Last week I moved into a lovely new apartment. I love my apartment. I am so excited to be here.
Yesterday, I got up to fix coffee and take the girls swimming before the guy came to set up the internet and phone. My 5 year old was excited and she jumped a few times.
A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was the downstairs neighbor.
SIX days. Six days we've lived here and I am already bothering the downstairs neighbor. SIX days. I could have been nicer. I could have been more apologetic. I was just so shocked and sad that we were already too loud after being here such a short period of time.
Maybe an hour later, I recieved a phone call from the apartment manager about the noise complaint. WHAT? Now I'm just angry. Why would the neighbor come talk to me AND file a complaint with the office. I tried to explain that my 5 year old had been spoken to numerous times about neighbors and keeping it down but she's 5. I was distraught. The manager wasn't nice. She lectured me about 'dropping things' and how in my lease agreement, people have the right to a peaceful environment. Jaw dropped.
Instead of being defensive, angry, hurt, and making assumptions...and making enemies, I decided to bring her a peace offering. My 5 year old picked out some cupcakes and a candle, flowers and a card. My 9 year old wrote a letter and they both signed it. I wrote how sorry we were that we were loud and that we would try to do better.
When we delivered the gift bag... Our neighbor was almost moved to tears. We had a heartfelt conversation and she apologized profusely for causing us stress.
It turns out, she never filed a complaint. She simply made a "harmless" post on facebook and the apartment manager saw it (they are friends) and took it upon herself to call me.
This brings up an entirely new issue with the management telling me a complaint was filed when it wasn't...but the neighbor is kind and sweet and we have a great relationship where it could have been very very bad.
She wrote a handwritten card to me, further apologizing, and brought the girls a bag of crafts and glowsticks and fun things. They immediately ran down to thank her. Now I'm thankful she is my neighbor.
I currently have a situation in my professional life very similar to this... a story is being shared about me that isn't true, only I have never been given the opportunity to have that face-to-face conversation and clear up the assumptions and misconceptions. It's amazing what a kind gesture can do... a little grace. An open heart and sincerity.
Abbey Robinson, ProDoula CD-Labor
Abbey is a birth and postpartum doula and placenta specialist in Dallas/Fort Worth and a mom to 4 children between the ages of 25 and 11.