feeding, they've caused quite a lot of damage to my yard, and I'm concerned about the mess they make ripping the garbage bags, and the risk of disease" would be OK.

I think "I wont do anything about my windchimes unless you do something about the animals" is different, and does come across as quite petty and unreasonable
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: MindsEye on April 14, 2014, 12:21:41 PM
Hi all, thanks for the feedback.   :)

To answer some questions... Friend did not approach New Neighbor about her wildlife-feeding habits because other neighbors (she is not the only one being annoyed) have tried and were rebuffed.  So Friend thought that there was no point.
 
This neighborhood is not in a HOA, as far as Friend can tell, there is nothing in the township codes or bylaws that specifically addresses feeding wildlife, and Animal Control won't really do anything (other then put out traps) without concrete proof (no idea what level of proof is required) that the animal activity is a direct result of New Neighbor's wildlife feeding. 

I agree that the issue is the delivery, and in my friend's defense, she said that she felt blindsided by New Neighbor's request/demand, and said the first thing that popped into her head... which was if you want me to do X, then you need to do Y.

Friend is adamant that she will not take down her wind chimes unless New Neighbor ceases all wildlife feeding.  She is not about to take down something that she has had up for years, and enjoyed for years, unless New Neighbor is going to commit to a concession as well.

For what it's worth, my advice to Friend was to not hinge what she does on what New Neighbor agrees to do, and if New Neighbor approaches Friend about the wind chimes again to pretend that she is Nancy Regan and just say No. 
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Deetee on April 14, 2014, 01:14:09 PM
FWIW, I think it might work better for your friend to comply with the request at this point. Take down the wind chimes and see if the other neighbour stops feeding the wildlife. Give it a couple weeks. If other neighbour is still feeding the wildlife, then put up windchimes again.

edit: Also, some windchimes drive me batty. I've never complained about them but they make me tense in a way I don't notice until the wind dies down. I think the kind thing to do is have some way to have them not chime when you aren't outside.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: m2kbug on April 14, 2014, 01:31:49 PM
FWIW, I think it might work better for your friend to comply with the request at this point. Take down the wind chimes and see if the other neighbour stops feeding the wildlife. Give it a couple weeks. If other neighbour is still feeding the wildlife, then put up windchimes again.

edit: Also, some windchimes drive me batty. I've never complained about them but they make me tense in a way I don't notice until the wind dies down. I think the kind thing to do is have some way to have them not chime when you aren't outside.

This actually isn't a bad idea, but I don't know that I would be too keen on taking down something I have enjoyed for years and no one has ever complained about.  I'm wondering what kind of wind chime can make so much noise, a neighboring house can hear to the point it is that annoying unless there were dozens of them.  Perhaps not have multiple wind chimes would be a reasonable solution to me, or are there some less noisy, but not remove them entirely. 

At first I thought the OP was talking about an apartment until she mentioned the wildlife and what sounds like larger properties.  For an apartment, maybe, I can understand a wind chime being bothersome.  Where I live, we're pretty close together, and I just can't see a wind chime being that problematic, even if I hated them.  I think this neighbor is being a little unreasonable, but I have no idea how loud these wind chimes are.  From the description, the neighbor didn't specify what the problem was, just demanded their removal.  I find the followup interesting in that multiple people have talked to the neighbor about the wildlife to no avail, and here she is knocking on the door expecting her demands to be met.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: MindsEye on April 14, 2014, 01:50:03 PM

At first I thought the OP was talking about an apartment until she mentioned the wildlife and what sounds like larger properties.

It is a development in an area that is transitioning from rural/farmland to something more like a conventional suburb.  All of the lots are about 1/3-1/2 acres.   

And there are only 2 wind chimes.  They are a matched set, and are tuned to a pentatonic scale. 
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Deetee on April 14, 2014, 02:10:42 PM

edit: Also, some windchimes drive me batty. I've never complained about them but they make me tense in a way I don't notice until the wind dies down. I think the kind thing to do is have some way to have them not chime when you aren't outside.

