If you’re used to living in a home of your own, then you might not be prepared for the
difference when you move into a retirement community, condo or apartment. But because
it’s easier to care for, and often more affordable, an apartment or condo could definitely be
in your future. That means you need to find a way to live comfortably in an environment
that can take some getting used to.
Know Your Boundaries Early
Everyone has their own idea of how multi-unit living should work. For some, it’s like a
college dorm with lots of opportunity for new friendships and short conversations. But
other people prefer to keep as much privacy and autonomy as possible—even in a multi-
unit setting. Know what you want straight out of the gate and determine what your
boundaries will be for conversation times, length of conversations, pop-in guests and so on.
Defend Your Boundaries
Once you’ve established to yourself what your boundaries are, you need to integrate them
into your daily life so that your neighbors begin to understand them and are less likely to
unknowingly violate them. Setting boundaries is difficult, especially when other people
don’t seem to have any boundaries at all. But if you allow people to push your boundaries,
they will not respect them and will consistently overstep. You don’t have to be rude or
defensive when presenting your boundaries, but you do need to be strong and consistent.
When your boundary has been reached and it’s time to end a conversation, have a kind way
of letting the other person know that you enjoyed talking with them but must get on with
Get Ready for Noise
Few apartments and condos are as quiet as single-family residence living. Depending on
your unit, you might hear your neighbor’s television, hear them taking showers, even hear
murmured conversations. While some loud noises, especially late at night or early in the
morning, are unacceptable and can be complained about, others are a natural part of living
with others. That means it’s important for you to learn to be patient and tolerate when
others are simply living with a normal noise level.
Multifamily unit living is all about being strong and learning to compromise. With practice
and determination, it’s something you can master without losing friends or making enemies.