I almost got into a fight with my neighbor, suggestions?

I was doing laundry the other night. As I was walking back from the laundry room I noticed a neighbor kneeling by a door leading to the car garage. I didn’t think much about it at first, but I realized this was weird: He wasn’t a worker working on the place, it was the middle of the night and he was kneeling down staring at a door. I look back at him as I enter my apartment and he is staring at me.

Weird. I walk out there in the next few minutes to take trash out to the dump. I check the door out as I do. He apparently is waiting by the door in the dark (still). As I stop to examine it, he starts talking loudly and aggressively, walking towards me. He starts cursing at me and insulting me in every sentence. He was wondering if I wanted to fight. In my personal opinion, there wasn’t much of a difference between him and a thug in that moment. He seemed like he might be drinking.

So my question is, given the circumstance, what do you think I should do?

I figure what I should do is alert the apartment manager about it, but ask him not to do anything about it yet. I may say that if there is an ongoing problem with the guy then I will put in a more ‘formal complaint.’ It may just be an isolated incident. Therefore maybe I shouldn’t give the guy trouble. In any case, if in the future I come across the guy and he is still aggressive towards me then that is when I will ‘officially’ ask the apartment manager to do something.

That wasn’t a fight. He was threatening you with an unprovoked attack (unless your stare has a way of driving someone into a violent mood.) Report it as a near-altercation.

You’re right, it was a near altercation. I didn’t stare either, I just glanced at him for a fraction of a second (tried to sneak it in but he was staring at me and so he saw me)

Drunk asshole who asks if you wanna go when he catches you glancing his way? I don’t envy your having him as a neighbor.

For now, I’d just keep my distance, but be wary of any possible involvement with him. If he instigates anything, then I’d make a serious complaint.

Definitely report it to your apartment manager. If this guy is causing problems the more reports they get the better and the sooner they can evict him.

And report it in writing, with maybe a copy to your local police. That may be overkill, but if your description is accurate this won’t be the first such incident, nor the last, and somewhere along the line someone’s going to get hurt.

By the way, by threatening you in this way I believe he has already committed a crime, although I am not an expert. Another reason to check with your local police.

Jump him when his back’s turned.

That really is weird (and frightening). You did nothing wrong; he was acting very strange, and we all look at someone doing something strange to see what the hell they’re up to. I agree with the others who say he was drunk (or high), and I would not be comfortable living with this aggressive weirdo in my building, either.

Going to the police does sound a bit like overkill, but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea to me, either. Maybe you could phrase it as asking for their advice on this situation - it really was a strange, dangerous situation.

Oh yeah, definitely alert your apartment manager. Your neighbour was way over the line, acting like that.

This. These are the people who eventually do hurt or kill someone - not necessary the ones who are touchy about ordinary infractions of their space, but the ones who go out of their way to find someone else’s actions challenging. They’re looking for a fight and sooner or later they’ll [del]get[/del] take one.

I’ve had dicey situations with neighbors a number of times, and it’s much worse when you’re both homeowners (because you’re pretty well anchored down together). It won’t be pleasant to report this and live with the backlash, but it will be a lot safer… and I’d gather you can move as a last resort.

ETA: There’s also the question of exactly what he was doing there - I can’t see it being legal or desirable. Sounds like he was somehow casing the door/spot/view for other reasons.

This. And don’t tell the management how to handle it. Let them do what they do.

A friend of mine just moved into a new apt and heard serious arguing between a man and a woman from a nearby apt. He called the management, and they suggested that my friend call the police next time. Which was a good suggestion because people keep loaded guns around and stuff.

BUT the complaint (what’s the difference between a *complaint *and a formal complaint in this sitch? Nothing IMHO) was one of many from many other tenants over a period of a year. The couple was just kicked out for breaking the lease, which had a paragraph about disturbances.

He was up to something and you interrupted it. This displeased him to the point of violence.

So I would treat him like a strange person who hides by doors in the dark.

Have you encountered him before this night, and did he seem more normal? If you occasionally see him around and he seems nice enough, it might be worth to just ask “what’s up, you seemed a little out of sorts the other night, sorry if I startled you.” Maybe this was something out of character for him, and you can defuse the situation with a friendly comment.

If this was your only encounter with him or if you ever get weird or unfriendly vibes from him, then forget this advice and go with everyone else saying - report the incident to management.

Do you live in a place where concealed/carry is legal?

One instance is simply not to verify that it was a hostile act, but either calling the police or complaining to the management will definitely ensure hostility from him.

He could be feeling hostile to his girlfriend, reacting to the way you looked back at him, hung over, talking to himself…

I would report it, in a friendly, “just so you know this happened” way. In case they’re building a case against him, or if other neighbors have had run-ins that you don’t know about and the management needs to build a case.

I had a friendly incident with a neighbor once, and still reported it because it was weird. I came home around 2am from work, with a bag of groceries plus my regular bag, so hands were full. As I rounded the second landing on my way to the 4th floor, I heard movement and rustling and became very wary. I never run into neighbors that time of morning. It was a new neighbor’s live-in boyfriend, he was sitting on the landing with a takeout food bag. The movement and rustling I heard was him standing up and picking up the bag to get out of my way. He said his girlfriend had kicked him out. I didn’t have much to say to that, so I mumbled something about maybe a friend’s couch would be better than the stairs, and went on my way.

I wrote a quick email to Russ, the go-to guy for neighbor issues, just as a heads-up in case they had trouble with that unit in the future. They hadn’t even been there for a month when that happened. Plus, not that I have anything against it, really, but damn they smoked a lot of weed. I’ll take that smell over tobacco every time, it just seems that when the hallway always smells like weed from just one apartment, maybe they have other judgement issues.

Haven’t smelled anything in the hall in a week or so - the first of the month was last weekend - I wonder if they moved out. If so, they were there barely 5 months.

Even if (or maybe especially if) you’ve seen him before and this is an aberration, please involve the police. There are a variety of reasons why a person may begin spiraling down, from mental illness to jealousy to addiction to goodness-knows-what. The first instinct we have is to not make a mountain out of a molehill, and wait to see if it gets “really bad.”

This is the wrong answer. First because we ourselves begin to adapt to the weirdness, and don’t always realize how much stress it’s causing until we are damaged by it; and second because the actions for which the person is finally punished are far worse, and the consequences are concordantly serious. If we get the police involved while it’s still just a threat, or a misdemeanor, then the person may “hit bottom” with whatever the driving problem is and deal with it before they’ve done something life-changing-ly damaging.

Helping someone hit bottom as early as possible is a gift, not an overreaction.

You should report it because you have no idea if anyone else has ever reported him before and if so, how many have done that.

Your report may be the one that pushes mgmt to evict him.

If you’re worried about him finding out it was you, then you can always file an anonymous report or report it saying you are a citizen who lives in a diff building and was just walking by your building walking his dog or something.

Here’s the thing: you probably won’t regret reporting him. But if something does happen, you’ll regret NOT saying anything.

Maybe he had a stroke or this was an adverse reaction to medication(s)?

Several decades ago while out of town attending a company school, a normally civil and polite fellow student went absolutely batshit crazy shortly after arriving in the morning. He began arguing loudly with everyone who talked to him. Waving his arms, spittle flying, swearing, rambling in a incoherent manner, I thought he had suddenly become a Cubs fan (sorry - just kidding). Police and EMTs were called. They managed to talk him into a ride to the nearest hospital where it was discovered that he had suffered some kind of minor stroke (the instructors term).

While we eventually felt sorry for him and his family, we all felt threatened at the time it was occurring.