In a situation where life unfolds under the constant gaze of neighbors, anything good that happens to a person is widely known to everyone else. Some people deliberately use the public space as a stage
, in order to boast about themselves and provoke envy.
Intense convictions about justice, to which many communal apartment dwellers subscribe, promote the arousal of such feelings of envy. In many societies (and very commonly in traditional Slavic cultures) people believe that an envious look may call forth malicious energy, attracting misfortune to the person who stimulated the envy. Those who believe in this ill-will (or "evil eye") not only avoid boasting, but even try to hide their acquisitions and achievements from others.
Envy is also harmful in its impacts on social relations. There are a number of ways to avoid its negative consequences: inviting neighbors to share a holiday treat or offering them a cup of coffee, freshly brewed in the communal kitchen; asking their opinion about a new coat. These symbolic means of sharing material gains, which always have the potential to stimulate envy, don't necessarily work (see the recorded story about how a sweater spoiled the relationship between neighbors).
Experiencing the everyday realities of communal apartments for many years provokes among certain people a morbid suspiciousness. Keen feelings about fairness and justice may combine with anxious preoccupation about potential invasions into one's private sphere, causing some people to track their neighbors' behavior closely (see the essay on spying).