my boss is my new next-door neighbor

A reader writes:

I am six months into my first job since graduating college. It has been a tough transition, but I am finally feeling more competent in my job and assimilating to its culture. Last week I moved to a new house in a relatively affluent part of town. I was only able to afford this new place because we crammed it full of other young twenty-somethings.

You can imagine my surprise the day after I moved when I knocked on my neighbor’s door to introduce myself, and the head of my department at work answered the door! While we have a respectful and professional relationship, I am mortified at the thought of living next door to him for a year. There is no end to the awkward scenarios I am picturing. While we are not a party house, we do host frequent events and love having other people over, even on weekdays. I am a frequent runner, and enjoy running to and from the local park without a shirt. I have bad bouts of mental health and occasionally need a day off. What if we don’t mow our lawn for a week and he gets annoyed? My head is reeling with potential scenarios, both large and small, gone bad.

On top of all this, I genuinely love getting to know my neighbors and hosting dinners and BBQs. I desire a neighborly relationship with my neighbors, and am not sure if that is even appropriate in this situation.

I’m completely baffled on how to address this with my boss, if at all! I would love your thoughts and perspective on how to navigate this.

I wrote back to this letter-writer and asked how big his office is. The answer:

The firm is about 150 people, but he is mainly in charge of my department which is 30 people. I interact with him two to three times a week, and he is the head reviewer for about half of my work. There is always one level of review between my preparation and his final review, so most of my interaction comes from my manager relaying what this partner said about my projects.

My job is inherently stressful and this sometimes brings out the worst in people. While he is generally kind, during stressful times I have occasionally had to step outside to compose myself after a tense talking-to from him. When I have bad days at work it often relates to him pushing deadlines / expressing frustration with me at work. He is not toxic, but I look forward to getting away from him during these tense times and do not want to come home and have to continue to manage my relationship with him.

If it makes you feel any better, he’s probably feeling a little awkward about it himself.

First, the easy pieces of this: (1) You can continue running shirtless if you’re comfortable with it. You get to wear whatever clothes you’d normally wear around your neighborhood. (2) It’s very unlikely that not mowing your lawn for a week will have any consequences for your professional relationship with him. If you let your lawn become a forest and you store old mattresses in your yard, etc., yeah, it could affect the way he sees you (but most likely, it’ll just make him see you as very young, more than anything else). But you say you like to be neighborly, so that’s probably not going to happen anyway.

Beyond that … yeah, there’s some potential awkwardness — but it’s awkwardness that you should be able to limit.

And importantly, you’re probably going to see him far less than you’re anticipating. As long as you don’t spend a lot of time hanging out on your front porch, it’s probably going to be pretty rare to bump into each other. That doesn’t mean it’ll never happen — but I wouldn’t expect that you’re going to be seeing each other daily or even weekly. You’ll see each other occasionally, and it’ll be brief — you can keep it to a friendly “hi, how are you?” and then go inside/to your car/out on your run/etc. It’s very, very likely that he’s going to on board with keeping those encounters brief as well — just like you don’t want to have to manage your relationship with him in your off-hours, he’s not going to want to have to manage his relationship with an employee when he’s trying to relax at home either.

Most likely, you’ll have an unspoken but mutually agreed-upon policy of respectful distance.

That does mean that while you might normally like getting to know your neighbors and hosting them for dinners, etc., you should forego that with him. You can have a perfectly neighborly relationship with someone while still keeping a distance, and that’s what you want here. Friendly and polite when you see him, but nothing beyond that. (Some people in this situation might think, “What a great opportunity to get to know a company higher-up better and maybe make a good impression!” But it seems pretty clear that you don’t want that … and even if you did, you’d want to be respectful of his privacy and the fact that he might want strong boundaries in this situation too.)

You asked about whether and how to address this with him. You probably don’t need to, as long as he too maintains respectful boundaries. If it turns out he has very different ideas about what this set-up will mean — like if he starts knocking on your door to ask work questions or check on you when you were out sick — then you’d need to address it then. But that’s fairly unlikely to happen, especially if you signal through your own actions that you’re following the Respectful Distance Plan.

{ 315 comments… read them below }

  1. Jennifer

    Yes, I agree with the wait and see approach. If he does violate boundaries in the future, you can address it then, but don’t expect the worst.

  2. AMT

    I love the juxtaposition of this letter and the link at the bottom to the post headlined “my manager showed up at my house and beat on the doors and windows.”

    1. The Tin Man

      Reading this question: “What’s the worst that can happen?”

      Seeing that related link headline: “Nevermind.”

  3. Smia

    I bought a new condo and soon after realized that the head of a department I work closely with lived there too, on another floor. And it wasn’t a particularly large building either.

    I saw him maybe once a month outside of work in our building’s common areas? Turned out to be no big deal at all.

    I’d just somehow make sure he knows that you have roommates, so if something like the grass is annoying, he can’t pin it on you solely. Otherwise, just be respectful neighbors, like you would be to anyone else.

  4. CTT

    Agree that it’s a wait-and-see and be neighborly but distant situation, but I sympathize! I was neighbors with two of my college professors, and it drove me crazy when I got a bad grade from one and then saw him out jogging that afternoon.

    1. Moose

      No joke when I moved into my current place in college my landlords who live upstairs introduced me to their friend down the road who was into my (niche) field of engineering. They didn’t realize he was a prof, just knew he did research. Yeah… he’s been my prof for the last two semesters and I will probably have him for the next two. Unfortunately he isn’t the type to keep to himself and never misses an opportunity to say hi.

      1. Jules the 3rd

        Schools’s a little different, though. Your relationship with professors can be a little closer / more friendly than the relationship with bosses. Your professors are there to mentor / teach you, while your business managers have to balance mentoring against getting the work done, and have the added complication that they’re paying you money. Both can affect your future, but bosses usually have more economic control over you now.

        My parents both taught college – dad at a 4 year university for 35 years, mom at community college for 5. They regularly had students over for dinners / cook outs, and on a couple of occasions (that I know about) provided more support than that, support that would be unlikely in a business context. I know the university supported them in the actions they took.

        I didn’t get friendly with my professors, but I certainly treated them more as equals than I would my bosses. Some of that is probably growing up with ‘professor = family’, but a lot of it is the immediate economic effect my boss can have on me – my teachers never had that option.

    2. just a random teacher

      One of my high school students lives in the house next to mine. He can see my backyard pool from his treehouse. It is…kind of awkward. On the bright side, his parents are nice people and not the kind to object to the fact that I will occasionally drink a beer or go for a swim with my friends in my own backyard during non-school hours, but I look forward to the day he goes off to college.

  5. Lily Rowan

    This OP sounds delightful, and I wonder if being less friendly with the neighbors is just one more way that post-college life is different from college life. Even if it wasn’t your department head, a random middle-aged (I’m assuming) neighbor still probably wouldn’t want to hang out a ton with their early-20s neighbors. Like Alison said, be cordial, keep moving, don’t throw loud parties, everything will be great.

    1. LaDeeDa

      IKR? I miss how easy it was to meet people when I was in college/grad school. The entire building/complex was all college kids, and we would all hang out.

      1. Snark

        It’s the third spaces outside work and home – campuses, pubs, plazas, common rooms, walkable streets, extramural activities, clubs – that make it easy to meet people and spontaneously socialize. But after college, very few Americans take advantage of, or have available to them, third spaces. I’m lucky to live in a close-knit older neighborhood with a central park and two great breweries, but sprawly suburbs with giant detached households that require us to drive everywhere don’t lend themselves to the kinds of impromptu, casual human contact that leads to friendships.

        I was in Barcelona about a year ago, and it made my heart ache to see happy Catalans stopping to buy some stuff for dinner, chatting with neighbors, and stopping for a beer or a cider with them before heading home. Some places still do it right. We missed a major boat there.

        1. Jennifer

          +1
          We have cities/suburbs built for cars not people. Cities that encourage walking encourage friendships.

          1. Snark

            Exactly. You can’t strike up a friendly chat with someone from inside a car. But I know dozens of people in my neighborhood because, as one will, I take the dog for a stroll in the evening, and occasionally find myself having a pint with someone, and then we realize we live a few doors from each other, and then they find themselves on my back deck having tacos and more pints. And a friend is someone you have eaten tacos and drunk beer with, in my estimation.

            1. Snark

              Huh, that’s weird. This didn’t post even after I refreshed, and then it suddenly appeared.

            2. Oviraptor

              I took care of a friend’s dog for a few months. When taking her for a walk, the number of people who stopped us to chat (and especially to ask about what kind of dog she was and everything else about her) surprised me. Because when just walking by myself, people would exchange greetings but no one would stop to visit. A cute and friendly pup certainly breaks the ice.

              1. Snark

                A friend of ours has taken my dog running with her – as a wingdog, to meet guys. Apparently she helped score a couple solid dates, so at least around here a dog is at least as good as Tinder.

              2. AnnaBananna

                I hear it’s the same with babies (i’m human childless but not fur childless). Stroll one down the road and suddenly you’re the most popular neighbor on your block.

                1. Jules the 3rd

                  I’ve had one of each, the dog is more effective for women to meet either gender. I didn’t ask anyone out, because we didn’t get the dog until relatively recently and I like Mr. Jules. According to Mr. Jules, the baby is more effective for men to meet women *but* you can’t then ask the women out. They do not believe it’s not yours (he used to babysit his room mates’ kid, in the long ago).

                  He also says dogs are more effective for men who want to chat with men, and he has been asked out by someone at the dog park.

              3. Alienor

                I dogsit for a friend pretty frequently, and I joke that taking the dog out is like going out celebrity! He’s very small and nonthreatening, which I think increases the number of people who want to stop and pet him and ask me questions about him. (Most popular question: “Is he a puppy?” Nope, this is as big as he’s ever going to be!)

            3. Ms. Mad Scientist

              Inclined to disagree. Boston is a great walking city, but not a particularly friendly one!

              1. Snark

                It’s kind of the exception that proves the rule, in my experience – but yeah, I loathed Boston.

                1. Anon..

                  I’m not sure if that’s an exception… NYC is like that, too. The norm mindset here is that it’s rude/inconsiderate to spontaneously start a conversation with a stranger on the street. Even eye contact is generally avoided.

                2. Mystery Bookworm

                  I mean, I know many people who have had the opposite experience in NYC, so YMMV. Obviously, people in big cities can get blinders and sort of head around with a singular dedication that doesn’t lend itself to interactions, but I’ve also had very friendly interactions in New York with strangers on subways and trains, or loitering outside coffee shops.

                  I think the thing is you have to compare it to how many opportunities you’d have to do similar in a suburb.

                3. Rumbakalao

                  I’m from NY. The problem is usually a combination of the fact that locals are often in a rush to get where they’re going and we are trained to have blinders on for all the raving madmen on the corners, camera happy tourists, streets full of people weaving in every direction, and the people trying to either catcall women or hand out flyers for their mixtapes and comedy clubs. We’re trying to get to work on time after subway delays and to dinner with family after work or happy hour before the deals end. If you catch someone while they just happen to be outside or in a friendly mood, you’ll have more luck. It’s not uncommon to not really know your neighbors. But that’s mostly with apartments, not houses- which aren’t really a thing in cities, and I suspect OP is not in an exceptionally urban area.

          2. Snark

            Yep. Everyone I know from my hood, I met having a pint, walking a dog, eating tacos, or some combination thereof. Can’t strike up a conversation from inside a car, and a beer in one hand and a taco in the other certainly strikes up a convivial attitude.

          3. Jules the 3rd

            So what happened with NY? I hear it’s not a friendly city, but it’s very walkable.

        2. wittyrepartee

          This is what I love about living in Brooklyn. It’s a big city, but it feels small.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Yes, I totally agree.

      I never went to college but spent plenty of time on campus while my friends attended.

      I’m not middle aged and I don’t want to hangout with anyone who lives anywhere near me. I would be flustered and annoyed if anyone knocked on my door to introduce themselves. I will see you moving in, I will wave and say “Hi, welcome to the neighborhood” but please don’t ever knock on my door unless it’s an emergency or you need something.

      I leave my home to meet people. Being too familiar with neighbors is uncomfortable even if you don’t work together!

      I adore apartment culture where I don’t even know what my neighbors look like most of the time. I was in one complex for a year and only knew what one of my neighbors looked like because our schedules overlapped. We smiled, nodded, held a door open for the other but a BBQ…no thanks.

      1. Queen Anon

        That makes me sad, in a middle-aged, nostaligic way. Not only did we know our neighbors and spend time in each other’s houses, in my day (said in a cranky, old-lady voice even though I’m not an old lady yet) we even dropped in on people to visit. Without calling first! Mostly relatives – aunts and uncles and cousins – but also friends. It’s a very different culture now, so that’s what I live in – I don’t dwell in the past – but once in a blue moon, I read or hear something that makes me miss it, like this comment. (I don’t miss neighbors feeling free to knock on your door and ask if you’ll watch their kids for an hour so they can go to the store just because they know you’re home. That friendly-neighbor culture certainly had its drawbacks!)

