Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: I'm a third wheel on the 24th floor

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | October 13, 2010 - 11:31AM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,
My husband and I are friendly with two other couples in our building. We live on the 24th floor and they are next-door neighbors on the 21st. You might think three floors would not make such a difference but lately I feel like a third wheel. We saw them out for drinks together and they didn't invite us, they are planning a vacation together this summer... It is making the times that the three of us are together somewhat awkward. Do I address the issue and, if so, how? We all get along so well!
Third Wheel Three Floors Up

Dear Third Wheel,
Though I doubt most co-op board presidents would agree, Sociology 101 teaches us that proximity predicts friendship. In this case three floors may make all the difference.

The couples on the 21st floor have more opportunity to run in to one another and may avail themselves of those opportunities without always thinking to call or include you. They may have something else in common that you don't share, be it business or personal. They could be swingers for all you know! ...Or, and I am sorry to be the one to say this, they may like you but not as much they like each other. You can certainly make more of an effort to establish relationships with the individuals or individual couples if you think it is worth it but this may just be the neighbor version of, "He's just not that in to you."

You may meet your BFF just down the hall from your apartment, raise your kids together, travel together, etc. or a neighbor may just be a 'building buddy' - an occasional coffee, a rainy day playdate, and someone to whom you wish 'Happy Birthday' on Facebook when one or both of you has moved on. Either way, enjoy the relationship for what it is and accept it for what it is not. A 'building buddy' is infinitely more pleasant than most of the neighbors I read about in my 'Dear Ms. Demeanor' inbox.


Ms. Demeanor

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.

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