Weighing in on the pros and cons of keeping up with the Joneses
In 2017, the number of people renting rather than buying a home reached a 50-year high. Accounting for more than 1 in 3 people of nearly every age, a majority of these renters live in apartments and condos. Still, a vast majority of people live in single-family homes. However, whether you own your own home or prefer communal-style living, there’s one thing we all have in common: neighbors. So just how well do we actually get to know our neighbors today, and what are they doing to set us off? We surveyed over 1,000 people about the most annoying neighborly traits, whether it might be worse to live next door to a millennial rather than someone older, and if earning more money makes for a better (or worse) community vibe. Continue reading to see what we found.

Top 10 most annoying things neighbors do:

  • Frequently intrude on the privacy of others
  • Be loud or noisy
  • Refuse to pick up after their pet
  • Park in a space that isn’t theirs
  • Leave children unsupervised
  • Call the police on another neighbor
  • Leave notes on a neighbor’s door instead of speaking face to face
  • Have loud sex
  • Visibly walk around in various states of undress
  • Have landscaping or other items that obstruct a neighbor’s view

Looking at our list, do any of these aggravating tendencies sound familiar? As it turns out, the most annoying thing our neighbors do isn’t making too much noise or letting their lawns go too long between mowings (even though those things might get your blood boiling)—it’s intruding on the privacy of others. According to the people surveyed, nosy neighbors were the absolute worst of all, whether that included overly talkative meetings at the mailbox or just a general invasion of privacy. Loud neighbors, those who neglected to pick up after their pets, and people who parked in a space not their own also earned top spots for the most annoying neighborly actions.

Bad neighborly vibes

Most annoying things neighbors do There are plenty of perks associated to apartment living, but being in proximity to so many people might not be as romantic as you’d prefer. In reality, people rated neighbors who frequently intruded on the privacy of others a 75 out of 100 (with 100 being extremely annoying), something in which over 1 in 4 people had firsthand experience. While there are plenty of creative ideas on managing nosy neighbors, perhaps one of the most frustrating things about these busybodies is that escaping prying eyes or tedious conversation can be difficult when you live so close. Nearly half of people had experience with a neighbor who was loud or noisy. Whether having the music’s volume turned up too high or talking loud enough to hear across the hall, 1 in 10 people also admitted being guilty of this alongside their neighbor. One of the least aggravating behaviors people lamented over was living next to someone who didn’t take care of the exterior of their home or lawn. Approximately 57 percent of people have lived next to someone with an unkempt property (or had one themselves) but only rated its overall annoyance a 43. Do you know your neighbors' names? If your neighbor does something excessively annoying, the easiest solution might be to have a conversation about it. That is, of course, unless you don’t even know their name. Roughly 61 percent of people only knew some of their neighbors’ names, while more than 22 percent didn’t know any of them. Only about 16 percent felt acquainted enough with their communities to say they knew the names of everyone living around them.

The gendered living experience

Mosting annoying things neighbors do, by gender For the most part, women were more likely to be bothered by the most annoying neighborly behaviors. For families, recent studies have found 29 percent of mothers now stay home with their children. Spending more time at home could expose women to the truly irritating tendencies of the people living around them. Overall annoyance by gender Women were over 30 percent more likely to be bothered by two things: neighbors visible in various states of undress and neighbors having loud sex. In contrast, men were only more irritated than women when their neighbors called the police on someone else in the community.