        1. RandomU...

          I know a neighborhood that this still is the case in case you want to recapture this.

          I love my neighborhood, it’s the perfect balance of social, being left alone, everyone keeps an eye out, and nobody is nosy. I won the neighborhood lottery! My neighbors are old style entertaining types that host dinner parties and more casual ‘hey come hang out in the backyard for a drink’. I think there’s a group of women who play cards once a month, a book club, as well as organized events like during the summer a house will host the neighborhood by opening up their garage and putting out a card table for drinks and snacks that the everyone brings…

          I know my neighborhood is different, somehow the residents forgot to learn all those new-fangled social rules that the rest of the world has adopted. But surely mine can’t be the only place where an invitation to a BBQ would be out of place or not welcome?

          1. CMart

            My neighborhood (and small suburb at large actually) has a reputation for being “neighborly” and was a huge reason we decided to buy a house there this fall. We drive slowly and wave at the people walking their dogs, sometimes will stop and roll down the window to chit chat if we’re not in any hurry. On Halloween nearly everyone was sitting out on their stoops to hand out the candy and socialize with the neighbors, rather than staying inside and waiting for the kids to ring the doorbell. I was out shoveling my giant driveway last month and two of the women who live down the street came over unprompted to help me finish.

            I’m really looking forward to the longer daylight hours and warmer weather to have opportunities to invite people to the backyard for a drink or snack to continue whatever conversation we may strike up while they pass by my house walking their dog as I watch my kids burn off energy in the front yard.

          2. Sciencer

            My suburbanish neighborhood has a yearly BBQ hosted by one particular neighbor, plenty of cheerful waving and stop-and-chats on dog walks, and a general sense that we can ask each other for things if needed (keeping an eye out for a package that will come while we’re out of town, wrangling the sweet little dog that gets out all the time). We keep meaning to host a neighbor BBQ and will hopefully get around to it this summer. Honestly I love the balance of knowing people’s names and feeling happy to see them, but not worrying about them dropping by for a chat when I might be busy or need some alone time. I didn’t really know any of my neighbors growing up. I found it sad then and sad to think back on now, and I’m very happy we’re in a friendly area.

          3. I Don’t Remember What Name I Used Before

            I had parents that grew up during the Depression, and I was born in the late 60s & grew up in the 70s, in a nice, diverse, working-middle class suburban SoCal neighborhood that had everything from young families to retirees, and there was nothing like that kind of social life there even way back then. My parents were really friendly with three or four immediate neighbors, but I can only think of one we visited more than very occasionally. My mom was extraordinarily kind, friendly, and outgoing, and my dad super congenial as well as funny, but it just wasn’t a widely social neighborhood. People did their gatherings with their families and/or personal friends rather than with whoever just happened to be their neighbors (and this hasn’t changed in the 52 years I’ve been alive, which I know because I still live here, in my late parents house that I grew up in.)
            It was also really rare for my parents to drop in on anyone without calling first- I was taught that it was generally a rude thing to do. And it’s not like my family grew up with Emily Post etiquette- everyone had grown up poor in the Midwest and cursed like sailors.
            The point is that not being social or on super friendly terms with your neighbors is not some huge modern change or ‘new fangled social rules’, it’s not new or even all that out of the ordinary, even for people of generations where it was supposedly the ‘norm’ (like my parents & grandparents.)

        2. Jennifer

          I remember my mom having people she could reach out to if she needed help with us kids right around the corner. People need a support system.

        3. AnnaBananna

          …or the rampant gossip that a close block can produce….I know this becuase I had something similar in Seattle. I do miss it, but yah…the gossip was a nasty side effect.

      2. Colette

        And I’d think “oh, that’s nice” and say hi when I see you on the street, but I’m a busy person, and I don’t have tons of time to socialize with neighbours.

        When I lived in an apartment, a friend of mine moved into another apartment in the same building with her husband. I think she thought we’d see each other all the time, but that’s not how it worked out. We got together for a joint activity once a week, we saw each other sporadically outside of that, and that was about it. We both had our own lives to live.

        1. Middle-Aged Neighbour

          I also never thought to socialize with most of my neighbours, until a young couple from way up north moved in next door. They were used to a close-knit neighbourhood out of necessity in a tiny isolated town, so they simply extended that friendliness to we new neighbours in the big city. I would be gardening in my backyard, enjoying the quiet or listening to tunes, when they’d call over the back fence and invite me over for dinner. We forged a great friendship, and I came to appreciate and look forward to their hospitality. They also did the same with almost every other neighbour around their place. I used to laughingly tell them that I had lived there for 15 years and knew one neighbour, but in one year, knew fifteen other neighbours because of them. Wonderful people.

    3. Snark

      We’re very friendly with our neighbors, but we all thankfully also tend to have good boundaries and don’t bug each other when it’s not welcomed, generally.

    4. Hey Karma, Over here.

      Honestly, my only comment on Alison’s reply is about “if you don’t sit on your front porch everyday.” If you were my neighbor, knock yourself out. I’m not a big outside person. You can sit there all weekend. He may feel the same way. Or he make like being outside doing his own thing with his family and friends.
      If this is an established rental by multiple 20 somethings, he’s probably already created a life around it. If you didn’t know who lived next door, even like “my roommates said Bob and Joan live next door, but I never thought Boss Bob” then there’s very little to navigate.

    5. Sharrbe

      Agree. What I assume is a middle aged man is NOT going to want to hang out with the post-college crowd in his off time. I’m 45 and after normal household tasks are taken care of all I want to do is curl up, read, watch tv, go to bed at a decent hour. There is no wanting to socialize with the neighbors. AT ALL. And they’re perfectly lovely people.

      1. Doc in a Box

        Agree — I’m pretty exhausted by the time I come home usually, and after being “on” all day at work, I can’t manage one more ounce of being social. All I want to do in the long spring/summer evenings is sip on a glass of white while reading AAM or a novel, watch reruns of Masterpiece Theatre, then bed by 9.

        I’m 33 going on 60, it seems.

    6. Person from the Resume

      This was my thought too. A bunch of twenty somethings are probably going to be hosting parties and BBQs for other twenty somethings and not their 30 or 40 or 50 year old neighbor.

      However I found it quaint and old fashioned the LW even went and knocked on his neighbors door to introduce himself. That’s not something I did or my neighbors did so maybe he would be inviting neighbors.

    7. Marty Marts

      I wonder about that too. The older I get, the less I want to be neighborly. I like to be polite, don’t get me wrong, but I would never go introduce myself around after moving in. I think the potential for privacy problems is just too high, and it is very different living in a house in an affluent neighborhood vs. a college area. Like I think chatting and being cool is great, but I wouldn’t be inviting my neighbors over all the time and just “hanging out.” Too much potential for drama that you can’t escape from (because it’s not easy to move if it something happens).

  6. LaDeeDa

    A couple of other things to consider– he may be super irritated that a houseful of 20-somethings have moved in, he and his SO could be swingers, he could be in a non-traditional relationship and is open at work, he could have hellion kids, he could have…. etc.
    OP needs to use discretion as well. Just smile and wave like Alison suggested and at home pretend like he is just another random neighbor– its none of your business, and it is none of his business.

    1. bunniferous

      Actually what just popped into my head is-OP may want to check into local laws governing how many nonrelated adults can live in a house. Because seems to me in an affluent area one of the neighbors absolutely could call that in if annoyed.

      1. JSPA

        In my area, more than 3 unrelated adults = illegal. Even if 2 or 3 are related, and there’s an unrelated 4th.

    2. NotAnotherManager!

      Yes. When we moved to the burbs, we were very annoyed to learn that the house next door was rented by a bunch of 20-somethings who liked to play video games on full bass at 1 a.m. right at my toddler’s room.

      I am assuming that OP is a much, much better neighbor than those folks were, given the thoughtfulness of their letter, though.

    3. Anon4This

      Personally I would be very, very irritated if a ton of 20 something’s moved in next door, especially if they were entertaining multiple times a week. If I were the manager I might get irked at the employee based on noise levels or poor behavior of the housemates/ guests.

      1. Sweet Fancy Pancakes

        Me, too. A few years ago that’s exactly what happened with the rental house next door. They hosted parties several times a week (not just on weekends) and their guest’s cars would be parked all up and down the street, the music would blare until the wee hours, fights would break out, cops would be called, etc. It was terrible. It took all the neighbors banding together to threaten the landlord with a lawsuit to evict them. It sounds like the OP is a completely different kind of person than these guys were, but my first reaction was to shudder.

      2. TechWorker

        I mean, us folk in their twenties have to live somewhere :)

        I assure you living next to screaming kids or families with loud dogs isn’t always a walk in the park either :p

        1. Jules the 3rd

          Loud dogs are the bane of everyone’s existence. One of the reasons we have a whippet – minimal barking.

        2. Environmental Compliance

          “I assure you living next to screaming kids or families with loud dogs isn’t always a walk in the park either :p”

          +100, especially when you’re the (apparently rare) quiet 20-somethings with no pets, who you’d honestly never even realize were there unless you noticed that there’s suddenly a vegetable garden, and someone assumes you, your husband, and your two equally quiet roommates are going to be pains. Bit rich to come over and ask us to keep it down at 11AM on a Saturday, when it’s the house *behind you* that is having a BBQ, and your dog barked from 4AM to 9AM.

          I’ll go grumble to myself in a corner now…

          1. Anon4This

            Oh I agree, I don’t want to live next to anyone/anything loud. The neighbors behind us have the most annoying barking dogs and once they get going they set off the dogs for several houses around and it’s deafening.

      3. SarahTheEntwife

        Is this loud entertaining or just…daring to have people in their house who don’t live there? Our downstairs neighbors are a rotating assortment of 20- and 30-somethings who are way more social than I am, but we get along great. We make small talk when we pass each other on the porch and occasionally share baked goods and whatnot. Occasionally I’ll ask them to turn the music down and they put up with me thundering across their ceiling to pee at 3 in the morning.

      4. Mari

        We had this a few years ago. The house next door was rented by a few people in their 20s. They liked to have friends over during the week and in weekends and would sit out in the back yard just chatting until 1-2am at regular conversation levels. They weren’t blaring music or fighting, (though there were occasional heated arguments), but their yard was just under our bedroom windows, so I couldn’t sleep until they went in. I was already up all night long with a baby, so it irritated me. And every holiday meant a party in their house/yard until 2am.

      5. SteamedBuns

        Depends on the driveway/parking situation as well…

        Is the driveway/garage large enough to accommodate the “ton of 20 somethings” or are some going to have to resort to street parking. I get annoyed when there are vehicle that remain unmoved in the street for days at a time…double parked vehicles…people parking in front of my house…etc.

  7. QuinFirefrorefiddle

    I would say that if you do plan to host a number of neighborhood BBQs, you might want to mention that to him & say you figure he wouldn’t want to come, or just ask if he wants to be invited to that kind of thing. If you invite everybody but him without mentioning it to him that might make a bad impression. But if you point out it would be weird from the start, he can react as he feels appropriate and not feel slighted. The way you describe him reacting so far I bet he’ll not want to come, but you could get brownie points for being considerate. (Just make sure they quiet down at a reasonable hour when you do have these events!)

    1. Delta Delta

      This crossed my mind, too. If your house is inviting the whole block, it’s crappy to not invite the next door neighbor because he’s your boss. If it’s a big neighborhood party – or even just a multi-neighbor party – there would be other neighbors there for lots of mixing and mingling so there probably wouldn’t be any reason not to invite him.

      1. Jennifer

        It may be weird to invite the entire street and not the boss. It might be a good idea to address that ahead of time.

        1. Psyche

          I think it would be a better idea to not invite the entire street expect the boss. If this is something that the OP really wants to do, invite the boss as well and let him decide if he wants to come. Otherwise, don’t throw a block party.

          1. TootsNYC

            exactly! If you’ve invited the whole block, then this is not a “personal dinner party” anymore. It’s “the community,” and him being there won’t make it a private, personal social event.

            treat him exactly the way you would any of these neighbors.

          2. Not Australian

            The way to deal with this is to casually let him know who else is invited and just tell him he’d be very welcome if he cares to drop in. You can assume he’ll know many of the other guests already, since they’re neighbours, so you won’t get thrown into each other’s company too much – and it probably won’t hurt for him to see you interacting with other people and being a good host. Just don’t mention it at work unless he raises the subject first.

