Shhh…your neighbors can hear you

My husband had to make some late calls home while he was traveling for work this past week. During one of them, I heard knocking on the bedroom wall that is adjacent to our neighbor’s master. I wasn’t talking loudly, in fact my husband was asking me to speak up and turning the volume up on his phone, but I guess the neighbors could hear me just fine.

The next day I attended a luncheon with the ladies from our building, and I decided to ask my neighbor about the knocking. They’re a very sweet family, so I felt comfortable bringing it up.

My neighbor said she hadn’t heard anything the previous night, and that the knocker must have been her husband; but she did add that the walls are so thin that they can hear everything, and she emphasized the word “everything.”

My take away from our discussion was that “everything” meant that they hear us… frolicking. I left the luncheon wondering how I wanted to handle it since frolicking is a very private matter.

We’ve certainly heard noise coming from neighbors before. Crying babies, kids squabbling, dogs howling … normal goings-on of life. We choose not to say anything because hearing noises from your neighbors is just part of apartment living, and we don’t think anyone should have to tiptoe and whisper while they’re in their home.

Thankfully, in this particular apartment, we really only hear anything when we’re in the room with the shared wall.

After the luncheon, conversation continued out into the common area of our building, and I quickly discovered that I was not the only neighbor wondering about our discussion.

Our floor plans are stacked same-on-same, so everyone in the building shares a master bedroom wall.

Whereas I had initially felt embarrassed, everyone else seemed very light-hearted about the matter. One person mentioned that perhaps her husband could compliment her frolicking abilities loudly sometime. Another friend said she’d likely cheer them on, or even start a little competition, so long as it didn’t continue too long into the wee hours of the night or really disturb their sleep time.

Funny business aside, we agreed that we would never be angry with a neighbor if we heard them frolicking, and that helped put my mind at ease.

I believe what happens in the privacy of someone’s home deserves to remain private – whether someone outside of your home hears it or not.

Neighbors owe it to each other to respect noise levels during normal sleeping hours; however, just as we don’t expect neighbors to convince teenagers and babies not to squeal, or dogs not to howl when they’re lonely; we don’t think our neighbors expect us not to frolic, or to frolic quietly for all the time we remain in this apartment.

That night, I (quietly) mentioned the situation to my husband when he called and was surprised that he just found it funny. We decided that, since we live here, it’s necessary that we “live” here. After all, this is one of the few places we are legally allowed to frolic.