Not so neighborly after all

Comparing neighbors' actions to your own, by gender Men were more likely to confess to one of the more bothersome neighborly behaviors than women: not taking care of their homes. Forty-five percent of men and 43 percent of women had personal experience with a neighbor who hurt their curb appeal, and more than 1 in 10 men said they’d done it themselves. Coming home and seeing your neighbor’s property in disarray can be aggravating, but it can also be costly. If you ever try to sell your house and your neighbors aren’t doing a good job taking care of their own, your property could lose value. The same is true of lawn maintenance. More than keeping your grass watered or the trees trimmed, proper landscaping can help increase property values as well. Men were also more likely to admit to being loud or noisy in addition to having sex loud enough for their neighbors to hear. On the other side of the white picket fence, women acknowledged being more likely to gossip about their neighbors, call the cops on neighbors, and not pick up after their pets. Percentage reporting a confrontation with neighbors, by generation In some cases, asking a neighbor to tone it down or mow the lawn may go smoothly. But it could also lead to confrontation. Difficult or lazy neighbors can be aggravating, but some neighbors can also be dangerous. According to our study, young people were less likely to get into fights with their neighbors than their older counterparts. Despite being younger and having less time as established homeowners (or renters), millennials were 5 to 10 percent less likely to have aggressive encounters with their neighbors. While 23 percent of millennials reported getting into either a verbal or physical altercation with a neighbor, Gen Xers clocked in at 28 percent and baby boomers reported being the most combative with 33 percent recalling a confrontation.

Pesky perimeters

Most annoying thing neighbors do, by generation Perhaps fueling their aforementioned disputes, it was baby boomers who were the most aggravated by their neighbors’ actions. With only one exception (calling the police), baby boomers rated each of the most common neighborly nuisances as more annoying than younger generations. While millennials were less troubled by hearing their neighbors get physical or seeing their neighbors in various states of undress, baby boomers rated these aggravations as much more irksome. And the one thing baby boomers found significantly more bothersome? When their neighbors didn’t take proper care of their own property. Rated a 39 by millennials, baby boomers ranked this particular slight a 55 out of 100 on our annoyance scale.

Building a bridge

Neighbor-related behaviors, by neighborly rapport While a majority of people admitted to knowing some of their neighbors by name, it’s more likely you won’t know any of your neighbors’ names rather than know all of them—and that could be creating a bad community environment. It may take a little extra effort, but getting to know your neighbors might not be as burdensome as you expect. Committing to shaking one new hand each week, smiling when you see each other in passing, or even hosting a little get-together now and then can go a long way in turning strangers into acquaintances at the very least. According to our survey, people who felt like they had a good relationship with their neighbors were less likely to encounter some of the more aggravating behaviors. While more than 2 in 3 people who had poor relations with their neighbors reported experience with consistently loud music or conversation, only 40 percent of people with good relationships said the same. Trying to convince your neighbors to mow their lawn more often, stop parking in your space, or even just pick up after their pets? The trick might be as simple as saying “hello” once in a while. Percentage reporting a good relationship with neighbors, by annual income Getting to know your neighbors can have advantages (including not having to listen to them have sex), and that might be more likely to happen if you (or they) earn more money. According to our survey, the more money you earn, the more likely you are to have a good relationship with your neighbors. Except for people earning more than $100,000 and less than $10,000 annually, people’s community experiences were positively enhanced by an increase in income. While sometimes costly, a homeowners association can help to settle disputes between neighbors or host events that help neighbors get to know one another better.

Why can’t we be friends

Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, we all have neighbors. And as much as we may strive to create a peaceful environment in our communities, aggravations do happen. While nosy neighbors were rated among the most irksome, actually getting to know your neighbors may help save you a headache down the road. As we found, baby boomers were more likely to be bothered by many of these behaviors than younger generations and were the most likely to be involved in verbal and physical confrontations. Need help avoiding uncomfortable interactions with neighbors? At Porch, our goal is to help connect you with home improvement experts, so you start tackling your to-do list today. From landscaping to home repairs, and even interior decorating, our Home Assistant can match you with one of our Porch Services pros or someone in our network when you need it. Don’t let the lawn wait another day. Visit Porch to learn more.


We collected 1,010 people’s responses from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk on their relationships with their neighbors and what annoyed them most. Of these, 612 were millennials, 242 were Gen Xers, and 144 were baby boomers. In terms of respondent gender, 470 identified as women, and 540 identified as men. All responses are self-reported; The list of annoying behaviors presented to respondents and how they evolved can be found here.


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