      2. just a random teacher

        I don’t see any reason not to invite the boss to this if you’re inviting the whole neighborhood, but that definitely a little thinking should go on about what kinds of people live in the neighborhood before the party invites go out. Sounds like the OP has already introduced themselves to the neighbors generally, so they probably have some idea of the age and lifestyle mix of who is in the neighborhood. If it’s mostly families, inviting people over for an afternoon of BBQ, assorted lawn games, and general family-friendly good times will probably go over reasonably well. If it’s mostly older folks, probably the same but make more of an effort to have seating (or just put “please bring your own lawn chair” in the invite) and worry a bit less about having enough croquet mallets/horseshoes/slip-n-slides/etc. to go around. I certainly wouldn’t invite a non-college neighborhood to a toga theme party with beer pong and a clothing-optional hot tub, but it sounds like that’s not what the OP has in mind anyway.

        My next-door-neighbor student’s family invited me to their backyard potluck earlier this year and it was reasonably non-awkward. I mean, I showed up with food and no booze just to be on the safe side, but it went fine (the student in question, in the typical nature of high school students confronted by a large group of adults, found something else to do rather than hang out with us). I plan to invite them and the rest of my neighbors over at least once this summer when the weather warms up enough for a backyard pool party to make sense.

    2. Oh So Anon

      Should OP even consider throwing neighbourhood BBQs? It doesn’t sound like the kind of neighbourhood where this is a norm, or more pointedly, it doesn’t sound like a house full of 20-somethings would have the kind of neighbourhood social capital to make this work well.

      1. Name Required

        There’s nothing in the letter to indicate that this is or isn’t that kind of neighborhood where that is the norm, and I’m not sure what how being 20-something impacts their ability to “make this work well.” What does that even mean?

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch

          They dropped into a “affluent” neighborhood that was only affordable by pooling multiple low incomes together. Those neighborhoods rarely have block parties unless they’re very well organized by those in some kind of association.

          So yeah, that’s what Oh So Anon is getting at.

          1. Name Required

            They might rarely have block parties where you live, but the affluent neighborhoods (million dollar homes in Georgia outside of Atlanta metro) in my area often have block parties or group events — fundraisers, birthday parties, acknowledgement for restorations, garden tours, house tours. This is a variable experience. It doesn’t seem helpful to ask OP to assume that their neighbors can’t possibly want to spend time with them, so don’t bother to invite anyone to anything, thus solving the problem of interacting with their boss.

            If OP wants to throw a party, as long as he’s being respectful of his neighbors, there’s no reason he shouldn’t. OP has asked for advice on how to navigate that with his boss. You can host an afternoon BBQ at 22 years of age without blasting 2Chainz all afternoon, smoking pot, and crushing Keystone Lights. Can we trust OP when he says this isn’t a party house?

          2. Bee

            I mean, there’s a way to have a neighborhood BBQ that’s not a block party: you invite some neighbors & friends to your backyard and put out some food on a picnic table? And that’s perfectly normal in a lot of middle-class-to-affluent neighborhoods. You don’t have to shut down the street for this.

          3. OtterB

            Not always true. My neighborhood would almost certainly count as “affluent” and while there are block parties organized by a formal citizen’s group, there are a couple of annual gatherings sponsored by one household or a couple of neighbors.

        2. Oh So Anon

          It makes you look like you can’t read the room if you invite people to something they’re very likely to feel uncomfortable participating in. Yes, adults are autonomous and can make decisions about what they choose to attend, but no one likes the person who make awkward requests.

          1. Name Required

            I don’t agree that is an awkward request to receive an invite from respectful neighbors to an occasional afternoon bbq. I don’t think OP needs to assign ghastliness to that request for his boss or other neighbors. If OP wants to keep things separate with his boss while still inviting a majority of other neighbors, he could stop by before those invites go out and set those boundaries with boss. Or not. I think it’ll be obvious to boss why he didn’t get an invite.

            If all of his neighbors decline the invite, I’m sure OP can get the hint and enjoy the BBQ with his housemates and other friends. But OP doesn’t need to read anything more into that than “this type of event is not what my neighbors want to do.” He doesn’t need to assume that they don’t like him for inviting them; that’s a really extreme reaction to a bbq invite.

        3. Jennifer

          I agree. I don’t get where people are getting that. It sounds like they have already hosted BBQs and other events.

          1. Oh So Anon

            No one (including me) is saying that this is an anti-BBQ neighbourhood. It’s just that it’s pretty likely that it’s not one where a bunch of 22-year-olds who are brand new to the neighbourhood and possibly stick out like a sore thumb wouldn’t be appreciated as having a central role in a neighbourhood BBQ.

            1. Snark

              Uh, where are you getting “neighborhood BBQs” from? This is what the OP said about that:

              “On top of all this, I genuinely love getting to know my neighbors and hosting dinners and BBQs.”

              There’s a pretty significant difference between inviting a few neighbors over for some burgers and beers on a nice evening and, as I suppose you are construing this, attempting to emcee some kind of gigantic neighborhood block party. It sounds as if they enjoy entertaining friends and neighbors at their home. At any and all stages of my adult life, I’ve enjoyed doing the same, and have invited and enjoyed the company of people from all age groups, even those older than I was at the time.

              And even if they were emceeing a gigantic neighborhood block party….well. From your spelling of neighbor/neighbour, I assume you are not from the US. In the US, it would generally not be viewed as objectionable or require vast neighborhood social capital for a houseful of twentysomethings to have a central role in a neighborhood bbq just because they’re younger. It’s not that stratified here. There’s a lot of neighborhoods that’d never have a neighborhood cookout to begin with, particularly if people didn’t already know each other and socialize. But you don’t need to be an eminence grise of the area to throw some food on a grill and invite folks.

              1. Oh So Anon

                I’m in Canada, don’t let the weird spelling fool you, I can assure you that we have we have all kinds of neighbourhood parties here!

                If OP described his new neighbourhood as being very diverse and laid-back it probably would be fine but they’ve already given cues (“relatively affluent”, possibly somewhere where a bunch of young people rooming together isn’t the norm) that maybe they want to lay low, even if it’s a matter of hosting a small laidback get-together. I mean, NIMBYs exist on both sides of the border, do they not?

        4. Sharrbe

          If it’s a upper-middle class suburban neighborhood, its most likely its made up of families with children or with middle-aged, soon-to-be empty nesters. Neighbors are dealing with daycare, or kid’s homework, or after school sports, or getting kids into college, or divorcing, or working on retirement plans, or dealing with health issues due to aging, etc. Besides not having the time, the different groups don’t really have much in common. I don’t know if the LW realizes that this totally lets him off the hook. His boss will most likely not have any interest in socializing with him.

          1. marni

            Or those busy people will be thrilled to be invited to an event they didn’t have to plan and can drop into without loading the kids into the car. I sure would!

            1. CMart

              Yes please! As a two-working-parent household with two young children I would be thrilled to be able to hop a fence and socialize with some adults. I don’t care if they’re 22 or 82, that sounds delightful.

      2. TootsNYC

        then the OP and their housemates will discover that when few of their neighbors show up.

        Who knows–maybe nobody’s ever done it before, and people will respond.

        Hosting people in your backyard is one of the ways you CREATE social capital–how else do you think people build that up?

    3. ClumsyCharisma

      (Just make sure they quiet down at a reasonable hour when you do have these events!)

      This is good advice even when your neighbor isn’t your boss.
      Signed tired working mom with two toddlers, one who already doesn’t sleep well.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood

      Instead of you “figure he wouldn’t want to come” pose it as the question.
      “We’re planning on a neighborhood BBQ as a thanks for welcoming us. Do you want the invite even though I work for you? Or would that get weird? Let me know what’s least awkward for you.”

    5. ... cats and dogs

      I disagree. If the OP and friends moved into a neighborhood of wealthy successful (older) people the OP is not likely to have these kinds of relationships envisioned. Invite your friends and not random work or no work people.

    6. JSPA

      Nah, same rules as any event where someone may feel awkward; invite broadly, let the recipient navigate the awkward. We do “non- personalized mini flyer under / tucked into every door” on our block.

  8. Sloan Kittering

    I suspect part of OP’s concern is the mental burden of coming home to a place that you want to see as a sanctuary and instead having the concern that this neighbor may be watching/directly impacted by what goes on in your home. I would feel the same way, but in my experience it’s within your own power to mitigate these thoughts, with some good mental health practices. Maybe you can redirect thoughts like “stern boss is across the street right now” (watching me / judging me / now I’m thinking about work again) to “stern boss isn’t worrying about me and I don’t need to worry about him outside of work.” Or a similar phrase that helps you. You may need to to create a Cone of Silence / Vegas type rule (‘what happens in Vegas…’) for yourself. Basically, try to compartmentalize and expect that he’s doing the same. Neighbor You isn’t Work You.

    1. Jessen

      I was wondering about this especially on mental health days off. I’d feel worried about going outside when I didn’t “look sick”. Especially since I’ve found a walk in the sunlight often helps calm my anxiety – but if someone from work might see I’d be very worried about doing that!

      1. Sloan Kittering

        I do agree this would give me a little pause but – isn’t the boss presumably going to be at work all day? Even if he’s not, what are the chances he’s really going to be looking during the exact five minute window that you’re going for a walk, realistically? And if he confronts you (which would be weird and boundary crossing of him) you can say something similar to, yes? I was home with a headache and needed some fresh air?

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        See this is the one thing where my migraines would come in handy… I’d find a way to mention at work that exercise & fresh air seems to help my migraines, but BOY it’s hard when everything is too bright. And I’d do my walk with dark sunglasse & a floppy hat.

      3. Jennifer

        +1
        I’d wonder about that too. Or if I went to the park for a walk or to read and clear my head and he noticed I wasn’t at home. “Sick” doesn’t necessarily mean in bed with a cold.

        1. Sloan Kittering

          But I mean, you always run the risk of running into a coworker if you’re taking a mental health day and you’re out and about shopping or whatever. I see the point of being extra fussed about it, but I don’t think it’s ever a good practice to spend the day frolicking in public or whatever.

          1. Jennifer

            I agree. I don’t do much frolicking for that reason but I may go to the park or something. Though, going to the store can be easily explained.

    2. Ama

      I live in NYC and at one point I lived about 20 minutes walk from my university admin job — and because it was a grad school, so did many of the students and postdocs I worked with. I was always a little nervous about the possibility of running into one of them, especially since by the end of that job I really needed my away from work time to be truly away from work, and several people I knew lived nearby were boundary pushers. However, I got pretty lucky and I never actually encountered anyone except maybe as we both crossed the main intersection to get to our office in the morning.

      But it definitely was always kind of in the back of my head in that neighborhood that I could run into a coworker at any moment, I think did impact my overall feeling about that job because I never truly felt “off.”

    3. Escapee from Corporate Management

      Two quick thoughts:
      1. You may learn that your boss at work is not the same person as your boss at home. I had a senior colleague who lived in my neighborhood. At work, they were tough as nails and questioned everything. At home? Very nice, loved to cook, great conversationalist. Great having them over for BBQ’s. Don’t immediately judge your boss based on work interactions.
      2. You may not be the only one concerned. Your boss may feel they can’t do certain things in front of YOU. Maybe they like jogging without a shirt and no longer can.

      Don’t let your thoughts become catastrophic. Give this a chance and remember that this may be as awkward for your boss as it is for you.

  9. Où est la bibliothèque?

    What if it’s the manager who turns out to be a horrendous neighbor? I’d be more worried about being unable to ask him to cut it out with the lawn darts or stop feeding the possums.

    1. Name Required

      What a really great point. Honestly, this is where I’d rely on other neighbors or the city ordinance enforcers (planning department or local police, dependent on area) to aid. Or I’d figure out ways to deal with it.

      I probably wouldn’t ask my boss to stop playing Metallica at 3am at full blast, even though ordinarily that’d be an incredibly warranted reaction.

  10. Oh So Anon

    I don’t want to make too many assumptions, but I’d guess that your boss isn’t in his twenties as you are?

    Someone at that life stage might not be terribly eager to be BFF-style neighbours with a bunch of twenty-somethings at a very different place in life. They would probably hope that you guys are good neighbours and aren’t apt to throw loud parties as recent grads are often wont to do. The other thing you want to be very mindful of is that this is an affluent neighbourhood with likely different norms than the places where recent grads tend to live. It’s your job to fit in, which will both affect your neighbourly and work relationships.

    I’m just over a decade out of undergrad; I live in a quiet neighbourhood because I don’t want to relive my just-out-of-university partying days and I would feel terribly awkward recieving a dinner or BBQ invitation from someone a decade younger who I probably have little in common with. Friendliness with neighbours isn’t something that ends after your college days, but it looks different afterwards, and it’s not as easy to come by when you’re in a neighbourhood where you’re socioeconomically different from most people.

    1. Jennifer

      That’s true but there are some neighborhoods where everyone is friendly with one another, regardless of age or status. Sounds like the OP hasn’t been there long enough to make that determination.

