Listen, Learn, and Love - 3 Keys to Harmony

Dr. Joan's Advice

Date: 12/08/2012

By: Dr. Joan

Subject: Mending Fences with Neighbors

Dear Neighbor One and Neighbor Two:

It seems the two of you rent separate apartments in the same building. An outside entry door to the building was faulty and did not lock securely. You had a dispute over whether that door had been repaired. Each of you argued your position, shouting back and forth, while other neighbors listened to you since all were sitting in the common area.

Now, I am going to feel like Dr. Seuss when I address you as “Neighbor One” and “Neighbor Two.”

Neighbor One, you took a friend with you and went to the door in question. You stepped outside and tested it, and lo and behold, it was locked from the outside. Your friendly witness let you back in. You returned to the group in the common area and apologized to Neighbor Two, saying that you had been wrong when you had been certain that the door was NOT repaired. However, you only apologized for being wrong about the door, not for what you said during the shouting march.

Neighbor Two, you are still miffed because earlier during the argument, One had accused you of being senile. You say that since you had been right all along and the door HAD been repaired, One had no right to call you “senile.” You are reluctant to accept One’s apology and forgive her for impugning your reputation.

Advice to Two: Knock on One’s door and tell her you accept her apology and you also forgive her for casting aspersions upon you. While you are at it, take her a little treat. You will make her smile.

Advice to One: When Two shows up at your door, as I’m sure she will, make it clear that you DO NOT think she is senile, that you labeled her as such while you were angry, and you apologize for your remark. Then invite her in to share the treat together.

Dr. Joan’s Harmony Key: Be slow to judge. Be quick to forgive.

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