If I got to pick my neighbors, I have a very brief list. Basically, I’d love to live near my good friends from every single duty station we’ve ever been at.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option right now. The US military tells us, generally, where to live. Actually, in my specific case, they told us exactly where to live.

And quite frankly some of my neighbors rub me the wrong way. Others downright get me mad!

For Every Military Spouse Who Just Doesn’t Like The Neighbors

While some folks might not be my cup of tea, I still have to live near them day after day. To cope, I’ve found a few tips that work for me.

Ignore and Avoid

I literally pretend some people don’t exist. I mean, not in a bad way. Mostly these are the folks that I don’t personally know but who do annoying things. Like not picking up their dog’s poop.

Seriously, it’s not that hard! Poop, scoop, tie and trash. Done.

For these people, I try my best to ignore and avoid them and their choices. I gloss over the trash littering the streets long after trash day. I avoid areas where there are repeat¬†poop offenders. If I can’t see it, smell it or hear it, the problem doesn’t exist.

Bless Their Heart

I might be from New England, but I can bless hearts with the best of them. For neighbors who I do know and can’t always avoid, I try to silently bless their little hearts. Something about this turn of phrase helps me to see the bright side of things while also giving some mean side eye.

I might bless the heart of a child who is running unsupervised through the neighborhood and causing a ruckus. I might bless the heart of that child’s parents, too.

The hearts of those who speed down the streets or who are outside my infant’s window at all hours will also be deeply blessed.

Band Together

 

Find someone you do like and spend lots of time together. Actually, find more than one somebody. Get out of your neighborhood and do things!

Not only will you be actively avoiding the places and people that bother you, but you’ll probably have some fun, too. Your mood will improve and you might find that you have more grace for others.

Having fun with likeminded friends is a great way to snap out of your not-ideal-neighbor blues.

It’s Temporary

When all else fails, repeat your mantra:

“It’s just a few years. It’s just a few years.”

Zen out with your drink of choice while you remind yourself that this house, this street and these neighbors are all just temporary. Everything can and will change in just a short time. Someone you don’t quite jive with might move out, replaced by someone super amazing. Plus, at the end of the tour, you get to leave and move somewhere totally new!

Enjoy the good things about your current living situation and focus on that. Find the friends that make you smile, ignore the folks that give your grief.

Or if you can’t ignore them, just bless their hearts for trying and remember that it’s all temporary anyway.

How have you handled a rough neighbor situation? Share your best tips to solve community conflicts in the comments!

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Meg is a military spouse, teacher, writer, and mom of two MilKids. She is an education blog and coaching/advocacy service focused on military families. Meg's mission is to help families understand and navigate the K-12 world. She provides timely posts, timeless advice, and personal assistance to families with school-aged children. You can find Meg online at megflanagan.com and @MegFlanaganEducation

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