Won’t You Stop Being My Neighbor?


Source: Addiction Inbox

I have a bit of a delicate situation, and I’m hoping that the wise denizens of the Internet can give me some advice as Mr Rogers never covered this. But first, some backstory.

Raise your hands if you currently live (or have ever lived) in an apartment. If so, you know how complicated navigating your relationships with your neighbors can be. You have to pick and choose your battles. For instance, when a neighbor asked me and a friend to stop laughing so loudly at 5:00pm, I tried to understand that maybe she had a deadline. Did I think I should be able to be in my apartment and laughing at that hour? Yes. But still, I compromised because we all have to live in this space.

Well, now I’m the one with the problem. You see, I hate the smell of pot smoke. Even the smallest amount gives me a headache, and any sort of prolonged exposure makes me queasy. Imagine my delight when I discovered that my new downstairs neighbor likes to smoke out—every day.

Smoke rises. So, if my windows are open, and she’s smoking, it’s coming into my apartment. I thought I could fix it. I don’t have air conditioning, and even though it is SoCal in the summer, I closed all my windows in hopes of easing the problem. Alas, we seem to share heating vents, and all that did was trap me inside my apartment with the smoke.

I’m sure she’s thinking that she has the right to do whatever she wants in her own apartment—that it’s not hurting anybody else. I’d agree with her if the smoke actually stayed there. Sadly, it does not.

I don’t know what to do. I can’t tell her to take the weed on the road. This isn’t like asking someone to keep it down because I don’t know that there is a way for her to keep it in.  Moving seems like the likeliest option, but part of me resents having to take on the financials of a move just to be able to breathe freely, and I can’t afford a house, so moving won’t guarantee that I’ll land in a smoke-free environment.

So, here I sit hoping that her smoking hours will coincide with my plans to be out of the apartment. Dear Internet, what would you do?


  • mateo

    who hates the smell of pot smoke? i’m sure she’s got a prescription. perfectly legal. only thing you can do is ask her to blow her smoke a different direction. or tell the landlord, which would make you a lame narc.

    • KateDating

      You’d be surprised how many people hate it. It’s very frustrating to not be able to breathe in your own apartment and to have your own health impacted by someone else’s hobbies. Do people really not think about how their actions impact the people around them?

  • Isn’t California pretty anti-smoking (in that cigarette smoke is banned from places, not the legality of pot)? The first thing I would do is check with your landlord, just as some apartments don’t allow pets, some apartments don’t allow smokers. That being said, I live in Montreal, land of freedom and so pot smoke in the hallways and coming in through the poorly sealed doors, the smell of burning oil, and all assortment of other kitcheny scents are near constant (and the landlords could not possibly care less). As much as it sucks, at some point you do just have to realize that you live in an apartment and shit like this is a bit like paying the toll. My best advice (after the landlord) is saving your money and moving to a place that bans smoking or isn’t an apartment.

    • KateDating

      It is. I actually thought this was a smoke-free building. I might try a room air-conditioner and a purifier of some kind to try to combat the problem.

  • Dee Murray

    Well, as someone who smoked for years while apartment living, it is a tough path. I always tried to consider the neighbors, but sometimes, you just can’t, and I smoked anyway. Doors ajar, trying to be as breezy and inoffensive as possible, it didn’t always work…in the same vein, my vegan neighbor used to gag when I BBQ’ed. Ya know…? Maybe someone hates the smell of fried foods, or curry or garlic or wet dog (just go with that one). Everyone has something that makes them gag. However, how accommodating can one be (on both sides) before you feel like your home is a hostile living environment? Smoke is different but the same (health issues aside, of course) and because to date, still legal – especially as Mateo mentioned, there is probably an Rx involved, or you’d be smelling insense and all kinds of Febreezy type smells to cover it up, you probably can’t do much about it – LOL – except narc, or have a chat with her. Perhaps agree to certain times of day…when she comes home from work or late at night or whatever…I always tried to work around it with the neighbors as best as I could. Sometimes they got the cookie, sometimes I did. Except the vegan. And her dog – who did not gag at the smell of bbq. 🙂

    • KateDating

      LOL!! I forgot to mention the incense! It’s almost as strong as the pot smoke! She’s right by the main door to the building. Wonder how that’s going to go over if she’s smoking out when the leasing office is showing the apartment to future renters.

  • Dee Murray

    ooooh. incense…yeah…well…?? Perhaps mention to her that you heard some of the leasing office peeps chatting mentioning the smell and perhaps she should cool it a bit? Or an anonymous note in her mailbox re: same is much less confrontational yet potentially successful!

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