Neighbors!

Most people live next door to someone. (I don’t personally know anyone that owns an island but I’d make a great friend if you do!)

That someone is a neighbor. They can be good or annoying. They usually alternate between the two.

We are blessed. Our neighbors are good. We rarely see them and they keep their yards neat. No sofas on the front porch or rusted kids’ toys in the yard.

We have some drama but it is first world drama. Our streets are tree-lined and occasionally they die. The home owner is required by the township to replace them but some try to slip by. The ridiculous part is that they own multiple BMW’s but won’t spend $100 on a new tree. It’s not a huge issue. We talk about them behind their backs and all is good.

At my last place I never saw my neighbors at all. On one side there was a huge (15 foot) hedgerow. The other side had 30 to 40 foot side yard as a buffer. However, the people on the buffer side had four kids. They put brightly colored plastic stuff on the property line so they wouldn’t see it from their patio but I had to. Still small stuff.

I had a wonderful neighbor in my past who was retirement age. Her husband was retired. She worked part-time to get away from him. Her stories were hilarious (she was quite the gambler) but not near as delicious as the pie and suppers I would find on my patio table. It’s no fun cooking for two so I obliged by eating.

When I was in my twenties I lived in a neighborhood where the folks periodically got together for a cookout. That was a fun place. I never saw that kind of neighborhood again. Maybe it’s best not to be too close to someone you have to confront when their dog poops on your lawn.

Not all neighbors are wonderful. People have different standards and live at different paces. Even my food bearing neighbor would get annoyed at me if I didn’t keep my leaves raked. I had a full time job and other things to do but I did my best to keep her happy (dogs aren’t the only ones who can be trained with food).

One of my friends has neighbor issues, the nasty kind. She is a kind person but definitely doesn’t “roll with the punches.”  She believes in a strict neighbor protocol that is hard to sustain.

Her neighbor on one side has long been an “enemy.” They are at the point where they both do things to annoy the other. Seems like work to me but neither will give or forgive.

Her other neighbor is much younger and very helpful. After a few years of blissful co-existence, she is having conflicts.

She is neither easy going nor forgiving. She is also incredibly sensitive, getting reduced to tears if someone doesn’t live up to her standards.

Perhaps working in a corporate environment taught me some lessons early on. An important one is don’t take anything personal. Many disappointments are due to something the other person is going through that doesn’t involve you.

At a new job I met a guy who instantaneously didn’t like me. (Remember I’m a likeable person!) He was sharp and harsh. I was there for nine months. Two weeks before I left we had a heart to heart. I reminded him of his ex-wife. All his sharp comments weren’t targeted for me. He had a lot of anger and his comments were things that he wished he could say to her. This was a huge lesson because even my boss who saw it couldn’t figure it out. And yes, he was in therapy but it wasn’t working!

Everyone has a bad day. If your feelings get hurt, don’t carry it around forever. Let it go. Let it fly with the wind.

Some people may not like you (and not because of a resemblance to an ex). It has more to do with different personality styles than who is right or wrong. Get over it. There are billions of other people who would make great friends. Some of them may even like you.

If your neighbor has a problem and you can help. Do it. It pays big dividends. It may be in the form of a strawberry pie but I’m good with that!

39 thoughts on “Neighbors!

  1. I love your blog! It’s very entertaining. We currently live in an apartment block and almost never see any neighbours but I have lived next to some good ones and very bad ones before.

    My family have a lovely little oasis that just happens to be in one of the worst streets (where it’s pretty normal for people to scream and swear at each other, the police are called frequently, there’s always rubbish all over place, you get the picture). Crazy, usually night time, situations have included someone trying to burn their house down from the inside and a guy going crazy with an axe and smashing up the house and car (while the police just stood and watched and a brave female neighbour rushed in and rescued his kids who were inside the car he was smashing with the axe).

    Craziness aside though, I think the worst neighbours are the petty ones. One neighbour I had once had a go at me because there were a couple of weeds in the front yard that were “attracting mosquitoes which were attacking her daughter”. Her daughter was not the vulnerable little toddler you might be imagining but a 20-something year old woman who would spend all her time screaming down the phone right next to our fence. It never felt so good to escape and go to work.

    I’ve also had some pretty crazy housemates but that’s a whole other level of crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We’ve lived in our home for more than 40 years and have had many neighbors come and go. Some of them were wonderful and others we simply didn’t gel with. There are many things that irritate me about our current neighbors, quite frankly, but I agree with you about letting things go. I’m always aware that it could be much worse, and that if these neighbors move, the “replacements” could be even more trying. I have examples in mind of people who just plain old didn’t like me. Frankly, I find them very suspicious! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Didn’t like you? Who wouldn’t like you? Must be something wrong with them for sure. My best friend who has head issues is the worst neighbor in the world and fortunately not mine. She doesn’t keep her property tidy nor does she maintain it. It’s a huge eye sore. The neighbors have taken her to court many times for 5′ weeds. I always think of her if someone in the ‘hood annoys me.

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  3. Wise words, Kate! Neighbors come in all shapes and sizes, often matching their baggage which we never see. Kindness makes good neighbors, for sure, not fences.
    We’ve never had “bad” neighbors but we’ve always worked at doing good things to help, whether it’s cookies at Christmas, sharing our summer crop, etc. Your point speaks volumes, it’s never about us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I was a kid, neighbors were like family. It’s not like that. Most people don’t sit on their front porch anymore. Kids have activities that keep them out of the ‘hood. It’s not that it’s bad but I do miss the neighborly stuff.

