It’s easy for disagreements and conflicts to develop between two neighbors. The potential areas of disagreement are limitless (e.g., property line disputes, noise problems, conflicts between children). But how do you make peace with your neighbor after a conflict has occurred? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Admit that you were wrong. This might sound unpleasant, but it really is an amazingly simple way to improve your relationship with a hostile neighbor. If you want to make peace, an abject apology is simply the easiest way. Do not let your pride get in the way. If, however, it is clear that you are not the party at fault, it is generally best not to admit fault; a dishonest apology will look and feel wrong.
2. Move on to common goals. Find something that you and your neighbor both want to accomplish. For example, perhaps you have been thinking about applying new sealant to your driveway, and you can see that your neighbor’s driveway needs it, too. Then join forces with your neighbor to accomplish your goal. This make-peace strategy is powerful, because (a) it lets your neighbor know you are trying to form a good relationship and (b) when you work together with someone to accomplish a common purpose, you almost inevitably grow closer to that person.
3. Identify a common enemy. I am not suggesting here that you select another neighbor for you and neighbor number one to antagonize. By “enemy” I mean an issue or problem. For example, if you find out that you and your neighbor are staunch members of the same political party, then you can occasionally drop by to discuss the other party, which is your common enemy. Or maybe you both want the city to take better care of its roads; that is another issue you could discuss. While most people want to avoid negativity, it is a simple truth that a common enemy unites people; if you want to make peace with your neighbor, identifying a common enemy can help.
It’s never fun being in a situation where you have to make peace with anyone, let alone the person who lives next door, but when you find yourself in that situation you can find a solution. Choose a strategy from the list above, and then get it done.