Here in NYC, our social sardine existence breeds an inescapable awareness of certain next-door activities: 3B vacuums every night at 2 a.m, 3D orders alarming quantities of Harry’s Burritos—and each are all too aware that 3A (you) throw very well-attended, very enviable parties.
So just how obligated should you feel when it comes to inviting the neighbors?
That depends on your objective:
1. Damage control
That slim white envelope under the door serves as a disarming alert that a small Saturday night ruckus is about to ensue.
“If the party gets lively, and they were invited, they will be less likely to complain,” says Samantha von Sperling, a New York City image consultant who calls herself a ‘master of finessing one’s social grace.’
After all, she notes, few things are more irritating than “when you hear people across the hall having a really good time and you weren’t invited.”
2. Social insurance
Inviting neighbors to a party you’re already giving is a fairly effortless way to build a personal community within a mass of people, observes etiquette expert Gloria Starr.
Especially if you live in a large building, “it is important to maintain relationships with those close to us, for emergencies and for safety,” says Lyudmila Bloch, author of The Golden Rules of Etiquette at The Plaza.
She believes it’s practically antisocial not to invite nearby neighbors to large gatherings, whereas the world doesn’t need an invitation if it’s just cheese and wine with a few intimate friends.
(Note: If you don’t like your neighbors much, then they probably don’t want to be invited as much as you don’t want to invite them. You can compromise with a warning that you will be making a bit of noise—but this approach can also backfire.)
3. Good PR
Neighborly invitations are a defining public relations move if you entertain frequently: You can either be the loud neighbor or the cool, social, hospitable neighbor.
“We live in quite cold and closed quarters,” says Sperling, “and to be the one who reaches out and builds relationships will make him or her a hero in their building, even if it is on a microscopic level.”
Friending your celebrity neighbor
Most likely to have bed bugs: Poor old Swedish hipsters
Why potheads make better neighbors
Why anonymous letters don't work