Being the bigger man has no emotional payoff?

Recently, I received an extremely snarky note from a neighbour that I had unwittingly mistreated. Basically, my builder left his <stuff> in the wrong place, which meant my neighbour’s access to the recycling bins was obstructed for half a day. My builder of course is legally and morally acting as my agent, so I completely accept that I am in the wrong here.

What really ticks me off is the ridiculously over the top tone and language of the (anonymous) note I was left. I’ve been flamed before, of course, but never in Real Life, and it’s strangely more aggravating than it is when it happens on Usenet.

I have resolved, however, to ‘be the bigger man’, and drop round a completely non-sarcastic note of apology (I am actually getting someone else to write it, 'cos I can’t manage it myself). However, this seems to have an unfortunate consequence - while it would have been enormous fun to flame back, incorporating spelling- AND grammar-flame elements, and pointing out just how trivial the complaint was, and the disproportionate reponse - while THAT would have been fun (but ultimately damaging and futile), doing ‘the right thing’ leaves me still pissed off.

What’s that about?

Dude, write back a completely sincere note. Then set their shit on fire, holmes.

Scan the note and let us see it.

What kinda douche writes a note anyways? Fucking pussy.

I have to commend your maturity Larry. As someone who has been in the uncomfortable situation of having a silent fued with neighbors I advise avoiding that level of domestic stress at all costs. It starts making a person paranoid. Suddenly every scratch in the car, every fast food wrapper found on one’s front lawn, every minor trivial happenstance starts being viewed as part of some subtle but persistent neighborly persecution.

Luckily for me, the one time I had a neighbor I hated he had the courtesy to get drunk and drive his truck into somebody else’s living room. He didn’t survive this, which ended the whole situation on a cheerful note as far as I was concerned.

P.S. if you want to get some revenge on him later after smoothing over the current issues, I recommend spray painting his headlights black.

#1 thing to remember about life: some people are just jerks. They have nothing going on in their lives, they feel insecure, and it helps them to make a big deal out of trivial stuff. They feel like they’ve been kicked around all their lives, and by God they’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take this anymore. Let it roll off your back (your idea of an apologetic note is a nice gesture, though). It has nothing to do with you, there’s nothing you can do about it, and trust me that your neighbor is already paying the price in the sense that he’s an angry, misanthropic jackass and will be treated as such by society.

Hardball, indeed.

I say you go apologize in person. It will probably be of some comfort to see how reasonable and accomodating your neighbor is when you’re standing right there. Just pretend that he’s mortally afraid of you.

The trick is to do the right thing with a sense of humor. This will annoy and frustrate the neighbor, but they will know they were being an arse and so you accomplish your objective.

"Thank you for letting us know about the building materials being left on your drive. I apologize for this, and will do my best to ensure it will not happen again. In fact, we have already taken the contractor responsible out back and executed him. I do hope you can take some ironic pleasure in knowing that the very materials that offended you now seal the perpetator in a cement tomb for eternity, or, at least, until I am caught.

Best regards, LarryLard"

Then he’ll drive his truck through someones liv…

I’ve said too much.

Also: I’d probably just take pictures of everyone while they sleep and put that on the notes. I doubt anyone will fuck with you any more.


You’ll get a payoff later, after you cool down. While you may still be thinking, “Man, I shoulda told him what for” or whatever, you’ll know you acted like a self-sufficient adult, even in a situation where it would have been immediately gratifying not to.

Also, the fact that you act rationally here could head off a potential silent neighbor fued that will, in the long run, cause you much more frustration than you’re feeling right now.

Carve a jack-o-lantern and stick a knife through the side of it. Then leave it on the front porch of your neighbor with a note saying “You”. Laugh diabolically from home.

This will qualify me for the QT3 doofus of the week award, but I must fess up. I did not realize the connection between my second paragraph and my postscript. They are completely unrelated anecdotes that happened years apart.

Re-reading my post, it does seem very sinister doesn’t it :)

The neighbor probably used a note because it is then in writing, he does not make the mistake of getting angry in person, and he can put his concerns directly. However, he should not have been snarky about it. The problem is that when you get mad (as you now feel yourself), you have a tendency to express the anger even when you shouldn’t. He feels like you disrespected him (I know you didn’t mean to), so he wonders why he should show you any respect.

I know that feeling to some degree because my neighbors are asses. I can’t stand them, and I have had to report them to the front office 6 times in the last two months or so. In that case, though, they wake me up at 3 or 4 in the morning, slam their front door about 40 times a day (not exaggerating for effect), play their bass as loudly as possible in the parking lot and throw trash out of their cars. In your case, you just had some building materials in the way for half a day, which is pretty minor. If you were repeatedly doing things like this, it would be a different issue, but going by what you said, the neighbor overreacted.

An in person apology will probably make him more likely to just come talk to you next time rather than getting upset.

And I was totally giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

Amusement: RETRACTED

What is that about? I don’t mean to sound all personal-attacky here, but are you suggesting that being the bigger man is achieved by being a total pussy? Just go talk to the guy. If he’s still a prick, then hey, you’re the bigger man after all.

I -like- this idea.

Oh, hey, not you.


Yeah, that’s pretty silly retarded…

But do as others have suggested here, go talk to him in person and apologize, maybe be extra neighbory and invite him over for dinner or some such dealie. Not to kiss ass, but to just try to be friendly. If you plan on living in this place a while, honey is your friend, vinegar is not.

Or do as I might and send the suggested letter back (i.e. - I killed the contractor). That’s got some funny factor in it.

Purchase a very large and realistic looking dildo. Write note to neighbor apologizing and then use dildo to prop note somewhere neighbor is sure to find note. Neighbor will no doubt recognize sly inuendo that you are in fact THE BIGGER MAN which ought to be immensely satisfying. NOTE: Don’t cheap out on the dildo purchase.

PS: You may have to include in the note that you are leaving a replica of your actual penis for the neighbor to understand you are THE BIGGER MAN. :)