Changing one's mind about something that disturbs me

So, talking about morality, would you consider this immoral (lying, breaking a promise):

I had a conversation with my new neighbors about smoking. My bedroom window goes to the same small airway as their front door, and they had the door open to air their apartment out at the same time as I had my bedroom window open, making cigarette smell come into my room, which I am ver ysensitive about…
They are a fmaily of three, with a small child, only he smokes. They said something like of course they can also open the window on the other side of the apartment, but of course because of the child they must air out well.
Which I understood and I started feeling guilty so I said, of course, bbecause of the child you must, so don’t NOT air because of me when you must.
Hm, but then I realized that the smell was really strong and I realized that I had my rights too so I told them anyway, we must find a compromise, or something like that, because my health is also important, etc…
I hope that was ok? They seemed to understand and said they wouldn’t have that door open too long, would more use the wondow on the other side.
I feel a bit guilty because at first I kind of like “allowed them” to but then realized how bothersome that would be and kind of “took that back” again?
Was that immoral of me,w hat do you think?

I must add that I did apologize more than once to them that I had said it differently first and explained to them.

You shouldn’t have to tolerate smoke coming into your own home if it is offensive to you.

While I always believe in a business owner’s rights to regulate the behavior that goes on in his business (as to whether he allows smoking or prohibits it) and the government should stay out of it, in this case, we’re talking about your home.

In the case of a restaurant or a bar, you could always choose to go someplace else. Not so in this case. So I think you should stand firm on keeping your own environment pleasant.

It’s kind of a temporary home for both parts.
But I may well be here for a longer time, and they too, so… I also feel I have the right to be able to open my bedroom windown without smoke coming in.

I do hope that it usually won’t be a problem and it will rarely happen that we air at the same time… I just felt guilty for at fierst kind of being too generous and then taking it back again… like it would make me a liar.

In any case thank you for replying :slight_smile:

You don’t have to apologize for standing up for your health. Your new neighbors sound very nice and willing to work with you about the smoking. You should consider buying a small fan just for that area, and if the smoke gets to be too much, you can blow it back outside.

I will start off by saying that I absolutely detest cigarettes. In my perfect world, they would be banned completely. They stink. They make people sick. That nasty smell gets into peoples’ clothes and hair and follows them around wherever they go.

That being said and assuming smoking is legal in your own home, I think it is reasonable for a person to open the window and let smoke out. Of course, you can always close your window if it is bothering you, just as if they were cooking stinky fish, or the trash dumpster was particularly rank. If you asked them nicely and they agree to make an accomadation for you, that’s great, but I wouldn’t say you have a “right” to not have smoke come in your window. It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong by asking and I’m glad that it’s working out.

I also think it was ok that I asked.
I didn’t speak angrily at them or anything either, and we stayed friendly all the time, even laughing.

My moral question was just about changing my mind, at first being more lenient and then realizing it is a bigger probelm anyway .
I don’t know maybe I am being too scrupulous about that aspect, I have had that problem before.

Hello Kathrin.

I don’t know how things work in Switzerland, but here in the States if the landlord permits smoking you haven’t a legal say in the matter of what your neighbor’s do. To complain if you haven’t a legal right to would be sinful because then you are trying to injure someone else’s good name or have them evicted by complaining which would do plenty of harm to them. The negligible amount of “harm” their second hand smoke does you doesn’t entitle you to work against them because they smoke.

If on the other hand and there is a smoking ban at that particular place then certainly you can mention it to the landlord but you still need to forgive them their little trespass. They have a small child and if you work to have them evicted, you will be doing graver harm to them then their smoke does you.

Our neighbor’s can become a means of much sin in our lives especially if we think we are “better” than they are. Jesus told us to love our neighbors and even our enemies. It can be challenging when it comes to the little things that annoy us. Offer it up for their conversion. It can become a silent aid to both you and them if you say a prayer for them and you whenever you smell cigarette smoke.


Dear Glenda,

ok now I must reply to what you wrote. You took much effort in replying… and I am afraid we are not seeing the situation in the same way.
Ok some points:

  1. I am neither in Switzerland nor in the US now, but I think it probably doesn’t matter :slight_smile:

  2. no, smoking is not banned there

  3. I am very close to the people who rent these places, and they know my problems with smoking, and as I saw the landlady today I did mention, more apologetically, that the smoking problem has come up again. I honestly do not think that I sinned by saying that, as I did not say something bad about them, was rather apologetic, and nobody will be evicted because of this nor is it a secret that they smoke. The landlady only kindly tried to offer a solution and I don’t think it will ruin anybody’s name. And I didn’t tell her because I wanted to talk bad about those people, but because I felt guilty myself and wanted to ask her if it was ok that I had talked to the neighbors (it was ok)

  4. having smoke in one’s bedroom for a non-smoker really is not something easily tolerable; I guess if there was no alternative I’d rather look for another place. Fortunately I can air out the room over the hallway, if worse comes to worst, but I don’t think talking to them was sinful, nor talking to the landlady as it was no “telling on somebody”, as there is no secret and they didn’t do anything wrong and not a question of ruining somebody’s name.

  5. there is nothing to forgive as they did not trespass. It is only a constructive problem in the way the house is built. And no, I am not blaming the housebuilders either, I am not blaming anybody, I jus hope it will work out for everybody :slight_smile:

Sorry now I had to defend myself a little bit… ;)))) And if I came around as too defensive now please do forgive me.

I feel a bit guilty because at first I kind of like “allowed them” to but then realized how bothersome that would be and kind of “took that back” again?
Was that immoral of me,w hat do you think?

No, in this case you are not, as we would call in pre-PC days, an “Indian giver”.

You tried to make a compromise you thought initially would address the problem, but realized it wouldn’t work out. Nothing wrong with reversing yourself in light of new knowledge.

As an avid pipe smoker, I’ve accepted that that makes me something of a pariah in modern society, so instead of insisting on my rights, I usually indulge outdoors far from the maddening crowds, and on those few occasions when others are around, I ask permission and put it out immediately if anyone is offended.

and I hope I am not sinning about writing about this here, but since nobody of you knows that family or where exactly I am staying I hope that was ok

Dear Glenda I did not want to imply that I am better than they are.
I don’t think this was an issue here.
I think such things that are not legally regulated in a place can still be talked over among the neighbors. Just as I think it would be ok to KINDLY ask somebody to turn the music down if it is really very loud, even if legally they would be allowed to have it on because there are no house rules.
It is all a matter of kindness and intent.

Here I must really defend myself. Even if I did complain about somebody, I would not do so with the intent of injuring their name.
I always hope that things work out for the best for everyone. I do not want to harm anyone.
That makes a big difference in whether something is sinful or not.

Openly talking about a concern with the neighbors (which is of course often, if possible, better than complaining about them, even if I legally did have a right to do so) is not something sinful I think.

Peace :slight_smile:

p.s. neither did I want to write anything “bad” about them here.
They made the impression of a very nice family to me, and the person who smokes as well as the others did not know that my window was right there.

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