      1. Oh So Anon

        And because they haven’t been there long enough they should really err on the side of being as inconspicuous as possible. You can never go wrong by assuming that you’re not entirely welcome.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          Very, very much this. I understand the OP’s eagerness, but I think discovering the executive next door is actually a great reminder to keep your eyes and ears open before trying to be the neighborhood social center. There are so many reasons for this: one of your neighbors may already do this and you don’t want to invade that territory, the neighborhood might prefer quiet and wouldn’t take kindly to such events/invitations, there’s some existing bad blood between neighbors, etc.

          I am very biased here, but I lived in a peaceful, quiet neighborhood for two years before a house of very social 20-somethings moved in next door and it was a nightmare. They would have been made much more welcome if they had started off from a place of, “I hope this is ok and doesn’t bother anyone,” rather than, “This is what we’re doing.”

          1. Sarah

            Our neighbourhood has a group of late college/early career guys living in a house and they make an already-terrible parking situation SO. MUCH. WORSE. in part because rather than use their garage for cars, they’re using it for their beer pong tables so their guests spill over into our narrow streets and…well. I could clearly go on, but I definitely urge the LW to sit tight and watch and see how things are handled and what the neighbourhood pressure points are.

            There are things I miss about college, but bringing the “everybody is friends and parties together and hangs out all the time” attitude into a neighbourhood that leans more towards “wave when you see each other and otherwise stay away/only see each other at book club/etc” is probably not going to go over well.

            LW, I think there is definitely a general Vegas rule that applies here – at work, talk about work. At home, if you have a reason to talk about things happening in the neighbourhood – construction, safety issues, etc. – talk about home things. But for the most part, if you aim for “pleasant but distant” I think you’ll get it just right and minimize awkwardness.

            1. WellRed

              I was thinking about the cars on the street thing. That’s what gets many people up in arms in neighborhoods, from parking issues, to listening to people come and go (doors, etc) and then there’s the folks who simply don’t like people to park in front of their house. (I don’t know why this is).

          2. Oh So Anon

            This this this. Not reading the room here will damage OP professionally. Folks get wary of an early-career type who demonstrates too much eagerness, even if it’s not at work.

        2. Snark

          I will always assume, as everyone should, that they are welcome in their own neighborhoods, and in their own homes. You’re vastly off base throughout this thread.

          1. Dragoning

            I agree–“You can never go wrong by assuming that you’re not entirely welcome”? What a sad way to live life. And what an impossible way to make friends or be social.

            To be honest, I find people who are always awkward and unwillingly to actually express themselves to be far worse to deal with than people who can be a tad overly friendly.

          2. Rose

            Seriously. “And because they haven’t been there long enough they should really err on the side of being as inconspicuous as possible. You can never go wrong by assuming that you’re not entirely welcome.” Seriously what happened in your past OSAnon because dang.

        3. Shad

          Yes, you can. Assuming one is not entirely welcome is a great way to actually become not entirely welcome by appearing standoffish and uninterested in being welcomed.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale

            My take on it is more nuanced than that. In every neighborhood I’ve moved to, I’ve assumed that I am, in the beginning, a guest and it is up to me to adjust to the neighborhood’s norms, not the other way around. I am quiet at home, but if I move into a loud neighborhood, I can’t expect it to suddenly quiet down. If I want to invite all of my neighbors over, I can’t be upset if they don’t take me up on it, and in reverse, I can’t think that people who want to invite people over all the time are wrong.

      2. Name Required

        Agreed, Jennifer. People are autonomous adults and if they get an invitation to a party they don’t want to go to, they are welcome to decline. I know of several neighborhoods in my town with mixed ages (25-70+) where people regularly get together to have a bbq, watch each others’ kids, check in on the house during vacation, take people soup when they’re sick, etc.

        I’m personally a private person so I live in a neighborhood where that type of interaction isn’t the norm and if I received an invite to a bbq from a new neighbor, I can figure out for myself if I want to go.

        1. Jennifer

          I’ve always had friends of different ages. It’s almost sad to me that so many people think it’s unusual for twentysomethings and fortysomethings to go to the same neighborhood BBQ. People complain so much about loneliness and difficulty making friends but put so many imaginary roadblocks in their way. No wonder there’s a generational gap, lol. You don’t learn anything if you’re always with people exactly like you.

          1. Buzz

            Yeah, agreed. I moved into a new neighborhood last year and we are the youngest by a good 20 years. We have been to our neighbors BBQs and drinks evenings, they’ve come to ours, and we get on very well even though we’re of different generations. I’m very glad our neighbors decided to be welcoming and friendly despite the age gap.

            The LW’s situation definitely comes with added awkwardness though, and I absolutely understand his worries. I hope he can navigate all of this without any problems, and hopefully the boss will too.

            1. WellRed

              I agree with this (It’s sad all the people saying, don’t knock on my door) but I do think a house “crammed full of twentysomethings” is going to read a little differently then, “let’s invite the nice new young couple who moved in across the street.”

          2. Colette

            It’s not so much that I think you can’t be friends with people who are older or younger than you, but there are life stages that make that kind of thing more tricky. A family with young kids, people with mobility problems, and elderly people may have different needs for neighborhood events, and a group of twenty-somethings may not be prepared to host a diverse group.

            But even if they can host a BBQ for a diverse group, it doesn’t mean they should. They can be friendly, offer to help their neighbors with snow-clearing or leaf-raking, etc. without being the social directors of the neighborhood. If the BBQ is important, they can try – once. If it’s a success, great! If not, stop there.

            1. Jennifer

              Sorry, I don’t understand that at all. I socialized with my grandma and her pals and families with young kids when I was in my twenties. It’s not that complicated. There are likely to be other people there who are retirees or parents with young kids. And if people don’t want to go, they can just decline. It’s an invite not an arrest warrant.

            2. MayLou

              There are twenty-somethings with young kids and/or mobility problems. I’m thinking about the cooperative houses that I have known – one faith-based, one social justice-based, both home to six people in their twenties or early thirties. They variously had residents with children, disabilities, dietary needs, long-term health problems, different levels of sociability… being in your twenties doesn’t mean you can’t be aware of the variety of human experience and try to make your home and social events inclusive.

          3. doreen

            There’s a difference though, between a neighborhood block party/BBQ that’s an unhosted but organized event ( every household chips in $X to get the street-closing or park permit, DJ , bouncy house, ice cream truck, etc ) and one household inviting other neighbors to a hosted BBQ in their yard/party in their home. I think the OP is talking about the latter and that’s where the fortysomethings tend not to mix so much with the twentysomethings.

            1. Jennifer

              We don’t know if it’s a huge neighborhood block party or a BBQ with a few selected guests. I guess I’m a weird 40-year-old because I enjoy spending time with people younger and older than I am.

              1. CMart

                I must be a weirdo as well. When I lived in a 6-unit apartment building as an early-20-something, any time I had a couple friends over and we decided to cook out on the grill (on my ground floor, un-fenced patio) I’d go knock on all my neighbor’s doors to let them know that we were having hotdogs/burgers in a couple hours and they were welcome to drop by and have one/say hello.

                The residents ranged from myself (a 23 year old bartender), a 70 year old telecom retiree, and some single parents with kids ages 2 – 18. We all got along and I really liked socializing with them!

              2. doreen

                No, you’re not weird, I socialize with people older and younger than I am ,too. And obviously so do a lot of other people I know – it’s just that it tends not to be at parties based living near each other. Depending on the stage of live , it may be based on all sorts of other things- when my kids were young, I often socialized with the parents of their friends (who ranged in age from 10 years older than me to 10 years younger ). I’ve socialized with people in my bowling league who ranged from 20-75. I spend time with the neighbors of various ages- but it’s not at parties, it’s hanging out on the front stoop. But none of those were parties where I’d have to try to find music that was acceptable to all ages.

        2. SteamedBuns

          Yep. I don’t see anything wrong with OP hosting neighbors for BBQs. The neighbors can make that call whether or not they want to come.

          I am a single late-20s woman. I live in a neighborhood filled with retirees and family’s with school-age children. I see the kids all playing together. Some of the parents and retirees seem to know each other.

          They aren’t my “crowd”. I chose the neighborhood because it’s safe and close to my work. I host my friends for BBQs and fires, not my neighbors. I would not think it was weird if a neighbor invited me to his/her place, but I know I would respectfully decline and that would be the end of it.

      3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom

        Came here to second that. I don’t know where the notion came from that people in the upper income brackets or people in their 30s(?!?) and older don’t want to do anything social with their neighbors. It really varies a lot from one neighborhood to another. Before I moved to where I live now, my family and I lived on an upper-middle-class street in our area (the only time our street made the news, the local news outlets referred to it as “the upscale neighborhood”, which I found funny, but oh well). Apparently there were street parties or block parties. I’m saying apparently, because my family never made the list. I did however hear about them from a neighbor two doors down, who hosted the parties. Most of us had dogs and had a friendly relationship with each other through that channel. Even the people who did not have dogs to walk, had a habit of going outside for a stroll in the evening, so people would walk and chat with one another. Went to a party in a different neighborhood this year (white-collar professionals/academia/40s and older), and half the people at the party told me that they’d lived in the same neighborhood, and had met the hosts at the neighborhood block parties. Honestly the only street I’ve ever lived where no one knew each other and everyone kept to themselves is the one I’m on now, and it’s a lower-middle-class street with people of all age groups and a high turnover (coming up on 9 years, I’m now one of the people who’ve lived on the street the longest). I really REALLY would not assume that OP’s street will be like mine is now.

    2. Jillian

      Firmly agree. I’m in my (very) late 20s and a pretty social person, but still wouldn’t be keen to go to a barbeque or whatever with a troupe of 22 year olds that I don’t know! I like my neighbours and we all wave at each other from our yards and exchange remarks about the weather or whatever as our dogs pause to greet each other on walks, but that’s about it and it’s great.

      1. Jennifer

        Then you could just politely decline the invite. I don’t get why sending the invitation at all is such a faux pas. I do get why the OP would not want to invite their boss for a lot of reasons.

      2. Rainy days

        I’m in my early thirties and very occasionally get invited to potlucks thrown by college students I know. I think it’s very sweet that they invite me, honestly, although I don’t expect it. I might stop by for an hour or so but I don’t usually want to stay longer. There’s no harm in extending an invitation–I feel more than able to make up a polite excuse if I don’t want to go.

        1. wittyrepartee

          And like… GO EARLY. Go while the drinking hasn’t hit the bacchanalia levels of post-11PM.

      3. TootsNYC

        then politely decline the invite.
        Hopefully they’ll get the hint.

        But remember this: If they’ve invited the whole block, then it’s NOT just a gathering of late-20s people. It’s all the other people on the block as well.

        (Plus a chance to see what those 20-something people are like, and see if any of them are potential baby sitters, dog walkers, sidewalk shoveling colleagues)

      4. Risha

        I mean, that’s just you, though? I’m 42 and if I was invited over to my new next door neighbor’s barbeque for a day and time I’m free, I’d go, even if said neighbor was a group of 22 year olds. If it turns out I’m not having fun, I’ll make my excuses and leave.

        Next door to or in front of your home is possibly the easiest party going or leaving situation you will ever encounter. Sometimes you don’t mesh with people who happen to be in different life stages than you, but sometimes it turns out you do. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

        1. Risha

          And I’m not saying that YOU have to go if you don’t want to. I’m saying it’s not at all weird that other people in your situation might want to. Enthusiastically, possibly.

  11. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

    OP I sure hope the “crammed it full of other young twenty-somethings” are as good, contentious neighbors as you sound because fair or not, you’re all going to be judged en masse. Being next to a house that has lots of parties especially during the week is my idea of hell. You didn’t say anything about the current vibe of the neighborhood and whether the neighbors will want to be the getting-to-know-you type and going to dinners and BBQs. People have wildly different ideas of what a neighborly relationship is.

    But…there’s no inherent issue with having the head of the department next door.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      Zinged by autocorrect I think: “good, contentious neighbors”
      I suspect you actually typed “conscientious”, yes?

    2. Sharrbe

      Exaclty. My idea of good neighbors are those who are quiet, smile and wave when they see each other, help when some communal task needs to be done (like snow removal), but then they all go back into their own separate worlds. I don’t, under and circumstances, want to go to neighborhood barbecues every weekend. It’s nice of him to offer to do that, but its just not the culture of post-aged 25 life in general.

      1. Hope

        Amen! I love my nice, quiet neighbors who wave back. The most interaction we have is a cookie exchange with our next-door neighbors during the holidays, and the occasional “hey, we’re going on vacation for a week, we have a pet sitter coming, but do you mind keeping an eye out for anything weird?” request. It’s great.

  12. Czhorat

    Relationships with neighbors are usually casual at best, and there are several neighbors with whom I have very little contact.

