We're all paying a lot of money to live in tiny boxes. These are our palaces of solitude. Our escape from busy sidewalks and crowded subways. No one will shove you here, or take your photo to send to a website. It's a place where you can fall apart, stare at the ceiling, BE YOU. You don't even have to wear pants. But all of this serenity can be ruined by just one rude neighbor... are YOU sullying someone's serene living space? Maybe you don't even realize it! Here are some tips that can bring down the murder rate, or at least the passive aggressive note-writing rate.

WALK SOFTLY

If you have someone living below you, keep that in mind. Are you aware of how loudly you're walking around up there? Even if it doesn't sound like stomping to you, it probably does to your downstairs neighbor. Please, we beg of you, put down area rugs to buffer the sound. Take your shoes off. Be aware of your stomping.

DON'T FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PARTY
Thinking about shoving a ton of people into your apartment for an all-night rager? Keep in mind that your frivolity may also be keeping some single mother who slaves away at two jobs from getting her brief moment of rest before going back to work at 5 a.m. What the hell are you celebrating, anyway? It's 2014. Maybe invite some people over to organize a direct action protest against the Keystone XL pipeline instead?

Of course, anarcho-syndalicist planning meetings can get heated and noisy too, so as a general rule, whenever you're having a big group over to your place for anything resembling a party (more than ten people + music = party), be a considerate human being and let your neighbor(s) know ahead of time. Settle on some ground rules and a general curfew with them. Also: invite them! Alternatively, you could just take the party to one of our city's many fine bars and nightlife establishments, thus supporting the local economy and sparing yourself a visit from the NYPD.

NO SMOKING

Seriously, just do not do this. Everyone can smell it, and it's harmful to them all. If for some reason it's still "okay" for you to smoke in your building, consider taking it to your fire escape, or better yet, all the way outside on the street. Any guests who come to visit you will also be thankful they aren't sitting in a stew of stale smoke. We also hear these new e-cigs are pretty amazing.

SHHHH, KEEP IT DOWN
Neighbor noise is the worst when you know it's a habitual thing that you will never escape, and there is nothing more aggravating than hearing a mumbling television set rippling through the walls. Similarly, your neighbor probably does not want to hear the crashing sounds of a Michael Bay movie, or that new album you just downloaded, or any outside noise. Do you really need to listen to something that loudly? Turn it down, or invest in a pair of wireless headphones.

There is one exception to the noise rule, however...

SEX NOISE
Go for it. Good for you. And if you're embarrassed that your neighbor(s) can definitely hear your totally natural pleasure-induced gasps, then the above does not apply in this one instance and you can turn on some slow jams. And if you're on the other side of the wall, be a good neighbor by allowing this to play out—maybe listen to something on your headphones for the next... two minutes or so?

DON'T BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE

Did your neighbor break one or all of the above etiquette rules? Knock on their door and have a civilized conversation about how you can create a better, more peaceful living situation for all involved. Your last resorts here should be the passive-aggressive note, the broomstick-to-the-ceiling, or calling the landlord.