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Tips on avoiding next door neighbor drama

The house next door to ours was empty for close to 3 years after we moved in. (The owner was asking way too much for it). Then in Nov. he rented it out to a couple about our age, w/ 4 kids like we have. The lady's hubby works until 3am, my husband works until 6-6:30am. She and I both are SAHM's. But that's where the similarities end. I do most of the work around the house. Shovel snow, mow the lawn, take out the trash. Hubby works and I don't really mind doing any of it. However the neighbor lady and her daughter both told me that she's not used to doing any kind of "labor". Since they moved in at the end of Nov., we've talked maybe a dozen times, and yet she's been to my house knocking on the door to ask me to "watch' her kids so she could go to the hospital w/ her son who had strep, and another time w/ her daughter who fell and had to get stitches, and to see if I could watch her kids while she went to the store to get something for a headache, and.... you get the picture. She's stood there and talked to me, while I shoveled her driveway for her, on more than one occasion, or watched me do it from the window, and I've never gotten so much as a "thank-you" EVER. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, I'm just trying to be neighborly, but, sometimes that snow has been VERY deep and heavy and I was shoveling both mine and her driveways. And a thank you would've been nice. She'll say things like I saw your dining room light was on, or I was wondering why your hubby was home so much, (hubby got hurt at work and was at home for 2 weeks), then she'll say, I was wondering how your hubby could be out of work, and yet you could afford to buy pizza. Or I knocked on your door, and could hear your little one running out of the room, but no one answered. Anyway, she's just one of those, kind of creepy, can I borrow ...... 24/7, type neighbors, and I want to distance myself from her, but w/ summer coming up I know it's gonna be hard. How do I nicely distance myself w/ out starting a war between us? Nothing is worse than a pissed off neighbor making life miserable. We own our house so it's not like we can move and I don't wanna be stuck inside all summer hiding out from her. Any idea's? P.s. she's preg. w/ their 5th and she said her last few preg. have been high risk. I have my hands full w/ my 4, and can't take on hers as well, while she's "resting" and I have a feeling that's what she's gonna be trying to pull pretty soon.

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Asked by HappyEndings at 12:33 PM on Mar. 26, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 18 (6,438 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • set your boundaries and stick to them

    Answer by ElenaC419 at 12:36 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • You shouldnt have shoveled her snow lol. I am sorry I know you were being nice and you sound nice enough but I would never do that. Its inviting drama when you have an unstable person and she sounds weird. I dont do labor either, but sheesh I would have brought you dinner or a nice bottle of wine if you had done that for me!
    I think you should just be as honest as you can be. Tell her you and your family are private people and although you do enjoy having decent neighbors you value your privacy and really need some advance notice for any play dates or what have you. It might ruffle her feathers, but you would be nice about it I am sure. That way she knows when she has her new baby she has to do it on her own.

    BTW the whole why is your husband home and how can you afford pizza thing would piss me off. I would have been less then kind.

    Answer by gemgem at 12:39 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • I don't do anything for the renting neighbors in our area. Not to say people who rent are bad but just I think the ones on my street are. most of us are home owners and we throw block parties all summer long but we don't invite the renters. I have apartments across the street and we don't do more than a friendly wave. There is a rental house catty cornered from us and they asked to borrow milk once. I told my husband to tell them we were out too but he gave him some. Now i have a creepy guy that stops over to ask for things. Sometimes if you lend a hand they take an arm. it sounds like she assumes that you guys are bff because you live next to each other. the next time she asks you to babysit I would just politely decline. Even if it is an emergency, she can find a family member or take the children with her.

    Answer by Liamsmom09 at 12:50 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • I don't think she's weird. She sounds lonley. It doesn't mean it's your job to keep her company 24/7 though. Not everyone runs their life the same. I think you are just going to have to set your boundaries. You can set boundaries without animocity. No one crosses your boundaries unless you allow them to. Gemgem is right, I wouldn't shovel her driveway like that. Once in awhile my neighbor is zealous with the snowblower and I appreciate it, but I never expect it.

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 12:51 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • I would just start being more standoffish, not in a mean way, just distant, you know? Don't offer any favors, and when she asks, be too busy. Get her used to you saying no, and she won't be so quick to show up at your door first thing, hopefully. You can still do something for her occasionally, but don't feel pressured or obligated to do them, and know that you always have the option to either make up an excuse or continue with whatever you were doing before she interrupted. That's something that drives me up the wall- when people act like you HAVE to do these things for them or like it's not a big deal that you are using precious time to do something for them.

    Answer by lovingmy4babies at 2:02 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • Liamsmom, I think that you seem to be a genuinly bad person! I teach my kids to be kind to everyone even renters...LOL Why do you think that they are not worth your time? I am very glad that I dont know you! Have you ever thought that they rent b/c one of them is military, or they have a job whee they frequently move? BAD PERSON! Anyway OP I would try to be kind, but explain to hr that you are feeling overwhelmed and ou cant watch her kids right now! good luck sweetie!

    Answer by JoLee12345 at 5:53 PM on Mar. 26, 2011

  • I didn't say all renters are bad. Just some of the ones on my street. That doesn't make me a bad person. I grew up in only renting homes and I can honestly tell you that even I would not want to live next to my family.In fact we had a neighbor post a sign on her door saying" I am not your babysitter and if you want to use the phone it will cost you a dollar." We have people who I know for sure are dealing drugs and ones that through parties all hours of the night( and just got kicked out).Those arer bad neighbors, not bad people.

    Answer by Liamsmom09 at 9:15 AM on Mar. 27, 2011

  • I don't know. I've never encouraged "neighborly" behavior since my DS was terrorized and bullied by the neighbors. Just make yourself "unavailable" and she'll get the hint.


    Answer by 1smartcookie at 2:14 PM on Mar. 28, 2011

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