    The exception is for those on our block with young children around the same ages; that’s become a natural sort of community, but this is an exception. If a neighbor happens to see me out for a walk/riding my unicycle/mowing the lawn then it’s really a quick interaction which results in nothing more than a wave and a nod. The lifetime number of conflicts I’ve had with neighbors could be counted on one hand.

    OP sounds very nice and open, but I think they’re overthinking this.

    1. Sarah

      Neighbours with kids the same age and neighbours with dogs are pretty much the only groups I see that go out of their way to talk to each other in our neighbourhood. I adore our next door neighbour and I still interact with him for maybe 5 minutes/month.

      1. Autumnheart

        I’m on a waving basis with all my neighbors. That being said, though, I live in a townhome complex, and many of my neighbors do a charmingly low-key thing in nice weather: they’ll put chairs and games on their driveway, and people will wander from driveway to driveway and socialize. Why the driveway? Because the townhomes were built to have lovely front porches that basically nobody ever uses because they face opposite from the road, and meanwhile everyone uses their garage as the main entrance.

        I haven’t been part of the driveway party, but I think this summer I might invest in a comfortable lawn chair and join in.

  13. Colorado

    Oh boy! I would alert your housemates too. Fair or not, their behavior will be a reflection of you. You sound like a conscientious person though in your concern and the way you have reached out for advice. I guess smoking pot on the back deck is out ;-) (I’m kidding but me being me, that’s the first thought that crossed my mind)

    1. Drax

      Yeah that’s what I was thinking.
      It’s all fine and dandy if it’s not you not passed out naked on the front lawn clutching a stolen pylon, but as a boss I’d have a hard time not associating the roommate passed out indecently’s behavior with my report.

        1. Jillian

          With Drax’s example, how would you not? “The things that must go on in that house…”

          1. Drax

            Exactly that. It’s about the company you keep. A couple loud parties? Not a problem.
            Drinking with such recklessness that you end up in that situation on the lawn? Questionable.

            But it’s more of a “I question this persons judgement a little bit, let’s keep an eye on them” not “this person is a drunken maniac” type judgement.

            1. Snark

              Having lived with a variety of roommates, I just don’t see it. You have no idea if this is their best friend or someone looking for a roomie on Craigslist. I’ve never lived with someone I was close friends with at all, and their behavior wouldn’t have reflected on be because they were basically neighbors who shared an address, not “company I kept” in any meaningful way.

              1. Drax

                Having lived with roommates where the naked pylon thing is a true story, I see it differently. It’s a whole other level of drunken party that gets to that point. Not the typical get drunk house party we all know and love.

                I wouldn’t hold it against them like it was them, but it would make me keep a little closer eye on their judgment calls.

            2. Drax

              I also will add that anything that’s not obviously displayed I would purposefully try not to get more information.

              Someone’s smoking pot outside? Don’t want to know, I am not going to even try and deduce which house it’s coming from.
              Smoking pot on the front porch? Come on dude, you know I live right next door.

          1. Snark

            I mean, yeah, if someone was passed out regularly in the yard, I’d raise an eyebrow, but….honestly, maybe I’m an outlier, but my thought would be “man, must be rough to live with an off the chain alcoholic,” not anything that reflects on the report.

            1. Oh So Anon

              But for someone just out of college, there’s a lot of likely holy-crap-poor-judgement moments that are likely to happen that you’d more likely chalk up to being young rather than having a substance abuse problem.

              Like, if I see my 23-year-old neighbour doing a kegstand on their front lawn in broad daylight, it has a totally different connotation than if it’s my 43-year-old neighbour doing the same.

              1. Snark

                Not sure how that changes anything! Unless that 23 year old were my report, I’d go, yeah, someone needs to tell that guy his frat days are over, and carry on.

            2. The Man, Becky Lynch

              See, I’m like that. I either laugh about it because it’s a “Man…I remember that one time” moment or I assume that it’s just “one of those nights!”

              Sadly we are the outliers though, human nature is very judgemental. I don’t care. I grew up in a trailer park, where parents wouldn’t let their kids visit with us because “TRAILER PARK KID OMG!”

              My best friend moved to a nicer area and she’s shocked and upset that now her kids friends are suddenly allowed to come over. Yeah. Judgemental.

              1. SteamedBuns

                I think it depends on the neighborhood. In the college town I lived in when I was 24-28, where I was surrounded by 18-24 year olds… Yeah, I’d laugh and be all nostalgic about my wild college years. In the neighborhood I am in now that is very family-based, even though I am single and child-free…I’d imagine parents wouldn’t like their kids playing outside around neighbors who are playing beer pong in the front yard, blasting expletive music, or who have the even-just-occasional passed out booze hound in the yard…littered with cans, glass, who knows what else.

                I kind of wish my neighborhood had an HOA…I’m kind of judgy, haha. I wish I could tell my neighbors that their lawn ornaments are tacky…their lawns unkempt…their roofs an eyesore…their tree is dead and poses a hazard…and that there is no excuse for leaving trash cans out for more than 48 hours after trash pick up…especially when I clearly know you are home. I don’t say any of these things, of course, but man…I get a twisted pleasure when my dog pees on the trash cans that have been laying at the end of my neighbor’s driveway for 4 days….

            3. Jennifer Juniper

              If I saw someone passed out in the yard, I’d dial 911 just in case they were dead/dying.

              1. poodleoodle

                I did this once. Someone was passed out in my neighbor’s yard and she was totally unresponsive…I saw her when I was out walking my dogs. It was 9 or 10pm at night or so and she was dressed in shorts and one of those really cut out tank tops so I think she was probably out for a run. I was worried she was diabetic or something…anyway my husband called 911 and they came really quickly fortunately, IDK what became of the situation but yeah. I’d assume it was a medical emergency.

            4. Rusty Shackelford

              You know, this might be a regional thing, or a cultural thing, or… well, I don’t know what to call it. But I think there are areas where people are more likely to have roommates who are their friends, and areas where people are more likely to have roommates who are strangers. I really know very few people (I honestly can’t think of ANY off the top of my head) who have roommates who didn’t start out as friends, except people who were placed together in college dorms. So when your roommate does a stupid thing, to me, it’s your FRIEND doing a stupid thing. Someone you chose to have in your life and your home. But if your personal experience is that you and all your buddies and coworkers advertised for roommates on Craigslist, then yeah, you’re not going to judge them based on what their roommates do, any more than you’d judge them based on what their coworkers do. Interesting difference there.

          2. Delphine

            There’s a difference between “the company we keep” and “the roommates we have to live with to be able to afford housing.” Most of us would hope we end up with friends, but sometimes it’s just a person who shares your living area. But this seems like useless speculation. We know nothing about the OP’s roomies one way or another.

          3. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

            There’s that, but also I bet the neighbors aren’t actually going to keep track of each individual person in a house crammed with people, getting to know them each by name, and able to identify them by all their many habits, and they certainly aren’t going to keep track of whether they’re craigslist roommates who barely know each other or best friends since birth. It’ll just be “the people at that house.”

            1. Anon4This

              Exactly this. I don’t care if it’s only 1 out of a dozen guys who acts like a jerk, it’s still going to be ‘that problem house and those horrible neighbors’.

        1. WellRed

          Or in the garage where it wafts into the neighbor’s window. Which I am already dreading when summer rolls around.

        1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

          pylon — I’m assuming like an orange traffic cone — much less interesting than clutching a python.

          1. Media Monkey

            pylons in the UK are those huge metal structures that hold up electrical wires where they are no buildings. I was wondering what kind of party that was!

    2. Name Required

      Great point! Definitely loop in the roommates, especially if they are of a similarly social type and wonder why Boss isn’t joining in on festivities.

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Also in a state where it’s legalized, the stories of running into bosses and coworkers at dispensaries are delightful. You don’t even need to be neighbors =X

      1. Snark

        From Colorado. Can’t partake even if I were inclined to due to my job, but can confirm – these stories are legion.

    4. Sloan Kittering

      For the record, I disagree with this. This is exactly what OP is worried about – that things outside of work which should have no bearing on work are suddenly going to be an issue, including things that his roommates do. But grumpy boss should know better than to start judging OP for things that are outside his control, and it’s not really on OP to make sure his whole house is perfect forever IMO.

  14. American Ninja Worrier

    OP is right that this could go wrong in a number of ways. But it probably won’t. Most reasonable bosses would just smile and wave when they see you (which, yes, is probably less likely than OP thinks) and leave it at that.

    1. RandomU...

      By now the OP has probably commissioned a fence that rival the one our border security wants, is instituting house rules that the local monastery would find restrictive, and drawing up plans for a tunnel so they can escape the house without being seen :)

      I agree with you, the catastrophizing in these comments are largely overblown. I predict a couple of stilted waves, at least 1 person at work finding out and making fun of the situation, and an otherwise uneventful neighborly relationship.

  15. Raena

    I clicked on this so fast! My boss and the owner of my company is my neighbor. We’ve been neighbors for 3 years now and manage to keep boundaries and stay friendly. What Allison said is completely accurate. Unless I’m outside doing yard work or need to speak to him as a neighbor (we water each others plants when out of town, his daughter watches my dog) we don’t bump into each other that frequently. He has been really good at picking up my subtle clues that anything more personal I would prefer to keep private!

  16. Snark

    This strikes me as one of those glorious situations where opportunities to screw things up are many and varied, but success is largely a matter of doing very little, well.

  17. Anon for this one

    Forgive me if I’m jumping to the wrong conclusion, but it almost sounds like you’re planning to continue to live a college-style existence in an established residential neighborhood. Can I just say… please don’t? Jogging (shirtless or not) is nothing. Having people over for a quiet evening is fine. But are these “events” of yours more like parties, in terms of the noise they create and the number of people they attract? Do you all drive, and do you have noisy vehicles, or are there so many 20-somethings crammed into this house that there isn’t enough room for everyone to park, or all of your trash won’t fit in the bins? Is your lawn going to go unmowed for a week on a regular basis? Are you or your roommates going to come home at 2 am and slam car doors or have loud conversations outside because the weather is so nice? If so, things are likely to get really, really awkward.

    (I live in a college town in a low COL area. People who live in higher COL areas often buy a house for their kid(s) to live in while they’re in school rather than paying for a dorm. I live in a neighborhood full of families, mostly owner-occupied, but a few houses are owned by absentee landlord parents. The house two doors down from me was full of college boys with huge loud trucks that wouldn’t all fit in their driveway and habitually blocked trash pickup, girlfriends who thought nothing of honking at 1 am to announce their arrival, a lawn that went unmowed for so long that one owner/neighbor finally started mowing it for them, weekend parties that took up every parking spot on the street, etc. I was so glad to see them go.)

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      The slamming car doors at 2am! You get that too? And all the cars? I live near a university in a medium COL area, so I suppose I get what I pay for, but my worst neighbors at the moment are all out of college. Three women, or at least I think it’s three, because there are often six cars parked outside their house, plus they park directly across from my driveway in a way that makes it really tough for me and my neighbor to back our cars out (and we can’t back in with them there). The 2am door slamming has turned my dog into a nervous, barking wreck.

      I’m sure the OP doesn’t plan to do these things, but remember, if your boss lives next door, they’re more likely to impact your day than if your neighbor were a stranger.

      1. Happy Lurker

        I run fans. Vornado is a decent one, to keep the white noise going and the dogs quiet. Good luck.

    2. Etak

      you sound like you’re assigning every bad behavior you’ve ever seen a 20something do to OP. From their letter (and their concern about their relationship with the boss), they sound conscientious. They even asked about weekly lawn mowing not “what happens if the kappa boys start throwing kegs off the roof????”.

      1. EtherIther

        Agreed. I feel like people are assuming a lot about OP based on his age and the fact that he has friends. Are we really judging people for introducing themselves to their neighbors now?

        1. Jen

          I think the judging is based on age and number of people living in the house. Most people wouldn’t want to live next to a house crammed full of people, regardless of age.

          1. EtherIther

            I don’t think that is true. If it was a couple with 3 kids, there wouldn’t be nearly this reaction.

            1. Jen

              I don’t think anyone would call that house “crammed” full of people though. Maybe if they had 7 kids.

            2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House

              I think you’re wrong. Many people will wince if their new neighbors are a couple and multiple kids, 10 older people, or just out of college people. OP doesn’t mention the number of people but states crammed. If over four, I know any number of people who get worried (depending on the house size). The house next door to ours was rented for a while with several different families(at different times) but all were couples with younger kids (multiple). We winced each time because each family was loud, had cars slamming doors after 12 midnight, and thought nothing of screaming in the yard at midnight as well.

      2. Name Required

        “what happens if the kappa boys start throwing kegs off the roof????”

        Oh man, this was way funnier than it needed to be. I guess boss better move out of the way of those errant kegs.

      3. Rose

        Yeah, there’s a whoooole lotta judgement going on in this reply thread that is unnecessary.

