Wednesday, August 19, 2009
ASK LAUREN August 19, 2009
Brian in Alaska asks, We have this really pushy neighbor. She totally tells us what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. She is really generous, but she gives us things we don't really want or can't use. She would be mostly friendly if she wasn't so pushy, and Stephanie wants to make sure we are on good terms with the neighbors. I really can't stand her, but recognize we wouldn't want her for an enemy. How to handle her intrusions into our business?
Ooh, excellent question! I too have a nosy neighbor. She is kind of a, how do you say? Bee-otch. Yes. She is. But that is another story. In addition to being mean, she is also just nosy and very chatty and the kind of person who takes a "Hi, how you doin?" to mean an invitation to a 30-minute conversation. And by conversation, I mean she talks for 30 minutes while I nod my head.
Usually I just try to avoid talking to her whenever possible. You don't want to really piss her off, because, as you said, she's still your neighbor. You don't really want to rock the boat or do anything to make her mad. I'm sure she is a nice person with good intentions, she just takes it too far, to the point where her "advice" might sound patronizing and commanding.
So avoid her if you can. If John gets caught talking to our neighbor, I usually go rescue him by telling him I need his "help" inside. If you do have convos with her, keep them short. Make a point to end the conversation with an "I'm sorry, but I have to (check on the kids, go inside, etc etc)". Basically, you have to train her not to talk to you. If you're outside and she starts talking, go inside. Move to the other side of the house. Say you need to concentrate on what you're doing. You need to get her to subconsciously understand that you are not friends and you don't really want to talk. If she tries to give you something, say that you don't need it/can't accept it/already have one and go inside immediately. Don't give any concrete excuses or any information about why you need to leave the yard, go in the house, not accept her castoffs. Just leave. This way, she won't have any info to latch on to, you won't necessarily be lying, and she will be forced to redirect her pushy ways elsewhere. Maybe to her other neighbor. Score one for you!
If that doesn't work, say something that will shock her so bad she doesn't want to talk to you anymore. I used to use this all the time on my parents. (Haha, JUST KIDDING MOM! (or am I?))