This actually isn't a bad idea, but I don't know that I would be too keen on taking down something I have enjoyed for years and no one has ever complained about.  I'm wondering what kind of wind chime can make so much noise, a neighboring house can hear to the point it is that annoying unless there were dozens of them.  Perhaps not have multiple wind chimes would be a reasonable solution to me, or are there some less noisy, but not remove them entirely. 


It's odd. My neighbour had some for a while. And they were gentle nice chimes. I like the sound for the first 15 minutes, but after a while they just start to carve away at my nerves. I could only really relax when the wind died down. Also, I had no problem with them chiming while the neighbour was outside because then I knew that someone was enjoying them.  But when they are chiming and  bothering me and not making anyone else happy, I started to hate them.

She took them down on her own so it was a moot point. And I'm sure if I said something, she would have taken them down on her own, but it  just wasn't worth it to me.

I am mainly mentioning this as I can get how windchimes can be an outright nuisance sound and I don't think you need to be someone who hates fun to dislike the chimes.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Emmy on April 17, 2014, 08:21:23 AM
The story is second hand, but the OP said the neighbor complained about the wind chimes and demanded they be taken down.  If I was the friend, I would be very put off by somebody making a complaint and demand instead of a polite request.  It may be petty, but I certainly wouldn't want to bend over backwards for a person who makes a demand such as this.  Even if the request was made politely, I feel the neighbor opened up the door for complaints so I don't feel the OP's friend was rude for making a request of the neighbor.  I do feel she could have phrased it differently.  I feel the OP's friend's reply could have been different and she have said she was willing to take the chimes down or talk about another arrangement that would work for both of them.  I see how the phrase "I'll consider it if..." would be off putting to the neighbor.  I consider requests between neighbors quite different than one member of a couple bringing up an issue and the other person bring up something else the SO is to deflect the conversation.

I also agree with the poster who said the friend should take them down.  If the neighbor hasn't made a move to stop feeding the wildlife after a few weeks, back up the wind chimes go.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: MindsEye on April 17, 2014, 11:52:59 AM
I also agree with the poster who said the friend should take them down.  If the neighbor hasn't made a move to stop feeding the wildlife after a few weeks, back up the wind chimes go.

Would that be considered retaliatory rudeness?  You agree to stop doing Thing A which neighbor doesn't like, neighbor continues doing Thing B which you don't like, so you resume doing Thing A, which now for sure you know drives your neighbor batty.  It seems... spiteful... to me, like a deliberate thumb in their eye.  And certainly I don't think that it would do anything to improve neighbor relations...

Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: HoneyBee42 on April 17, 2014, 12:23:44 PM
I'd be inclined to leave the windchimes as they are, barring a complaint from a neighbor who is not feeding the wildlife.  Especially based on the additional info, that the wildlife-feeding neighbor has received multiple requests to stop and has refused to do so.  Doing something to mute them at times when windchime-owner isn't present to enjoy is one thing, but wildlife-feeder certainly isn't a very good neighbor and may just have to think about the wildlife feeding in view of the *multiple* requests to quit doing that if the interest in stopping the windchimes is that great.
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Emmy on April 17, 2014, 02:48:52 PM
I also agree with the poster who said the friend should take them down.  If the neighbor hasn't made a move to stop feeding the wildlife after a few weeks, back up the wind chimes go.

Would that be considered retaliatory rudeness?  You agree to stop doing Thing A which neighbor doesn't like, neighbor continues doing Thing B which you don't like, so you resume doing Thing A, which now for sure you know drives your neighbor batty.  It seems... spiteful... to me, like a deliberate thumb in their eye.  And certainly I don't think that it would do anything to improve neighbor relations...