    3. Rainy days

      I agree with you in general, but I have to say that unneighborly behavior knows no age limit! I am in my 30s and I had to have a talk with my 60-year old neighbor because he was playing loud music at 11pm regularly and every 3-4 months throwing absolute blowout parties in his townhouse which shares a wall with mine, with throbbing bass until after midnight. He was not very pleasant about recieving this feedback, either.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        And then there was my 60yo neighbor’s 80 year old mother who ASKED her friend to beep the car horn when it was time for her to be picked up. She was virtually deaf — that car horn beeped a lot. And the friend got nasty when I came out and said I had a newborn who finally got to sleep.
        Sigh.

        1. Jennifer Juniper

          The woman could have a nice, loud doorbell installed and have her friend ring that instead! Sheesh!

          1. Autumnheart

            We’re in the future now! Have the smart camera vibrate your phone when someone pulls in!

          2. Jennifer Juniper

            The old lady may not have a smart phone. I’ve never had one because I don’t like the idea of paying $$$ for something that breaks if you look at it cross-eyed.

      2. Mimi Me

        Agreed! At the last apartment I had my landlord and her boyfriend lived in a room in the attic, above us. Her boyfriend, in his 50’s, would linger in the common areas (stairwell, laundry room, driveway, etc) and make comments about things that my husband and I had discussed behind closed doors. We were pretty sure he was standing at the front door, listening through the paper thin walls. The apartment we had before that had a group of women, in their 40’s who, every day during the summer, sit out at the pool with their kids and get drunk as the day goes on. By 3PM the lifeguard would have to forcibly eject them from the pool area. As the apartments were all privately owned condos there was little those of us who rented could do.

      3. Autumnheart

        I found a hilarious item in the local police blotter about two neighbors having a snowblowing war. Let me paste it:

        “Two neighbors in the 15000 block of Glenbrook Avenue N. have vowed never speak to each other again after one of them, “Brandon,” reported his neighbor, “Thomas,” at 5:47 a.m. Feb. 12 for blowing snow at that hour despite “calling the cops on him” whenever Brandon blows snow. When deputies advised the complainant they would not be citing the neighbor or even speaking to him, the complainant hung up on them. At 6:02 a.m. the other neighbor, Thomas, reported Brandon for videotaping him and calling him over to fight. Thomas told deputies he was scared and wanted to press assault charges. Brandon told deputies that after he got off the phone with them, he also went outside to blow snow, only to find Thomas shining his flashlight at him from across the cul-de-sac and yelling at him to come fight him. Brandon admitted taking the video, if only to show Thomas violated the ordinance and threatened him. Both parties claimed assault by the other party and that they had videos to prove it. Deputies told them they were just trying to get the other party in trouble and gave them their business cards for when they get their damning videos downloaded.”

        Ah, suburbia.

    4. Delphine

      OP very clearly says “not a party house.” And you seem to be projecting every bad behavior you can imagine on a person you…don’t even know.

      1. Anon for this one

        One, I was talking about possibilities, not making predictions (please note that I said “are you,” not “you are.”) Two, the OP said the house is “crammed full of 20-somethings.” Some of these issues are going to crop up when a house has more adults than it was planned to hold, no matter how quiet and polite those adults are.

    5. Jennifer Juniper

      Who the heck would even notice if a lawn goes unmowed for only a week? Mowing the lawn once a week seems perfectly normal to me.

      1. Lily

        Honestly? my parents’ lawn goes unmowed for months. The neighbours somehow just deal with it.

      2. poodleoodle

        In the summer I was able to wait 2 weeks often if it didn’t rain very much. Even three a couple times but that was cutting it close. The grass was almost dead…we had super hot summers with not much rain at times.
        In the spring/fall though when it rained a lot weekly was pretty much required.

    6. wittyrepartee

      As a grad student I lived below some pretty awful people in their early 20s. TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE. They sometimes threw trash out of their windows because they were too lazy to bring it all the way down. They yelled at the non-english speaking super (who was the father of the landlord) when he asked them to move their car once.

      Admittedly, I also lived below some kindly pot smokers in their early 20s. They got loud sometimes, and threw a dart over the staircase in front of me once- but if you could stand the constant hotboxing they were okay folks.

    1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

      To me that’s actually one of the neighborly things that would be a benefit in this situation — unless it’s the junior person feeling like they can’t say no to the senior person’s request, but secretly hating having a carpool buddy.

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        I would not carpool in this situation for a bunch of reasons, but especially because the OP says he wants to have space away from him when work is over.

        1. irene adler

          Agreed.
          Had a co-worker who carpooled with someone he ended up having to lay off.

          So awkward!

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Cackling.

      A friend got hit by the snowpocolyspe awhile ago and where everyone was all “Snow day! Called in!” her facebook responses were “Cool…my boss picks me up, so yeah, I’m not missing any work.”

      1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

        If the other workers couldn’t get to work how would the boss be different though? Does the boss have super powers? Did the coworkers fake that they couldn’t get to work? It doesn’t quite follow that the boss driving = never missing any work.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch

          It just limits your ‘excuse’ bucket for missing work. Oh your car is broken, boss can drive you or pick you up. Oh the bus isn’t running because of snow/ice issues, boss will pick you up because he has a vehicle that is equip for the conditions.

          Sure, you still miss work if it’s because you’re ill or taking care of a sick kid, etc.

          No it’s not a healthy or advisable setup but it’s a thing.

          1. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

            I guess this is why I never give many details when I’m using PTO. It’s just “I won’t be in today. I plan on being in tomorrow but I’ll call before 5 pm if that doesn’t look possible.” No need for an excuse bucket.

        2. doreen

          My guess it’s because people take snow days for reasons other than a complete inability to drive – for example, maybe they don’t want to /can’t dig their car out but the streets are driveable once you unbury the car from being plowed in. Can’t use that excuse if the boss is picking you up.

  18. JustAClarifier

    Oh no, OP. That is very awkward. Just remember you have a work/life separation, and Boss is probably also going to look forward to avoiding you, as well, as Alison has tactfully pointed out. With that said, I know how awkward this can be; I used to live just down the road from my ex-boss’s parents, whom he visited what seemed like every day and would comment, “Saw you were at home this weekend!” Just keep yourself professional at work and when you interact with Boss; if he ever brings up why he isn’t invited to an apparently-neighborhood-based soiree, you can always use some of Alison’s prior dialogues about ensuring no untoward personal connections or relationships with those in the workforce in order to maintain your professional integrity, etc. Good luck!

    1. nonegiven

      >“Saw you were at home this weekend!”

      He didn’t actually know that if he didn’t see you. It could have been only your car.

      I’ve had people knock on the door looking for DH because his work truck was in the driveway. He was sometimes with someone else or gone in his personal truck.

      I also don’t answer the door, any more, when I’m not expecting someone.

  19. ClumsyCharisma

    One of my direct reports bought the house across the street from me. I rarely saw him. Maybe if we both went to get the mail at the same time or when we were both out walking our dogs.
    It wasn’t awkward and we were able to commiserate about our terrible neighbors at work.
    I’ve since moved but it definitely wasn’t anything that affected our work lives.

  20. Koala dreams

    1. If you are awkward like me, prepare some small talk topics that have nothing to do with work, so you are prepard for those rare occurances when you end up waiting for a bus together or doing yard work next to eachother.
    2. I’ll surprised at the people commenting that middle-aged people don’t do neighborhood parties. In my experience, middle-aged people are more likely to organize and attend a neighborhood party compared to other age groups. I suggest you check with a couple of other neighbors what the culture is in your neighborhood.

    1. TootsNYC

      If you want to host a party for the neighborhood, do it no matter what the culture is in your neighborhood. Maybe you can influence the culture in your neighborhood!
      Worst-case scenario? Nobody comes, and you live off of the hot dogs, hamburgers, and buns from the freezer. (Mayo doesn’t freeze well, so the potato salad might need to get eaten up.)

      And middle-aged people know that neighborhood gatherings are the places where you:
      -find out which house has a teenager (or early-20s) who can babysit or cat sit
      -learn who has a dog and might be willing to provide dog care
      -hear news about civic and community matters (library, law enforcement, school…)
      -recruit partners to shovel the sidewalks of the elderly folks on the street
      -get tips about lawn care or plumbers

      I could totally imagine this crew of enthusiastic, home-minded 20-somethings creating a neighborhood tradition in the spring

      1. TootsNYC

        (actually, now that you live there, you are part of the culture of your neighborhood–it’s perfectly proper for you to try to influence it)

      2. Mrs. Fenris

        I live next to a house full of 20 somethings. I’m in my early 50s with a family, and the rest of the neighbors are similar. (I was a little concerned when this bunch moved in, but they have been absolutely fine. No noise, minimal parking issues, they’re nice people.) I’d be delighted if they had everybody over for a BBQ.

  21. AnotherSarah

    I work as a professor, and live next door to students. They all know I’m a prof, and probably feel a bit awkward about it, but honestly, I hardly think about it. I’m much more worried about my OTHER neighbors, because I have a barking dog and don’t like to mow much, and the OTHER neighbors are kind of jerks/heads of the neighborhood association. As LaDeeDa said above, your boss might feel as I do, that is, also anxious about his place in the neighborhood/his weird habits.

    But I do want to really emphasize that first part–I hardly think about my student neighbors, rarely get annoyed with them, and then only for stuff I’d get annoyed with anyone over, and mostly just want to forget work/school when I get home. And my guess is that if they were concerned about living near me, they have probably gotten past it. I would put the level of awkwardness at around the same as with any neighbor–they might get annoyed with you, but probably not often and not to a huge extent, and when they’re home, they’re within their own four walls and not thinking too much about the neighborhood.

  22. Third username

    If it makes you feel any better, I work at a company of about 150-200 people, and I didn’t realize my next door neighbor worked for the same company until I’d been working there 9 months. He’s not in my department, but the crossover is non-existent. I know it’s different with a manger, but I think you’ll see him less than you realize.

  23. Be nice

    When I saw “crammed with 20-somethings” it sounds like my frequent experience with the next door rental house. I live in a nice suburb area and my other neighbors and I have had horrible experiences over the years. Here are examples that you want to avoid living next to your boss: Do not have your roommates pound on their exterior windows and yell in the middle of the night when someone is passed out in their locked bathroom, waking up the neighborhood. Do not park all of your vehicles on the street, taking up all the neighbors’ spots; use your garage and/or driveway. Do not sublet your space to someone who abandons old vehicles or trailers in the neighborhood. Do not let your guests park in or block neighbors’ driveways. Do not get a dog and then leave it outside alone all day and night. Do not let your guests pick fights with neighbors when they are drunk. Do not throw trash over the fence. If the neighborhood is a relatively quiet one with young families, then host a loud party at a different location.
    But by having everyone polite and conscientious, it should work out okay.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      DO offer to share the jam or wine you make out of the fruit that grows in your yard — especially if any fall in HIS yard. :)
      And since you’re co-workers you may hear he’s being sent on a business trip — in that case I’d ask if he wants me to keep an eye on the house if he’s going out of town. Likewise, if he has critters (and you like critters), I’d probably offer to be an emergency backup for petsitters — because even petsitters have emergencies, and you’d be a known quantity instead of THEIR random friend.

      1. Camellia

        NO NO NO! Please do not do this. Doing errands, even kindly meant ones, is not good for work relationships. This site is filled with these situations where dire things happened and it just DID NOT WORK OUT.

        1. Autumnheart

          Agreed! Do not volunteer for opportunities to enmesh yourself in your manager’s personal life! Egad.

  24. Willis

    My only thought on this is that noise level at an event you’re hosting can be difficult to judge objectively, especially in the moment. And I say that as someone who has been both the noisy neighbor and the one hearing someone else’s noise. Even if you’re not throwing a college-noise-level party, I’d just try to be extra conscientious that the event isn’t overly loud, particularly if you’re outside and/or it’s later at night. (And sure, you should try to do that out of courtesy for any neighbor, but I’d probably be particularly cautious in this case, especially in the beginning.)

    1. Anon4This

      Agreed. Personally, even ‘a few people over for a BBQ’ is going to get on my nerves because voices carry especially if they are outside. I will mostly keep my mouth shut because I realize people have a right to enjoy their home as they see fit, but if there is noise 1 minute after the ordnance kicks in, or someone is being loudly drunk at any point, I will complain.

    2. Humble Schoolmarm

      I would suggest taking a minute to step outside during a gathering and see how much can be heard outside, especially close to your boss’ house.

  25. Enough

    Husband and I worked at the same company when we got married. One of the partners lived on the cross street and an associate lived down the street. 3 other coworkers lived in another area with 2 of them living in the same row of townhouses. Was never an issue. Small firm and all worked together depending on the project.

  26. boredatwork

    OP –

    If you are worried enough about this situation to write into an advice column, I would do my best to be the least intrusive neighbor as possible. If you want to keep your home life and work life truly separate you need to make sure you’re not bringing drama to work with you.

