12 Secrets Your Next-Door Neighbor Will Never Tell You

Just because someone lives near you doesn’t mean they like the way you live.

man and woman chatting near the fence
Updated May 28, 2024
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Unless you live in a seriously rural area and there’s no one around for miles, odds are you have to get along with your next-door neighbors — or at least pretend to in order to keep the peace. That might mean waving at someone when you don’t really want to, for example.

But there are some things that your neighbor will never say or admit they know, especially if it makes things awkward or implicates them in some way. 

No wonder so many folks have doorbell cameras to keep an eye on things!

They think your decor is ugly

igor_kravtsov/Adobe girl hanging a wreath on a gray wall

Perhaps it’s the color of your house, which you lovingly selected and painted on the exterior. Or maybe it’s your seasonal decor, which gives Clark Griswold a run for his money. 

You may like and appreciate your aesthetics, but there’s a chance your neighbor thinks they’re ugly or tacky. But will they tell you if that’s the case? Probably not.

They wish you'd take better care of the place

OceanProd/Adobe green tarp protecting roof from hurricane damage

We sincerely hope you’re not the kind of neighbor who doesn’t mow the lawn until it’s 6 inches high or who lets pizza boxes pile up in the window. After all, it’s important to take good care of your property in order to maintain its worth.

Unless your place is so bad that it’s pulling property values down in the neighborhood, this won’t come up in casual conversation with your neighbor. It’s just too embarrassing to have to tell you.

They got your mail by mistake and threw it away

gwimages/Adobe man getting mail from mailbox

While you can hope they won’t steal your Amazon packages off of the doorstop – again, doorbell cameras provide ample evidence of whodunnit – there’s a chance that your mail winds up at your neighbor’s place once in a while. And if that happens?

Well, if they don’t want to bother with bringing it over to you, they just might toss it in the trash and you’ll be none the wiser. But will they admit it? Nope.

They're using your WiFi

shurkin_son/Adobe elderly woman using laptop for remote work

This especially applies if you live in close quarters with your neighbor. Hopefully, you secure your internet and have it password-protected. But if you don’t? Well, don’t be surprised if your neighbor is piggybacking on your WiFi.

If it’s free and available, it stands to reason this could happen without your knowledge. Folks could even guess your password, so be careful when you come up with one.

They can see in through your windows

Africa Studio/Adobe woman opening curtains at home

Window treatments exist for a reason, and that’s both to control the amount of light that comes into your home and to provide you with privacy. But let’s face it, we’re not always the most careful when we’re puttering around inside of our homes.

Well, if your neighbor can see you through your windows when you’re doing your business, chances are it’s not something they want to bring up — with good reason.

They think your habits are weird

tab62/Adobe man getting ready to grill while drinking beer during winter season

Maybe you don’t think it’s odd to grill in your backyard in winter or put on shows for your antique doll collection, but your neighbor absolutely might. 

But no matter how odd you may be, they’re probably not going to comment on what they saw you doing — even if they’re judging it.

On the plus side, you probably think your neighbor’s habits are weird, too.

They don't really like your pet

DenisProduction.com/Adobe woman is punishing her dog

Your cat or dog may be the center of your universe, but not everyone is an animal fan. So, when you’re out walking with your dog (or perhaps your cat — it does happen), don’t assume that everyone wants to pet them.

If you do, your neighbor might go through the motions and placate you, never telling you they honestly don’t like your pet – and maybe you, either.

They hate your parking skills

Helena/Adobe car is parked near a wooden fence during a blizzard

This is for all of the folks who live in places where you have to parallel park on the street. There’s always one person in the neighborhood who leaves a little too much space between their car or the next (or too little).

If that’s you, trust that your neighbor is cranky about it, even though they don’t have the guts to say it to your face.

They hit your car

EdNurg/Adobe annoyed female driver

If you’ve ever had this happen to you then you know it’s the worst: You come out of your home or office and find that someone has hit your car. And alas, there’s no note on the windshield, meaning you’re on the hook for the cost of repairs.

If your neighbor is the culprit you would hope they would tell you — but trust that they very well might not.

They hate your yard signs

trongnguyen/Adobe election poster and campaign yard

We live in an especially divided time when folks on one side of the aisle have a hard time relating to the people on the other. And while people don’t hesitate to express themselves on social media or at meetings, you and your neighbors need to keep the peace.

So don’t be surprised if they hate your yard sign, whether it’s red or blue. And don’t be surprised if they don’t say as much, either.

They can hear you through the wall

ajr_images/Adobe man using glass to gossip through wall

If you live in a condo or an apartment building, you know all too well that you can hear your neighbor through the wall to varying degrees. That includes any time anyone is fighting, engaging in private activities, or even just going about day-to-day tasks.

To be fair, you probably don’t tell your neighbors you can hear them, too — it’s awkward.

They know about your indiscretions

Gorodenkoff/Adobe couple arguing and fighting violently

You may be hiding activities from your spouse, or perhaps your kids are sneaking out at night. 

Whatever kind of trouble your family is getting into, however, your neighbor probably can see when people are coming or going.

Perhaps it’s for the best that they don’t say anything about it to you — would you really want them to?

Bottom line

JackF/Adobe woman quarreling with male neighbor

Living together in a neighborhood or community isn’t always easy, especially when different kinds of people have to get along. 

That’s likely why, even if your neighbor is judging you and your habits, they keep it to themselves. They may have secrets themselves, like the fact that they're struggling to find ways to pay the rent every month.

However, if you're crossing lines that can harm people’s property values or that are too disrespectful to ignore, trust that someone is going to let you know. 

Even if the conversation is tough, some things do have to be dealt with.

Author Details

Cat Lafuente

Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.