Today, I’m writing about the perspective of justice from both sides of the issues – the complainant and the one being complained about. Sometimes a person’s idea of justice is wrong, but they just don’t recognize it. So, I hope reading this essay will change some of misaligned perspectives and create better relationships among neighbors.
The “noise complaint” case is about loud footsteps of adults and/or stomping and running noises of children by the upstairs neighbors.
On one side, the upstairs neighbor can claim that these noises are just sounds of their daily life and totally unintentional. They may argue that it is part of their rights as residents to make noises in the confines of their property; similarly, their children also have the right to live and play freely inside the house. Moreover, some upstairs neighbors even complain about their downstairs neighbors’ incessant rants and complaints, which causes them to become anxious and depressed.
From this neighbors viewpoint, we can say that the upstairs neighbors definitely have the right to live comfortably, but so do the downstairs residents. How much noise the upstairs neighbors make actually depends on the people. More often than not, upstairs neighbors influence the comfort of the downstairs residents.
Let’s review a specific scenario. It is the wee hours of the morning and the downstairs residents are soundly asleep at 3am. Suddenly, they are awakened by loud thumping and running noises from their upstairs neighbors. These neighbors losing precious sleep will obviously plan to complain about this disturbance to the upstairs residents in hopes that it won’t become a pattern. The neighbors later reply to their message: “Our child is sick, so we were in a rush to look for medicine. It’s an emergency situation, so please understand it.”
Looking at this case, we might feel sorry for the child, but this is not the only time the neighbors were awakened and disturbed by the residents upstairs. The loud stomping and running has become a pattern. What if we put ourselves in the shoes of the downstairs residents? What if they have a very important work report or presentation the next day? What if their work has become so tiring that they’re only getting a few hours of priceless sleep? What do you think about this case if you were the downstairs neighbors? Do you think the residents who get sleep impediment must be patient whenever the upstairs residents get sick or caught in another sort of emergency situations?
If the upstairs neighbors actions are justified reasons for making so much noise at night, then we should apply this justice theory for the downstairs neighbors. When the downstairs residents get sick and need to sleep, should the healthy upstairs residents be required to stay quiet or avoid making noises the whole day?
Sometimes, we have to be patient towards the ones making noise. We should also take good care of our neighbors and be considerate of them. Good neighbors should be empathetic enough to know that our behavior can cause serious annoyance and disruption. As long as we live in a condominium or an apartment complex, where we have shared walls, ceilings or floors, “consideration of others” goes without saying. It is a must from all neighbors.
The idea that “My family, my child and I have the right to live comfortably” is totally right but it’s not total justice. Justice is not selfish and justice is inclusive of all people involved. The idea to have the right to live comfortably applies to all residents, both upstairs and downstairs.
In order to avoid neighbor-related troubles in a condo, the residents who make noises should understand how their words and actions influence other residents. Both parties should keep an open mind and remain understanding of each others’ situations. In addition, both residents shouldn’t be too sensitive towards “small” noises and try to avoid making noises that ‘cause complaints from their neighbors’ a pattern.
Which is right or which is wrong, can’t be identified definitely because everyone has a different situation and different perspective. But generally speaking, those who become victims of loud noise disturbances, also known as “the complainants,” would be subjected to more pain and mental stress than those who make noises or “the complainee”.