Being Friends With Your Neighbors: 15 Disadvantages / Downsides

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

You might think that being friends with the neighbors is a good idea. After all, having buddies next door can only make your life easier, right? The sad reality is that making friends with the neighbors is not always a good idea. In fact, for some, it’s the worst decision they ever made. Today, we’re going to discuss all of the reasons why befriending the neighbors can be a bad idea.

Even the friendliest guy/gal on the planet needs their own space. For many of us, that space is our homes. Being friends with the neighbors does sound great, but can it work in reality? For many people, it doesn’t work at all. Let’s look at why being friends with the neighbors doesn’t always work out for the best. 

15 reasons why being friends with your neighbors may not be a great idea:

1. Lack of privacy.

When your neighbors are just neighbors, you can create as much privacy as you like. You can build a wall, grow creeping plants, and get really creative about enclosing your own little space. When you make friends with the neighbors, they may take offense to being “blocked out”, or you may feel ashamed to start creating obvious privacy enhancers. 

2. Unexpected “pop-in” visits.

Nothing is worse than an unexpected pop-in when you least expect it or want it. Perhaps you are having a busy day or just want some time to yourself, but your neighbor friend sees you are home so just pops in for a cup of tea or a chat. As you can imagine, this can get rather annoying. 

3. You may not know what you’re getting yourself into until it’s too late.

When you befriend the neighbor, you are doing it on your own turf. Suppose you first think they are amazing people but later find out they are thugs. In that case, you cannot distance yourself from them and do a disappearing act like you would if you met them in a bar or had a friendship away from your personal space. When you get in too deep, you become stuck. 

4. You can never say you’re not home when you are. 

Do you ever tell a fib to get out of plans? “I’m sorry; I am not home right now”. Sound familiar? You know those days when you just want to do your own thing? Fending off the invites to do something or to tell someone they cannot visit because you aren’t home and have other plans is easy to do when the friends in question are not your neighbor. Being friends with the neighbor means you don’t have an easy excuse to get out of plans. 

5. Their kids might be a bad influence on yours.

You might become friends with the neighbors and realize only too late that their children are influencing your children badly. Once the friendship is formed, what can you do? You can’t really keep your children away from the neighbor – things could get awkward. 

6. You could feel judged. 

If you don’t know the neighbors, you don’t really care about what they think. When you become friends, you start to care about what they might think about you. For instance, if you splurge on expensive home appliances, but the neighbor is going through a tough financial time, you might feel really bad about it. You might feel as if they are judging you, especially when the appliance boxes have to be put out into the trash. 

7. There’s pressure to be a good neighbor.

You probably don’t give much thought to the type of neighbor you are when you don’t actually know the neighbors, but if you become friends, everything changes. You suddenly start to worry that your television is too loud or your dogs bark too much, or your kids scream too often. You might also feel as if you need to be always on top of your garden maintenance and be extra attentive to home care. With neighbors as friends, there’s a lot of pressure on you.

8. You always have to invite them.

When you befriend the neighbors, you cross a line. That’s the line between “them” and “us”. When the lines are blurred and you become friends, you might feel like you can never just hang out with other friends. Instead, you always have to have the neighbor around. You will feel as if you have to invite them to every barbecue and drinks evening you have at your home. 

9. If it doesn’t work out, you’re stuck with them, next door.

Sometimes even the best of friends fall out with each other, and the friendship ends. In a normal friendship, you can go your separate ways and never have to deal with each other again. When you live next door to friends and have a fallout, you will feel as if you are stuck with them. They aren’t going anywhere, and neither are you.

10. They may become interfering.

Interfering neighbors are the worst. Before the neighbor was your friend, they probably didn’t feel it was their place to interfere or push their ideas and opinions on you. Now that you are friends, that’s changed. Nothing is worse than a neighbor who tells you how to do things and gets involved in your personal projects. Oh, wait, maybe befriending that neighbor could be worse! 

11. Neighborhood gossip.

How much do you really tell your friends about yourself? Is it safe to have your neighbor privy to your intimate business? Befriending the neighbors could result in you becoming the top of the neighborhood gossip. You never know if your new friend is going to tell other neighbors about your secrets or private information. 

12. You start to feel obliged.

Feeling obliged to do and say things can become quite tiring. When you become friends with the neighbors, you might feel obliged to chat every time you see them outside, invite them over for dinner, share things with them, and so on. 

13. You can’t complain about them.

When you become friends with the neighbors, it removes the freedom to lodge a complaint. Maybe their dog barks all night, or they leave their trash in the wrong area. What can you do about it? Nothing really – unless you can complain anonymously, which is doubtful. 

14. You’re expected to chat and keep up to date.

Are you the type of person who likes to engage often and keep in touch? Your new friends next door will want to chat with you and get to know you. They may become a little annoying trying to keep up with you and keep in touch with you. 

15. You can never just relax.

When you befriend the neighbor, you may feel as if you are always on “duty”. You can’t just relax and chill. You may want to lie on the lawn and read a book, but worry the neighbor will see you and want to engage with you. You might want to play your music loud to get rid of frustrations, but that’s not fair on the neighbor. Being friends with the neighbor can remove that element of just being at home and relaxing to your full potential. 

In closing

While there are definite perks to having friends as neighbors, the risks of the disadvantages are many. Befriending the neighbor may end up being more trouble and inconvenience than it is worth. Consider the above pointers before getting yourself in too deep with the neighbors. If you have the option to keep it light and not get too involved, you might save yourself a lot of headaches. Maybe, for now, a polite “hi” and a wave is what you should stick to.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.