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      • Yes, very true, and kids could ride bikes for hours! Everyone watching out for each other. Now we can’t correct kids if they mess up. No more village mentality. I guess that’s why I hold on to “neighborly” opportunities.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds as if the hedgerow is on the wrong side of the yard. We have a very large yard and are not too close to anyone. I like it that way. I have an occasional cat stray into my yard, but I like cats so I don’t mind. People that are annoying usually don’t know they are annoying. Hope I’m not the one annoying others.

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  5. Great post, Kate…and a great reminder for me! In the neighborhood in which I grew up (birth to age 13) I believe that I knew every single neighbor by name (over 30 houses). Since then, especially in my work life, I have been lucky to know one or two neighbors by name. I am hoping to change this in retirement. (I currently know three neighbors by name…so it’s a start!)

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  6. This was a fun post. I’ve always been cordial with neighbors, spoke to them when I’ve taken out the garbage or watered the lawn, but I’ve never socialized with them. Somehow I’ve always worried that if you get too close things can go off the rails when you least expect it. We plan on buying a place next year, so perhaps I’ll change my outlook.

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  7. We have been pretty lucky with neighbours apart from our second property, when it wasn’t the neighbours who caused us dstress, but the family members they left in charge whilst they went on a world cruise for 6 months. Parties every night and at weekends, cars coming and going at all hours, it really made for a dismal time and we were both on medication. We had to call in the authorities in the end. It wasn’t just us complaining though, but everyone at that end of the cul de sac. We moved away and could honestly say we had no problem with our neighbours, but we did with their family (who didn’t live there).
    The joy here is that if we don’t fit or have bad neighbours, we just move on. So far, we are blessed with lovely people all round us.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! We are blessed with great neighbors, everyone looks out for each other. Diagonal across us were people that moved there 3 months before we moved to the neighborhood. Kids same ages and they became the best of friends. For the past 10 years they lived there but now moved. Fortunately it is not far away at all, but still miss the seeing them every day across the street 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is not good. I remember spending months trying to figure out why that work guy didn’t like me. I even talked to my supervisor about it. I tried everything but he didn’t open up until he knew I was leaving. What a waste of my time.

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  9. Where does one even begin? I start with you given wonderful advice on this subject. Our next door neighbors are wonderful. However, they have an issue with getting rid of things like their daughter’s car that has been rusting in the driveway for 20 Y E A R S or their son’s washer that has been on the patio for 16 Y E A R S…but who’s counting. The son and daughter are 47 & 44…..

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    • When I first moved here, the neighbors surrounding me were all my age. It was fun. We did progressive dinners and concerts. Then they slowly downsized. One moved to an assisted living place in Florida. New neighbors came in. They are young and we don’t have much in common so all the “community feel” is gone. I am not complaining though. They are good neighbors. No rusting appliances…..

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  10. Neighborhood feuds are the worst. It must be awful to hate to walk outside lest you see someone who makes your blood boil.

    Even though some of my neighbors break laws and make me nuts, I avoid conflict. Because my neighbors who break the most laws are LAPD officers. They have guns.

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    • I’ve never lived next to a PD person but I did live 3 doors down from a politician. He had huge parties and people parked on the no parking side — no tickets. My girlfriend dropped something off and parked there less than 5 minutes — $90! My blood did a little boil. Not that she was right but I would have like to see his guests ticketed too.

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  11. We have great neighbors for the most part, fortunately. Our next door neighbor currently has an old jacuzzi sitting in his front yard. About a month ago he put it there so someone who wanted it could pick it up. The buyer backed out so there it sits. It’s really an eyesore but we hesitate to say anything because he is such a nice guy and we know that he’s trying to sell it. Frankly it doesn’t look like it would be worth anything to anybody. Hopefully soon he’ll just bust it up and take it to the dump.

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    • We have some people up the street that are less than stellar. Last summer they didn’t get a service for their yard (they don’t do themselves). The weeds were rampant. Finally in the fall they cut down a beautiful flowering tree and left up a totally dead one. They put rose bushes in the front of the house far apart so during the winter there will be no green. The best part is that they had an old tire sit on their lawn for 6 weeks this summer. Our trash men don’t take tires. You have to pay a $5 charge for disposal and they didn’t want to do that. Oh yes, they are wealthy.

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  12. We have great neighbors, with the exception of one who refuses to quiet his barking dog. It’s outside with an invisible fence and it barks non-stop, no matter the hour. When the owner was approached in a diplomatic manner, his response was, “My dog can bark if it wants.” Then he proceeded to slam his front door. We’re shopping for that island. 😦

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  13. Great post and good advice Kate. Neighbors can be annoying sometimes. The house on our right is a rental. They’ve been there forever! Sometimes there are 6 cars parked in the driveway and around the yard. I have no idea how many families actually live there but that house is no bigger than mine and mine is 1040 square feet! They cut their sparse lawn (it can’t grow because of all the cars parked on it) twice in the summer with a weed eater. The string of Christmas lights surrounding the house stay attached year round. I guess it could be worse. They could turn them on all year instead of just for Christmas. So I look on the bright side in that circumstance. I don’t complain except to H. I look the other way. I wonder what my neighbors say about me…hmmm? ~Elle

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