Post # 1
Ok, in complete fairness, this woman has been through hell and back in the past year (husband died, had a heart attack/open heart surgery a few months after that/her kids are “borrowing” every penny they can get from her but never help her out) so I totally get that she’s lonely, vulnerable and hurting, physically limited, and she doesn’t have anyone to go to for help or encouragement. She’s very kind too. The problem is that boundaries literally do not exist for her, and she lives in the former-garage-now-efficiency-unit in our front yard (we are all renting.) We’re happy to help her out here and there when she really needs something, but from day one she’s pretty much been blowing up my phone nonstop – I just checked my messages from last night and she left one at 11pm asking why my phone wasn’t on (I’ve been turning it off in the evening so that I can get some friggin sleep bc she’ll call after midnight to ask super unimportant questions.) On top of this, she’s constantly on the “meet local singles” type chat lines and regularly invites random men over from the chat lines…and calls or knocks on the door at awkward hours to ask me to chaperone! The exterior walls of our house are huge picture windows all the way around, so we’ve been reduced to shutting off all the lights while we watch tv at night so that she won’t think we’re awake and just show up here when my phone is turned off bc it’s becoming that difficult for us to get any time alone together. I am so beyond exasperated, but I’m very hesitant to say anything since she is so alone in the world and is pretty emotionally fragile. On the flipside, we moved here BECAUSE we wanted some peace and quiet and she’s pretty much killed that. I’m freelancing from home right now and it’s really causing issues for me being able to get anything done, and while I’ve tried to introduce her to the rest of the neighbors, they already kind of see what we’re dealing with with her and keep their distance as much as they can. How on earth do you set boundaries with someone this fragile?
Post # 3
- Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas
I think you just have to have a talk with her. Her fragility shouldn’t be your concern at this point. Tell her you need to work, and you need to sleep. Maybe bluntness is exactly what she needs. Sounds creepy.
Post # 4
@whoa_its_ash: +1, exactly this. It does sound creepy. She isn’t your responsibility and there is a difference between showing kindness and being taken advantage of. Point blank, I’d say, “we value our privacy and time alone together and we would appreciate if you didn’t just show up to our door without an invite.” You don’t owe her a detailed explanation about work or why you need her to back off. You would think she’d have the social skills to pick up on the cues to leave you alone.
This why I am friendly to neighbours, but not their friends. You’re a prisoner in your own house! Pity only goes so far – you need to enjoy your own life too.
Post # 5
Thanks guys! I just talked to my mom, she had met the woman for about 2 minutes when she stopped by a few weeks ago and before I even told her what was going on she mentioned that she seemed kind of creepy, I’m really glad I’m not the only one that sees it this way. I totally feel like a prisoner in my own house and I’m def going to talk to her before I completely crack – I don’t mind having a drink with the neighbors once in a while, but this is just insane!
Post # 6
@ErinBlue: Are you interested in being friendly with her? If so, be firm, but say something like “If you want to stop by to chat, why don’t you make it between 5 and 7 during the weeknights so I can give you my full attention, otherwise I’ll be working or unwinding or spending time with my SO”. Or say something like “You know, we could make a standing date on Tuesdays at lunch to catch up?”
You may be able to curb her behavior without cutting her off, though you are certainly within your rights to do that as well.
We all have rough times and it sounds like she has and maybe her creepiness is just desperation for someone to talk to. If you want to be especially kind, perhaps you could help her find a support group for women who have lost a spouse or maybe the local parks and rec center might have classes she’d be interested in. I kind of feel bad for her (not so bad I think her behavior is okay… it’s not!).. she seems lonely and desperate.
Post # 7
@stuckinwonderland: I do want to be kind and friendly with her, totally agree on the desparation side. It breaks my heart to see someone so lonely. I finally just stopped answering my phone half the time she calls and doing my own thing just treating her like a normal neighbor and it seems like things have gotten way better, ran into her at the beach yesterday and she wasn’t being nearly as clingy. I tend to be such a pushover that it’s really easy to get me to run and help the minute anyone needs anything and I think maybe this is just going to be when I finally learn to step back and let people deal with their own problems a little more often. *sigh*
Post # 8
“Mrs. XXX, We are happy to help you on occasion, but only during the daytime. We will not be accepting any phone calls or visits after 9 PM. If you have an emergency please call one of your children or 911.”
Post # 9
@ErinBlue: Good for you. It sounds like she just needs some boundaries. Also, I think when your life goes to crap (and really, we’ve all been there) you can lose sense of common sense and decency at times or become so self-absorbed you don’t realize how you affect others. I hope she bounces back.. I dont’ think you “get over” crap like that, but I hope she finds a way to regain some kind of life for herself.
Post # 10
- Wedding: June 2010 - parent's backyard
@ErinBlue: It breaks my heart to see someone so lonely.
That must be so hard! remind yourself that she has kids/family, and you are not one of them. even if they are all a bunch of deadbeats, she is their responsibility and maybe if you partially cut her off, she will start harassing them more.
I like @stuckinwonderland:‘s advice: tell her that you are open to her calls during certain hours. I’d recommend telling her that your privacy is really important to you, and gently suggest to her that she needs to ask her family for help.
Post # 11
Sometimes…its okay to be a little rude. Remember that just because you live by her does not mean that she is your responsibility. If it was a needy big man would you do the same thing? dont let needy people affect your life. if you want to leave the lights on then do. dont answer the door if she comes by. that sounds harsh but i wouldnt put up with that!