    Go watch the movie Neighbors – Don’t be those people. You don’t want to create awkward pressure by having a bunch of drunken 20 somethings partying, swearing loudly, or making the road unsafe for the neighborhood children.

  27. Rainy days

    Oh, and in Previous House we had a neighbor also in his 60s who would put his dog outside, get drunk and pass out for the night. The dog would go crazy barking to be let back in, sometimes for hours. It was shrill and extremely hard to block out even with every window and door closed plus earplugs.

    So yeah, neighbors of all ages can be really unpleasant. I have had 20-something neighbors and have experienced some really negative behaviors there with drunken partying, but any neighbor can be a problem.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch

      Totally agree! Our worst neighbor ever was some middle aged woman who felt she owned the street in front of her house. She left hilarious notes on windshields and would come screeching at you if she saw you walk passed on the sidewalk. The cops hated her and stopped responding to her because of her trying to claim ownership to public space was just too much.

      The people like that woman are yet another reason I just want to be left alone and not knowing my neighbors is so fantastic.

      1. Snark

        There was someone like that in my old neighborhood – thought he owned the sidewalk. I stopped once to chat with a friend, and he came steaming out, hollering profanity. Weird.

        1. The Man, Becky Lynch

          It’s somewhat uncommon, I’ve heard a lot of stories about the people within neighborhoods who act like that.

          It reminds me of an intro to a Lt Joe Homicide Hunter episode…he was on the beat and they were called to a lady’s house who thought someone was parked in her driveway, she measured, it was two inches in her driveway!

          It’s actually one reason why I’ll never own a house, I dont’ want to ever be married to the neighborhood or worse the neighbors in that way. If there’s an aggressive person around who’s causing me stress just trying to get to my mailbox, byeeeeeeeeee.

    2. Jennifer Juniper

      The poor dog! I hope someone called animal control and they taught the neighbor how to treat his pooch right.

      1. Rainy days

        He was the husband of a deceased local celebrity so I don’t think anyone felt comfortable calling it in. People did leave messages politely saying “Please take your dog inside” but it didn’t have a permanent effect.

        1. Jennifer Juniper

          I’d still call animal control, celebrity or no. How would anyone know who called it in unless you tell someone?

  28. Daisy the Doodle

    My husband makes significantly more than I do (like 4x’s my salary). When we purchased our home we got a great deal on a fixer upper in a neighborhood that was way outside of our price range. It took us 12 weeks to get the house in livable condition and when we moved in our neighbor brought us a welcome plant and it was my Director and his wife. We have pool parties and BBQ’s we have invited the neighbors but they really don’t do those kind of parties, so we try to be respectful of the time and loudness. We have never had an issue with them even when our Golden doodle puppy slide through the iron fence and went in their house through the cat door and peed on their rug. The most interaction we have is he asks about Daisy (the dog) in the elevator at work, and my husband and him discuss mowing companies that neither of them will hire.

  29. Autumnheart

    This letter sounds like the movie “Neighbors” come to life.

    Nobody wants to party with Frat House 2.0 in their neighborhood. Full stop. Especially not if they have careers and kids and have to get up in the morning, especially not if their only downtime is Saturday night and the neighbors are having a party literally every other weekend.

    One of the things that people come to realize after your 20s are over is that a) sleep is a precious resource, b) downtime/alone time is rare, and c) even the weekends are full of things that have to get done, even if you’re not at work. So basically, if a houseful of 20-somethings wants their neighbors to appreciate them, do NOT interfere with their sleep, their downtime, or their ability to get things done. And also, don’t make the neighborhood look bad. Don’t be the house with the unmowed lawn, the trash cans that are still on the curb 3 days after pickup, litter, or people coming and going at all hours. You’re not at college and this isn’t a dorm. You can’t be making noise and partying at 1am.

    There’s a professional risk for LW specifically, because there’s no way the head of the department is NOT going to hold it against him if Frat House 2.0 is a disruptive influence. As adults, you can basically do whatever you like, as long as it can’t be heard or seen outside the house. That does mean that you’re gonna have to keep quiet hours that start earlier and end later than you’re inclined (let’s say 10pm to 8am). If you want to blow off steam late at night, go to the bar.

    1. Delphine

      This letter sounds like the movie “Neighbors” come to life.

      It…really doesn’t. The only thing we get from the letter is that OP moved to an affluent neighborhood, was able to afford it by living with roommates, that he’s friendly and neighborly, that he and his roomies enjoy hosting dinners and having people over, he likes running, and he has some off-days when it comes to mental health.

      You (and a number of other commenters) are assuming some egregious bad behavior based on nothing but the OP’s age and living situation. Which makes all the advice that follows sound condescending and paternalistic…and not very useful.

      1. CheeryO

        It’s not a reach to assume that a house “crammed full” of early 20s people is going to get raucous from time to time. Even if we’re only talking four or five people, that’s more adults than typically live in one house, so more cars, more people coming and going at all hours, etc. Probably nothing egregious, but it’s certainly a reason to be extra respectful and not come into the neighborhood guns-a-blazing with even low-key parties.

        1. Name Required

          It looks like a reach when the OP says, “While we are not a party house, we do host frequent events and love having other people over, even on weekdays. […] On top of all this, I genuinely love getting to know my neighbors and hosting dinners and BBQs. I desire a neighborly relationship with my neighbors, and am not sure if that is even appropriate in this situation.”

          This same comment section got their pitchforks ready just a few weeks ago when ageism came up in a separate argument regarding the OP who was called “young lady,” but turns around and acts like it’s perfectly okay to negatively stereotype young adults out of college as raucous party hounds just because (often by the necessity of the housing market and starting salaries) they have to live together. Do young single people typically have more parties than older people with more responsibilities? Of course. But OP has already stated that they want to be respectful and figure out what the right thing to do is by writing in. What else does OP need to do to be believed that this isn’t a frat house?

          How does this stereotyping change Alison’s advice?

      2. Autumnheart

        Note to all newly-graduated college guys everywhere: go live next door to Snark, who is convinced that you won’t be a lick of trouble.

        1. Snark

          Note to all posters on Askamanager inclined to write advice column fanfic as they grind their teeth in recalled resentment: yes, the commenting rules apply to everyone, even you and Autumnheart.

            1. Snark

              Of course I’m not the OP. And don’t project defensiveness onto me; if you’re getting a strong reaction from other posters, that’s the measure of how rude and aggressive you’re being.

              (spoiler: that is to say, very.)

            2. Autumnheart

              I’m seeing way more comments that agree with my point of view than agree with yours. I’ve also noticed you jumping on every single commenter who thinks it’s a reasonable assumption that LW’s house might be disruptive to the neighbors. At the very least, you aren’t entitled to police my comments, and you certainly don’t get to tell me how to read the room when you are not doing that yourself. Buzz off.

      3. Ask a Manager Post author

        I removed a bunch of personal sniping here. Y’all, move on.

        (And I agree with Delphine — there’s nothing in the letter to indicate that the OP is planning to run a party house. In fact, he says he’s not.)

    2. Snark

      Really a hell of a leap to go from “I enjoy having people over for dinners and BBQs” to “Frat House 2.0.” And an offensive and unkind one, too! We’re asked to take OPs at their word, so maybe cut the advice column fanfic; tot a damn thing OP said suggests they’re anything but basically reasonable early-career professionals living with others of similar lifestyle, or that they needed a nasty multiparagraph lecture on how to act.

    3. Oof

      Lotta people in these comments taking their frustrations with past/current bad neighbors out on OP.

        1. Dragoning

          And young people, generally–a lot of these comments seem along the lines of “Oh no, living next to sociable twenty-somethings is my worst nightmare! How dare you!”

          1. wittyrepartee

            I think it’s people like me who lived in college towns as adults in some capacity. It does scar you.

          2. Risha

            Some columns just seem to bring out the projection and stereotypes. The OP seems like a decent guy(?); I hope he isn’t taking it to heart.

    4. Affluent

      While OP doesn’t say Frat house it really depends on how many people are living there, if there are more than 5 than yea its a Frat house be ready for the HOA to come down on you. Everyone has different thoughts on affluent, so depending on how affluent the neighborhood is will depend on if the neighbors are going to BBQ with you or even be open to letting you BBQ (noise ordinances and parking the higher class you get the less tolerant the neighborhood is). When I think of affluent I think there is at least a maid and a cook, and I cant imagine those neighbors coming to a 20 something house party.

      1. Autumnheart

        I’d say that unless the neighborhood is particularly hoity-toity, most neighbors won’t care who you are *unless* you do something to stand out in a bad way. If all LW and the dudes are doing is going to work, coming home, watching the game with friends, and having the occasional backyard barbecue, and basically keeping the same hours that the neighbors keep, then I would be surprised if there was an issue (unless there’s a self-appointed neighborhood busybody). But few things earn the wrath of the neighborhood faster than trashing up the place and/or being noisy when everyone else is quiet. If LW makes a point to avoid those things, he should be fine.

  30. Jennifer Juniper

    If Boss ever knocks on the door, OP, have a roommate answer it. That will preserve distance and keep him out of your face.

  31. RandomU...

    I had something like this happen. Flipped from your situation. I realized after I bought my house that an employee of mine (I was his GrandBoss) lives a block and half from me. My employee didn’t have the greatest boundaries to begin with so this was bad on many levels. Oh, and my house is on the corner, no fence, and it’s the dog walking indy 500.

    While not exactly next door, there’s is very high probability of me being out side corralling the dog in my bathrobe for the world to see. I was nervous about this, but actually laid it out with the employee right off the bat.

    “So Wakeen… it appears we are going to be neighbors.”
    -Insert 10 min exclamation from Wakeen here-
    “Yeah, so umm… yeah. Look I’m a private person at home, and when I leave the office, I want to leave the office. I’m sure we’ll run into each other, but umm.. yeah, no stalking each other”

    You know it hasn’t been an issue at all. I see him walking his dog, he’s been walking past my house and met my dog, he comments on our Christmas and Halloween decorations, I complimented him on his fence painting. He dishes some of the neighborhood gossip… I do the same. But all in all no issues.

    If you are concerned, just bring it up with him. Ideally as a separate discussion.

    “Heya Bob, got a second. Yeah, so us living next door to each other, what are the odds? I wanted to get the awkward out in the open as we both can probably agree this isn’t the ideal situation. I hope that when we’re in the office we can keep the office hats on and in the neighborhood we can be friendly but give each other space. That being said my roommates and I are thinking about hosting a few get togethers/BBQ’s for the neighborhood. Of course you and your family will be invited, but I understand if you want to keep a little more distance. Just wanted to say that if any concerns come up surrounding this, I’d rather be up front about them so that nothing affects work or home”

    1. Snark

      “-Insert 10 min exclamation from Wakeen here-”

      This makes me imagine Donald Duck jumping around and jabbering.

      1. RandomU...

        You’re closer to the mark than you could possibly know.

        Wakeen’s a good guy with a big heart, but um yeah… excitable and no filter

    2. just a random teacher

      So…did your dogs decide to take this opportunity to become Inseparable Long-Lost Best Friends? Because I’ve had several dogs with a unique and highly-honed sense of awkward over the years, and that would totally have been the next thing that happened.

  32. GreenDoor

    My only advice is to keep the blinds closed on the bosses side of your house. Of all the awkwardness that could occur, nothing would be worse than my boss catching a glimpse of me changing my clothes, getting out of the shower or bent over with my rump up in the air while I’m picking something up off the floor. Or me seeing the same inside her house.

    I sympthize on the running shirtless thing. Yes, Alison is right that you can wear what you want….in theory. But I love working in the garden and prefer a super tight sleeveless top, which is comfy, but also shows all my sweat, my ample cleavage, my fat upper arms and my potbelly. Perfect for yardwork on a hot day…..not so perfect if the boss is outside drinking a lemonade.

  33. Jennifer Juniper

    Ugh to those people who think living next door to their boss is an opportunity to further their careers. If I were a manager and my direct report knocked on my door, I’d think “what does that kissass want?”

    1. Snark

      Even if they were like, “Hey, so this is weird, we ended up living next to each other…please let us know if we’re doing anything to get on your nerves, have a good one, kbai”? Really?

      1. Jennifer Juniper

        If it was anything beyond that, Snark, I would get suspicious. In my area, neighbors usually don’t know each other.

    2. The Man, Becky Lynch

      I mean if someone knowingly moved next to their boss to “advance” their career, I would be getting Single White Female vibes but in this case, it’s just a coincidence. I wouldn’t even register that they worked with me more than “why are you knocking on my door, are you selling vacuums on the side? I don’t want any knives!!!”

  34. Welp

    That is one crazy coincidence for OP. I agree with Alison’s advice and to keep home/work as two separate entities. OP can find other people in the neighborhood to get to know.

