Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I just bought a condo.
Most of our neighbors are really nice and have been respectful (for the most part). However, an individual in the unit directly below ours has been doing something that’s unsettling and disturbing to me.
He screams and shouts random words — for reasons unknown to us. Sometimes I can make out what he’s saying, and other times I can’t.
I can hear him from every room in my unit, but mostly in my bedroom.
This occurs during late-evening hours, but sometimes at other times, too.
We’ve seen this individual before while getting our mail and walking the dog. We have tried to say “hello,” but he just ignores us and looks at the ground before retreating back to his unit.
Maybe he is disabled or suffering from a psychological condition. I’d like to pay him a casual visit to let him know he is disturbing us, but my boyfriend thinks I’m overreacting.
I don’t want to berate him for being loud and disrespectful. I simply want to let him know that we can hear him, in case he is unaware. Part of me wants to believe he’s just really into sports or video games, but I still don’t think we should have to sit back and just deal with it, especially if his screaming is directed at another person living with him and the situation could potentially be dangerous. Please advise! — Earplugs 24/7
Dear 24/7: If you have a credible belief that your downstairs neighbor is harming someone, you should act on your concern by calling the police.
In the absence of that belief, before politely notifying your neighbor that you can hear him, you could discreetly raise this issue with your condo board — they might be aware of his situation and be able to educate you about what is going on.
There is a brain disorder called Tourette Syndrome (or “Tic Disorder”) that causes people to vocalize in ways like you describe; these are called vocal “tics,” and may also be accompanied by sudden physical movements. This is not a psychological, but a neurological illness.
This is from the website from the Tourette Association of America (Tourette.org): “Tics can be complex. Vocal tics (for example, coughing, sniffing, throat-clearing, or yelling out a word or phrase) and multiple motor tics (for example, blinking or shrugging the shoulders) must both be present for a diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome (TS), although they might not always happen at the same time.”
“Tics may appear to be purposeful. However, tics are neurological in nature. They are often described as urges that must be completed. Even when they seem to be expressed in reaction to a current situation, they are not within the control of the [person] with TS.”
Obviously, you should do whatever you can in your own home to mitigate or muffle the sound. Rugs (or more rugs) might help.
Dear Amy: I am the parent of a senior in high school.
With everything being shut down due to the coronavirus, my senior is very concerned about graduation. My question is: What do I do about the graduation announcements?
Do I go ahead and send them out, or wait until the school has decided whether or not to cancel the ceremony?
If I send them and the ceremony is canceled, what do I do then? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: When graduation draws closer and you are certain that your child is graduating, go ahead and send out announcements.
Announcements aren’t generally considered to be invitations to the graduation ceremony, but are justifiably proud “announcements” that your high schooler has completed secondary education.
Your school will direct you and other parents regarding the graduation ceremony.
If you proactively invite people to the ceremony and it is canceled, simply contact each invited person to say so. We are all currently experiencing and expecting cancellations, and people are understandably disappointed, but generally very understanding.
You might want to think about planning and hosting a celebration — perhaps in late summer.
Dear Amy: “Ignored” was upset by being ghosted by companies after interviewing for a position.
I have been a recruiter for many years. I would never let an applicant flounder in this way. Responsible recruiters give honest feedback, and always let an applicant know where they stand in terms of the hiring process. — Recruiter
Dear Recruiter: Yes! Recruiters are such an asset to a job seeker — and good ones (like you) can offer sound coaching, honest assessment, and encouragement along the way.