Having wind chimes on your property isn't rude so deciding to put them out because you enjoy them would not be retaliatory rudeness and hardly what I would call spiteful.  Buying several wind chimes and putting them up for the sake of driving the neighbor crazy or letting your dog go to the bathroom in their yard and not cleaning up after it because you don't like this neighbor would be retaliatory rudeness.  The neighbor can't expect others to be willing to sacrifice and be a good neighbor to her if she is not willing to be a good neighbor to them.  I do agree with you that it is probably best for the OP to not agree to take down the chimes for good if she doesn't intend to do so and/or let the neighbor know the taking the wind chimes down is conditional.  If the wind chimes really did drive the neighbor batty, she should be willing to make an effort not to drive the OP batty with the animals.  Do you feel the OP should get rid of something that she enjoys for good when the neighbor will not make an effort to do the same for OP? 

From the OP, the neighbor did sound unreasonable.  Marching over to your neighbors house, complaining, making a demand, then getting in a huff when they ask you to stop doing something that bothers them are not good ways to ingratiate yourself to your neighbors.  I do think the OP should go back and talk to her neighbor, maybe invite her over for tea to discuss things.  It is worth a try that the neighbor will be a little more reasonable and willing to compromise.  Others had good suggestions about only having the wind chimes at certain times.  However, if neighbor won't budge on the issue of feeding the wild life, OP isn't obligated to take down the chimes, whether she knows they bother her neighbor or not.  I don't think having good neighborly relations mean being a doormat.

Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: Deetee on April 17, 2014, 04:29:59 PM
I also agree with the poster who said the friend should take them down.  If the neighbor hasn't made a move to stop feeding the wildlife after a few weeks, back up the wind chimes go.

Would that be considered retaliatory rudeness?  You agree to stop doing Thing A which neighbor doesn't like, neighbor continues doing Thing B which you don't like, so you resume doing Thing A, which now for sure you know drives your neighbor batty.  It seems... spiteful... to me, like a deliberate thumb in their eye.  And certainly I don't think that it would do anything to improve neighbor relations...

I suggested it. I didn't think of it as retaliatory, but more of a gesture of good faith. The other neighbour wants the wind chimes down. You want the animals not to be fed. So you take down the windchimes and see if the other neighbour will cooperate as well. Basically, someone has to take the first friendly step so it might as well be you.

After an appropriate period of time (I'd wait until the feeders are empty and see if they get refilled) you can revisit the "bargain". If the other neighbour is still throwing boatloads of bread out for the squirrels, pitting the chimes up seems reasonable. They didn't fulfill their half.



Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: FauxFoodist on April 18, 2014, 05:43:44 AM
I have no suggestion for when would be a better time to bring up the animal feeders, especially since it hasn't worked for the other neighbors.  While it does sound like you're countering, given you stated the other neighbors have been rebuffed in their attempts to address it with her, I don't see what other option you would've had in trying to get her to stop feeding the wild animals.  I wouldn't take down the windchimes then hope she'll return the favor; she has already indicated she's not willing to change anything for the other neighbors.

I once had a manager who asked his colleague if she could provide some information to him pertaining to her section.  She was frequently an unpleasant and unreasonable person to work with so she stated to him, in her unpleasant fashion, that she was too busy to obtain that information and to take care of it himself (I think it involved numbers he needed from her section).  A few days later, she approached Manager and requested he complete a document for her.  His reply?  In a nice tone, he said to her that he was too busy to do her document as he was still trying to find the numbers he needed from her section.  He wasn't lying, he wasn't being rude and he wasn't countering; however, he did get his point across about not being willing to help others.  He said she gave him a nasty look, stomped out of his office then returned a few moments later with the information he'd first requested.  He then told her something like, "Good; now I'll have time to work on your document."
Title: Re: The etiquette of tit-for-tat
Post by: MindsEye on April 21, 2014, 07:01:06 AM
Small update:

I saw my friend again over the weekend and asked her how the situation with her neighbor is going.

My friend is not going to take down her windchimes.  I guess that there have been more animal incidents and my friend is well beyond caring if her neighbor (hereby known as AN for annoying neighbor) doesn't like the windchimes.

Someone at Animal Control has finally told my friend what kind of evidence they need, how much of it, and how to collect it so that a charge can be brought against AN for "creating a nuisance animal situation".  So my friend and some of her other neighbors have banded together on this.  Nothing like working against an annoying neighbor to really bring a neighborhood together...