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16 Things Your Neighbor Secretly Knows About You

Without even realizing it, you may be giving away info about yourself, your family, and your lifestyle. Here's what your neighbor might secretly know about you.

1 / 16
Newspaper in a mail slotStGrafix/Shutterstock

You’re away on vacation

Signs that you’re away on vacation include newspapers piling up on your driveway or front stoop, mail overflowing from the mailbox, and darkened windows. So if you don’t want the fact that you’re away on vacay to be obvious, arrange with the post office to hold your mail and for your newspaper delivery to be suspended, and set some of your indoor lamps to turn on and off automatically with a timer. But don’t leave your outdoor lights on 24/7 as that’s a dead giveaway you’re not home to turn them off.

2 / 16
American flagLeonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

Your political leanings

How you decorate the outside of your house offers your neighbors subtle clues about your party registration. For example, if you fly an American flag outside your house, it’s a sign you might lean toward the right. But if you post political signage on your front lawn, your neighbors will be able to assume, pretty much without a doubt, who you’ll be voting for in the next election. Here are 13 very personal details your house reveals about you.

3 / 16
remoteConcept Photo/Shutterstock

What you like to watch on TV

What you watch on television can be tracked by your provider, so to keep your information private, you can turn off data sharing in your TV settings. What you watch on television can also be tracked by nosy neighbors who can see into your windows. So if you want to keep your television choices private, consider placing your television on a wall that can’t be seen directly from the street or from a neighbor’s window. And consider privacy-enhancing window treatments.

4 / 16
Closeup of man's hands on laptop keyboard while sitting on the couch at home, copy spaceProstock-studio/Shutterstock

Your online shopping habits

Shopping online is super-convenient; it’s also a super-convenient way for your neighbors to know your shopping habits, especially if the delivery person leaves your packages waiting for you on your doorstep or outside of your garage. If you don’t like the idea of your neighbors knowing your online shopping habits, some online retailers allow you to purchase online and pick up in person. Of course, that’s not quite as convenient, so you’ll have to decide where to strike the balance. Your neighbors aren’t the only ones who know a lot about you—find out the secrets your mail carrier can suss out.

5 / 16
Front of four red cupsNawachon Suwanhungsakul/Shutterstock

Your kids are having parties when you’re not home

Even smart teens do stupid things, and your neighbors will probably know before you do if your kids are having parties when you’re not home. But if you use these tips to build trust with your neighbors, you may be able to get the scoop on what’s happening at your house when you’re not around.

6 / 16
Young puppy of beagle at home. Looking at windowPeter Kirillov/Shutterstock

Your pet is out of control

When your pet is out of control your neighbors usually notice—even if they don’t complain to you directly. Signs of an out-of-control pet include excessive barking and/or your pet roaming freely throughout the neighborhood. If it’s your neighbor’s pet that is out of control, find out how to deal with a barking dog that’s not yours.

7 / 16
Detail of a car entering through garage door Hadrian/Shutterstock

You lost your job

If you’re suddenly home during the day whereas you never were in the past, your neighbors may suspect you’ve lost your job. There may be nothing you can do about it other than keeping a low profile, but if you can network with them regarding new job opportunities, it might not be such a bad thing. These are the 13 things your credit card company knows about you.

8 / 16
Two Young Delivery Men In Uniform Unloading Furniture From VehicleAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

You’re having money problems in general

If you let your house or your yard fall into disrepair, or if you’re selling off your belongings (which might be apparent if you have U-Hauls pulling up to your house and driving off with your leather sofa and your 60-inch television), your neighbors may suspect you’re having money problems, whether or not you are. If you are, in fact, having money problems, there may be nothing you can do about this, but hopefully, your neighbors will be kind and supportive, rather than nosy and invasive.

9 / 16
Beautiful bunch of roses on a grey background for a funeralSamsamproductions/Shutterstock

There’s been a death in the family

When there are a lot of cars parked in the vicinity of your house, it could mean that you’re celebrating something (a graduation, for example). But if the cars continue to appear for several days in a row, and if the people coming to visit are dressed somberly and carrying casseroles, your neighbors may suspect that there’s been a death in your family.

10 / 16
blue and pink balloons on gray wallpralongpol/Shutterstock

There’s a new baby in the family!

If you festoon your front door with pink or blue balloons, a giant cardboard cutout of a stork, or banners saying “Congratulations! It’s a Boy!” (or girl), you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your neighbors are going to know you have a new baby. If you live in an apartment, and the walls are thin, you can be pretty sure they’ll know even if you don’t decorate your front door. These are the secrets teachers know about your kids and you don’t.

11 / 16
kid white blank t-shirt on green background, cloth hanger on grass.CactusStudio/Shutterstock

You’re having family problems

Some family problems are easy to keep private. Others, not so much, particularly when they involve high drama. For example, a contributor to Reddit’s Nosy, Meddlesome Neighbor community recalls the day she arrived home from work to see her neighbor’s adult son (she refers to him as a “deadbeat”) locked out of his house, all of his belongings thrown all over the front yard. “It was raining,” she writes, and the son was standing around, making phone calls and shouting.

12 / 16
Pest Control Worker Spraying Pesticide outside the houseLet Geo Create/Shutterstock

You’re having critter problems

When the exterminator comes to call, it could be preventative, or it could be in response to an infestation. Either way, if your neighbors notice, they may assume the worst. That being said, if you need an exterminator, it would be a good deed on your part to let your neighbors know, especially if your houses are close together or your children or pets interact. And if you see an exterminator parked outside your neighbor’s house, it might be a good time to make your own appointment for an exterminator to visit because critters tend to be very neighborly! These are the 15 things your exterminator won’t tell you.

13 / 16
close up of white shirt and red lipstick on itPicsfive/Shutterstock

You’re having an affair

On the Nosy Neighbors of Reddit board, Reddit contributor, jaycentpants recalls looking out the window and seeing a middle-aged female neighbor having sex with a teenage boy in her outdoor hot tub. But if you’re engaging in extramarital hanky-panky in your own home, your neighbors may figure it out even if you don’t make an outdoor show of it, particularly if the same car keeps parking in your driveway… at the same time… on the same day… week after week.

14 / 16
16 Things Your Neighbor Secretly Knows About Youjorisvo/Shutterstock

You have some unusual personal habits

“He plays the organ at his church,” writes niobiumnnul on the Nosy Neighbors of Reddit board. “He sometimes wears an Afro wig when practicing on his keyboard at home. I have no idea what that is about.” We don’t know what it’s about either, but what we do know for certain is that your neighbors may be privy to your more unusual personal habits if you aren’t careful about keeping your shades drawn when engaging in them.

15 / 16
shelves full of files in a messy old-fashioned archiveImagewell/Shutterstock

That you’re a hoarder

If you’re a hoarder, eventually, you will run out of space, observes Lorne Caplan, who helps hoarders (and others) clear out their homes. And it becomes obvious when your garage is packed from floor to ceiling with your stuff, particularly if your garage has windows, or if your stuff has begun to overflow the house entirely. For example, Caplan once had a client who, after running out of space in his house, kept the overflow in—not one, but three vans he had parked in his driveway.

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Girl looking through the binoculars.n_defender/Shutterstock

That you’re a nosy neighbor!

Nosy neighbors always out themselves, it seems. Take, for example, this story told by Reddit contributor, Zenki240:
“I caught my neighbor looking through binoculars at me while I was looking through my binoculars at him. We don’t bring that up in conversation.” Next, find out the signs you’re a great neighbor yourself.

Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly on Reader's Digest, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other publications since 2008. She covers life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. Lauren is also an author of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.

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