More than divorce + disputes over maintenance + access; More than family arguments over the Will; More than big set piece commercial disputes between blue chip companies. There is one standout issue that heads the list of mediation topics – neighbour disputes.
It could be about Noise or Boundaries or Trees but all share the same characteristic – it is deep seated + often venomous. And it challenges a Mediator
Neighbours falling out is about two matters; first, the dispute itself – turn down the TV or “these 3 feet of grass are mine” or “don’t park across my driveway” – and, second, physical closeness + daily contact.
Step back for a moment + consider children access + maintenance agreements. One or other of the partners has moved out. Or, a big pipeline dispute where the parties are in different offices. The parties do not see, hear or encounter each other three or four times a day as occurs with neighbours – where proximity matters. They are reminded of each other by a front door closing or a car ignition switch being turned on or an engine being revved up.
And your mood changes. Red mist descends. Palpitations increase as the hourly/daily irritant returns + affects you. No question – the dispute becomes centre spot as you go about your daily chores.
Neighbour disputes are often dismissed for their apparent triviality + the cause of a dispute is often small, even petty but they can take hold of your mind set, set the tone for the way in which you interact – not simply with your neighbour but with your friends and family. Your sparkle goes + you can become a person to avoid.
Tomorrow – the Dispute