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Ask Chicagoist: Does My Upstairs Neighbor Have a Horse?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Apr 30, 2007 4:25PM

Dear Ask Chicagoist,

The people who live above me are insanely loud. No, they don't party all night or blare Rage Against the Machine at top volume. They just have a loud walk. All night long! I think they're rearranging furniture? How can I get them to at least take off their shoes?

Up All Night

2007_04_askloud.gifHello UAN,

We really do feel your pain. There's something about living in rehabbed apartments that can make you understand once and for all why you're not supposed to rap on fish tanks -- all the sound tends to get amplified. But at the same time, it's a difficult line between what's acceptable noise and what's way over the top.

You have to keep in mind, we think, that people need to be able to live their lives. Assuming, of course, that living their lives doesn't include running on treadmills (true story), excessive pogoing, or random pounding at three in the morning. You also need to be careful about venting your rage. It's really going to do no one any good in the end if you decide to take the passive aggressive route and start pounding or leaving notes without first talking to your neighbors.

No one actually likes having this conversation, but it's really the only thing you can do as the first step. There is always the chance they really don't understand how loud their walking can be. And no -- they're not going to be able to stop walking, but we think the mere act of removing shoes can do a world of good, especially if your neighbors really like high heels, or are clog dancers.

When you talk to your neighbor, be calm, be collected, don't accuse them of anything, and by all means try to be friendly and understanding. An actual face to who is doing the walking can sometimes make it more bearable (we loved an old neighbor's big puppy, which made the periodic clomping and running a lot more endearing than annoying), and an actual face to who they are walking on may make them more mindful as well (but you probably are going to have to forgive them the periodic drunken stumbling in at three in the morning -- you know you have those nights as well).

Our real advice? Hold out for a top floor apartment -- but once you move in, remember your plight while living below, and don't become "that" neighbor.

How would you deal with a loud upstairs neighbor? Do you have any crazy bad neighbor stories?

Feeling stepped all over? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.