It’s amazing how a well-written letter can change one’s attitude – even the attitudes of a whole group of neighbors!
Last fall, a young couple who had moved into our area set out to transform their backyard into a play area for their two young girls. My husband and I, their nearest neighbors, were annoyed to wake up to jack hammers at 6 a.m. The noise went on for hours several days in a row. We complained to board members of our homeowners association and so did others. The young neighbor told the board person who was following up that he’d informed all of his neighbors ahead of time. News to us.
Fast forward to this summer. Three days before the work crew was scheduled to complete phase two of the backyard transformation, we received a letter on our gate. I’m guessing at least a dozen other neighbors received the same letter.
This letter, worded with such consideration, impressed me tremendously. We actually changed our attitude toward this couple who had been less than friendly over all of these months. The letter read:
On July 28th we will be undertaking the construction of a patio that will take approximately 3 days to complete. This will entail the use of a jackhammer and other construction noise in the morning hours starting approximately at 7:30 am. We apologize for any inconvenience that this will cause to your sleep, concentration, and/or relaxation.
It is not our intent to cause distress in your daily lives in this quiet neighborhood, but it clearly will. I hope you will accept our advanced apology.
Sincerely (names and phone number)
The jackhammering happened as noted but, guess what?It didn’t bother us at all. Both my husband and I were working in close proximity and could hear it clearly, but we had no trouble adjusting. Our attitudes toward these neighbors had clearly shifted, too.
The power of consideration–expressed through clear writing–made all the difference. Thanks, neighbor!