    Is anyone else wondering how many roommates OP has? OP would probably like a home situation like a WeLive (extension of WeWork) I’m so glad I live in an apartment building where I have no clue who my neighbors are. I never thought to knock on the door of the next place to introduce myself either…

  35. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister

    OP, you have my sympathies! Alison is right, this probably will end up being less of a problem than you initially anticipate. That said, you might find yourself being the sort of “house parent” to make sure your roommates are respectful of the neighbors, don’t have wild parties outside after 10pm, don’t leave garbage/unsightly refuse outside, keep up on home maintenance, don’t block neighbor’s driveways with guest parking, etc, etc. Some people would be ok in that role, others would hate it. The boss-next-door situation is probably making you extra conscious of it, but making sure your group is acting respectfully and appropriately for the neighborhood would be the right thing to do regardless.

    I would probably call a house meeting to lay out some ground rules from the start – which, honestly, as young professionals I imagine you’ll all want. Take it from another young professional, it’s amazing how quickly (most) people go from the college “woo let’s party all the time” mentality to “ugh it’s finally the weekend all I want to do it sleep” mentality.

    It’s also worth considering whether you can build up your savings enough over the next 6-12 months to move out at the end of the lease. Maybe you’ll find that you’re ready to live with fewer roommates in a smaller apartment instead of a big house full of people, which would have the added benefit of allowing you to move away from your boss.

  36. Ginger

    Last summer, my boss retired and we got a new one who transferred from several states away. About a month after he moved here I happened to notice his address (I’m in HR), and realized of all the neighborhoods and suburbs in and around my city, he had literally moved right next door to my husband’s ex-wife.

    Some quick background – my husband and I didn’t start dating until 5 years after ex divorced him, she was engaged to someone else, the ex and I had never met at all, and obviously I nothing to do with their splitting up. She didn’t know me or anything about me, but this didn’t stop her from badmouthing me to my husband (boyfriend at the time) and to all of our mutual acquaintances with a series of unfounded, untrue, and just bizarre accusations about things I had supposedly said and done to her. In addition to all that, she told my husband that she had breast cancer and would call and cry about it to my husband. Turns out she did not have cancer at all and was just trying to get sympathy and attention from him.

    So, I had to have a personal conversation regarding all this with my boss when he still barely knew me because she knows where I work and I was concerned about what she may say about me to him. It was kind of awkward as I try not to bring personal drama to work.

    1. Jennifer Juniper

      Ugh! The toxic ex made things weird, not you. If your boss has an ounce of empathy or intelligence, he’ll understand this.

      1. Ginger

        Yes, he was really cool about it, and told me about how she introduced herself to him. He was outside in the middle of the day and she came over “drunk and sweaty” and wouldn’t stop rambling on and on to him. His in-laws were there visiting and helping with the move and they were all a little shocked at her behavior. My husband swears she wasn’t like that when they were dating and first married.

  37. DCGirl

    You might also want to scope out stores that are on your way home but not right in the neighborhood. For eight years, I worked at a job that was right next to Union Station in Washington, DC, so many employees bought their houses/lived along the commuter rail lines. About 12 of them got on at my train station, and I’d run into them at every store in the neighborhood evenings and weekends. All I had to do was say, “I don’t need to comb my hair and put on makeup to run up to the grocery store to get milk,” and it was like the magic incantation that summoned them in the middle of the dairy aisle. I finally started going to stores that were slightly further away just to avoid that.

    1. Name Required

      This right here! This past Sunday I can into a current coworker and a former boss in the same Trader Joe’s while I was trying to shop quietly with my earbuds in. I talk to people all week at my job. Grocery shopping is my decompression time. OP, be aware that if there are any nearby public spaces you’re counting on as place to go to get away from work, your boss living nearby might change that and it’s just part-and-parcel unless you go further out.

  38. Hiring Mgr

    It sounds like it has the potential for some mild awkardness, but most likely it will be ok.. I just think about how seldom I actually see my neighbors, even in the summer months… And despite what alot of people are saying, it doesn’t sound like the OP is having wild Animal House style bashes or anything…

  39. Camellia

    While at an earlier job, one day when I got home my husband invited me outside to meet our new neighbor. I went out to find a coworker who was married to another coworker. Except, not for long because he was divorcing her but NO ONE at work knew that yet. But she would be picking up the kids at the house for visitation. At work the next day I went to her first thing and told her about my “new neighbor” and told her that absolutely no one would hear about it from me.

    She hated me from then on and did her best to get me in trouble at work.

  40. Moonshadow

    After college, I found friends in social networking organizations like Toastmasters, and also various online gaming groups that I have participated in. Meetup is a great way to find groups with similar interests.

  41. Autumnheart

    While I wouldn’t suggest LW try to be neighbor-friends with the head of the department, I wonder if there might be room for LW to maybe ask the department head for advice on how to integrate successfully into the neighborhood. Like, “Would neighbors be open to the idea of a block party? If I invited them to my BBQ, would they come, or not be into it? Is there an existing neighborhood association that I could join?” Because there might be some organizing in that area already, and it would be a good opportunity to meet the neighbors and get on their good side without acting in a jarringly out-of-place way.

  42. Noah

    I used to live across the hall in an apartment building from a young woman who was interning for the person who sat in the next office over from me (and who was also a close friend). Other than saying “hi” in the hall, I didn’t bother the young woman and she didn’t bother me. It was fine, and it probably will be for OP, too.

  43. Sara without an H

    Ah, but OP…have you considered what your department head thought when he discovered that you were going to be his neighbor???

    Actually, this doesn’t have to be awkward. Just be a good neighbor (there’s been a lot of discussion upstream about what that entails), wave in a friendly fashion, and everything should be fine.

    Oh, and if you find out anything gossip-worthy about your department head: DO NOT share that information at work, no matter how tempting.

  44. MissDisplaced

    Ideally, this should not create issues if both parties respect boundaries and privacy in ones personal domicile. I’d say be aware boss lives there, but basically ignore that boss lives there.

    I do wonder though about certain optics, such as using a sick day, but then boss sees the OP out walking or jogging. Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing this, people can use sick days for any number of purposes—it doesn’t mean being bedridden all day. But still, what about the optics of the boss seeing this?

  45. Wendy

    If it helps at all, OP, a direct supervisor of mine lives in the building right behind me. It’s been over a year, and I’ve never seen her. Not once. It’s come up at work that, oh hey, we’re neighbors, but we’ve never run into each other. It sounds like you’re in a lot less of an urban area, but still, there are plenty of oppurtunties to for us to see each other: corner stores, coffee shops, the neighborhood grocery store- places I know we both are multiple times a week, plus there are bars, and restuarants we can obvisouly both walk to. Also, I know we both jog throughout the neighborhood.

    When she first moved into her building (I’ve lived here longer) I was a little worried about running into her in awkward situations, but so far despite being pretty close in age and having the same work schedule, it hasn’t happened. Which isn’t to say you’ll never see your boss either, but like Allison said, it will probably happen a lot less than you’re worried it will.

  46. Player 1

    While I totally agree with the advice as the best way to handle it, I do think that it would be really weird for LW to be super neighborly with everyone except their neighbor. Like I’m thinking hosting a block party where only the boss isn’t invited. In that case, I’d suggest handling it up front and saying to boss “I’m having a BBQ for the block next week and I’d be happy to have you come as a neighbor with no shop talk. If you’d prefer to maintain a distance, that is also totally fine. I’ve never lived near my boss before – happy to follow your lead on this!” Or something that makes it clear it isn’t a snub

  47. Rose

    OP, it’ll be fine! When you have your first neighborhood welcome party/BBQ I’d invite him since there will be other people there but other than that just play it by ear and enjoy your new home!

  48. Reluctant Manager

    Move.

    If your house is crammed with 30-somethings, find another one to take your place. You can’t police your housemates, your boss is probably on edge already, and you may not enjoy those social events if you’re constantly concerned about the noise level.

  49. Asenath

    I think that most of us, like I do myself, live in an urbanized area. There are two people I work with living in my building, but I almost never see them, and for most of my adult life, my work and my home situation didn’t intersect at all. That’s the norm these days.

    But I grew up in a very small town, and my parents’ co-workers and managers were necessarily neighbours. These things work out – both parties usually manage to keep on friendly terms, and while they might socialize at bigger events, they wouldn’t normally do so on an extremely informal or daily basis, like dropping in unexpectedly to borrow a cup of sugar. So you might see the boss at a neighbourhood street party, but you probably wouldn’t invite him to a BBQ with your personal friends in the neighbourhood.

  50. e-nonymous

    I think this comment section is probably a decent representation of the thoughts probably running through the boss’s head. On one hand, OP sounds like a conscientious individual who doesn’t want to cause trouble but instead just wants to have a positive relationship with their neighbors.

    On the other, OP is not the only new neighbor in the house. The closest association most people have for a house packed full of twenty-somethings is a frat (or sorority) house. Frat houses are not considered to be a positive addition to most affluent neighborhoods. Boss doesn’t know anything about the other twenty-somethings packing this house and is probably torn between wanting to believe that OP is a good person and is going to be a good neighbor and all of the many negative associations group living has for people in OP’s age group.

    There are definitely a lot of possible pitfalls here, and I think OP has be aware that this situation may require a lot of relationship and image management by the OP for at least the first three to six months. The neighbors will probably already have their hackles up when they realize how many new neighbors they have (see previously mentioned negative associations), so it’s probably in the interest of OP’s entire household to be on their absolute best behavior for a while, including keeping social gatherings infrequent and subdued. And I hope that OP really trusts the people that they’re living with as the neighborhood is probably going to be judging the entire house as a unit (and even if the boss does not, OP is still going to be seen as somewhat responsible for the roommates).

    I’m also going to reiterate previous points about being aware of the parking situation. I’ve lived in townships that did not allow overnight street parking at all in residential areas. I’m not sure what the ratio of cars to spaces is in OP’s situation, but if the boss/neighbors want to occasionally have their own get together but all their guests have to park blocks away because OP’s group is monopolizing most of the space, they will not be looked upon kindly, regardless of how quiet they are.

    1. poodleoodle

      It would be nice to hit a button and just skip the 22-26 (or whatever the “acceptable neighbor age” is) age range so you’re not automatically judged badly for being your age and daring to move into a neighborhood where your kind isn’t welcome.

  51. poodleoodle

    So I lived in a house for four years and very rarely did i run into my neighbors. One side was a rental house too and there was a bit of turnover, but I honestly don’t think I had a conversation with them at all, we just never saw each other. On the other side was an elderly couple and I spoke to the man when I saw him outside but I don’t know if I met his wife. He was super nice but I worked nights and he kept a very early AM type of schedule so I just never saw him. So this may be a mostly non issue.

    The people who let their kids run through my apartment complex shrieking at full volume for hours with no supervision (not normal play noises but like screaming bloody murder, throwing things against the exterior walls and doors and that kind of thing) were far more disruptive than the other 20 somethings who lived there who just wanted to go to work, see their family and friends, and just….exist. And sometimes people are unreasonable, I got yelled at by a lady who lived in the front unit of the complex for being “too loud” because I was excited to see my dogs after being gone for 2 weeks and I was talking to my pet sitter….at 3pm…but the screaming kids were ok I guess.

    Or in my house there was the guy across the street who let his back porch light shine directly into my bedroom all night long. That sucked…sometimes I went to bed before daylight on the weekends and it was insanely bright.

    The thing is OP is trying to be a good neighbor, and he’s clearly right to have reservations based on the assumptions going on here. Age discrimination sucks, you wouldn’t like it done to you, don’t do it to someone who’s 23 and has a few friends over. He’s obviously worried about making a good impression.

    1. e-nonymous

      I agree that it sucks that OP is being judged in part because of age. But I think OP is best served by being aware that might/will probably happen.

      Although to be fair, I think the bigger issue is the number of twenty-somethings OP is talking about living in this house. If it was only OP and spouse or significant other, I think there would be many fewer concerns, regardless of age. Similarly, if OP was 40 years old and talking about moving into a house with a large group of 40 year olds, I think that would raise some of the same frat house type concerns. It’s not that OP occasionally has a few friends over, it’s that a group of friends all live together that raise the concern for a high level of potentially neighborhood disrupting levels of socializing.

      1. poodleoodle

        Yeah, it’s good to know what he is up against for sure and things to watch out for. And I’ve only lived with my S/O vs several people. I would actually hate living with a bunch of people, I need my space.
        I thought maybe they were all friends so they were likely to have the same group of people over but then again who knows. Where I live my husband and I were lucky to have 2 spaces for both of our cars, I can’t imagine if it was 3 or 4 of us needing to park.

  52. Snowy

    If you had to cram the house full of 20-somethings to afford the house (in an affluent neighborhood), you can’t afford the house. That’s a recipe for a party house or disaster. Sell and move to a neighborhood you *can* afford. One stone, two birds.

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