Wedding Woes

Ignore him? Blast the music? Tell him, "Hey, can't talk"?

mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
edited April 15 in Wedding Woes

Dear Prudence,

We have an elderly neighbor next door, “John,” who we know is bored and lonely. He moved in about five years ago, and the first thing he did was build a waist-high deck from his back door that looks directly over our privacy fence. We call it “the observation platform.” We planted trees and shrubs to regain a sense of privacy, but every time we’re in our backyard he looks over the fence and starts hollering things like, “Working har, or hardly working?” Ugh. He’s trying to be friendly, but we want privacy! Often we just don’t respond, but on the occasions that we do, it’s just to say “Hi” and go back to whatever we were doing. He used to ask us for a lot of favors, like to borrow our lawn mower (which he’d return empty on gas), until we finally just told him it was broken. We’re happy to be friendly, but he wants to talk all the time. Every time we’re outside gardening or sitting on the deck, he starts shouting over the fence (“Hot enough for ya?”), or comes over through our yard to find out what we’re doing.

He wanders around the neighborhood and peers into everyone’s yards if they’re doing construction or paving their drive. I know that I need to set a firm boundary with him, and I know that I’ve bent over backward and spent a ton of money on plants and a yard guy to try to maintain our own privacy. So how do I do this? Is there a polite way to establish boundaries with a nosy neighbor like this? He’s even come into our yard before without an invitation, and I had to ask him to leave. My husband is annoyed by the guy, but doesn’t want to start a feud. I don’t want that either, but I do want to enjoy being outside our own home.

—Never “Just Saying Hi”

Re: Ignore him? Blast the music? Tell him, "Hey, can't talk"?

  • kvrunskvruns member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    This would be my nightmare. I go back and forth between thinking I should be more friendly in situations like this but also not want to be bothered. In this case it seems like the friendly ship has sailed and I'd probably be like them trying to hide. I'm just glad no one thinks I'm friendly enough to talk to IRL LOL 
    mrsconn23charlotte989875ei34
  • I hate this so much for LW.  I know the exact type of 'guy' this neighbor is and it literally makes my butthole clench.  I'd feel similarly to LW. 

    It also sounds like he's the neighborhood busybody.  He needs a friend, a club, group living...?  All of it shouldn't be LW's problem or concern.

    I'd definitely cold shoulder him and also, I'd be downright rude if he actually crossed into my yard without permission. 
    charlotte989875levioosabanana468
  • Ugh, I would have such a hard time with this because I never want to be rude or hurt someone’s feelings but after a few times I’d be real annoyed. I’d probably do a friendly wave and say I have to get going.  
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Exactly this.  He’s just trying to be friendly and doesn’t know boundaries.

    i’m not a person to go outside, so my answer is stay inside more.. but that fits my personality and not LW’s.

    charlotte989875
  • I could never be curt to a friendly, lonely old man even if he is super annoying.  It's fine to say "we can't talk" sometimes and to be annoyed, but honestly I wouldn't do much more than that.  
    charlotte989875ei34short+sassyflantastic
  • Casadena said:
    I could never be curt to a friendly, lonely old man even if he is super annoying.  It's fine to say "we can't talk" sometimes and to be annoyed, but honestly I wouldn't do much more than that.  
    Same. I just don’t think I could do it. I would spend my afternoon chatting but I’d probably say “yes, the weathers beautiful we need to get these bulbs in the ground. Have a nice day” and keep doing what I was 
    Casadena
  • Casadena said:
    I could never be curt to a friendly, lonely old man even if he is super annoying.  It's fine to say "we can't talk" sometimes and to be annoyed, but honestly I wouldn't do much more than that.  
    Same. I just don’t think I could do it. I would spend my afternoon chatting but I’d probably say “yes, the weathers beautiful we need to get these bulbs in the ground. Have a nice day” and keep doing what I was 
    I really struggle with this because I know my dad is kind of that lonely old man, but he also has boundaries.  He is not this kind of nosy person.  

    HOWEVER, people like this act this way because people give them the permission.  It's not my responsibility as a neighbor to entertain this behavior and allow him to cross my level of comfort and physical property boundary because he's there and I know a little bit about him. Being uncomfortable on your property is a terrible feeling. 

    They are spending $$$ creating physical barriers to keep him out of their business.  They tried 'good fences make good neighbors'. It failed. 
  • ei34ei34 member
    Eighth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    mrsconn23 said:
    and it literally makes my butthole clench. 

    I need to start using this phrase more 
    mrsconn23MyNameIsNotlevioosa
  • mrsconn23 said:
    Casadena said:
    I could never be curt to a friendly, lonely old man even if he is super annoying.  It's fine to say "we can't talk" sometimes and to be annoyed, but honestly I wouldn't do much more than that.  
    Same. I just don’t think I could do it. I would spend my afternoon chatting but I’d probably say “yes, the weathers beautiful we need to get these bulbs in the ground. Have a nice day” and keep doing what I was 
    I really struggle with this because I know my dad is kind of that lonely old man, but he also has boundaries.  He is not this kind of nosy person.  

    HOWEVER, people like this act this way because people give them the permission.  It's not my responsibility as a neighbor to entertain this behavior and allow him to cross my level of comfort and physical property boundary because he's there and I know a little bit about him. Being uncomfortable on your property is a terrible feeling. 

    They are spending $$$ creating physical barriers to keep him out of their business.  They tried 'good fences make good neighbors'. It failed. 
    Oh I don’t think LW (or anyone here!) is wrong for putting a harder boundary in place with the neighbor. I would just have a hard time doing it if it were me. 
    Casadena
  • I'd start to give one word answers and wouldn't stop my tasks while he talks.  And if he sounds like he's trying to engage while you're on your own space you may need to have rough conversations. "Oh we need to have a quiet talk just the two of us outside."   I'd work that into a, "Oh we need to talk while the kids are inside," even if it's a white lie. 

    Later you might need to do a, "Now's not a good time.  We can catch up tomorrow." 


  • Casadena said:
    I could never be curt to a friendly, lonely old man even if he is super annoying.  It's fine to say "we can't talk" sometimes and to be annoyed, but honestly I wouldn't do much more than that.  
    This is a lot of where I am also.  But it is hard with people can't or won't take social cues.

    I would think of a few go-to phrases to cut the conversation short, without having to retreat in the house if I feel like being outside.

    But if my phrases don't work, I'd eventually get to a place where I would just ignore him after stating one of my phrases for that occurrence.

    The other sad thing is, if he wasn't so relentless about it, the LW and maybe other neighbors would probably be more amenable to hanging out with him once in awhile.  But I wouldn't dare want to invite him over once in awhile because whatever boundaries have been set up would be set back to worse then they were before.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    Casadenacharlotte989875
  • kerbohlkerbohl member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    Ah, the joys of having a rottweiler.  No one comes into my backyard without permission.  Now, the puppy is friendly, but she's a very .... physical friendly.  If you don't want to be slobbered on or have a face shoved into your crotch, best keep your distance.

    My neighbours recently built a playhouse for their kids that has windows that looks into my backyard.  They asked if I was okay with it, which I was.  But they just sold their house .... I hope I don't get one of these nosy neighbours.  Unless they are only nosy in that they want to watch my rabbits run around in my backyard, which is what I do all day too.  

    charlotte989875
  • "Just enjoying the peace and quiet."

    "Having some me-time!"

    MissKittyDanger
Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards