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To be slightly "On the back foot" with my new neighbour?

(76 Posts)
MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:09:35

If you don't know the term...it means I'm a bit suspicious of her....we have just moved into a flat...me, DH and our DC. She lives with her baby across the corridor....she's nice and friendly but a bit "too" friendly somehow.

She could be lonely I suppose...on her own with her baby...but she quite often knocks on our door and we've only lived here for two weeks.

She knocks for a variety of reasons....to ask us if we have a hammer for eg....or , to see if DH could hang a picture for her...or to ask if we have a spare bin bag.....sometimes it's to offer things such as the use of her lawnmower as I told her in passing that we didn't have one.....she's offered her hoover twice now as well....at least twice as mine broke a few days ago. I've politely thanked her but explained that I don't need it as I'm getting a new one on Tuesday and am happy using a handbrush. (I just don't like the idea of using someone elses vacuum cleaner!)

Anyway...today she knocked out of the blue to offer her lawnmower....which she bought off the lady in the flat downstairs and which it transpires she hasn't even paid for yet....then yesterday she knocked for "two pounds", I gave it her and she gave it back later....but I am slightly taken aback by her overt comfort with asking and offering.

Is this usual? I've just moved from a particularly unfriendly neighbourhood if that helps...she asked me into her flat to see what I thought of a slight issue with her taps....I went in and she began telling me all about how the guy who came to do the plastering seemed to fancy her hmm

I'm just not used to this level of familiarity I suppose.

Appletini Sat 03-May-14 22:13:38

I think it's all about having different boundaries. Some people would find it friendly - but I had a neighbour like this and found it very annoying. I think you're just going to have to be a bit polite but firm.

AiryFairyHairyAndScary Sat 03-May-14 22:14:48

Can you get a spy hole for your door and then simply not answer the door if she calls? She does sound a bit over keen.
I get on really well with all my nieghbours but I like to keep things not too super friendly.

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:15:13

Apple that's it...I think I am getting a bit irritated whenever I hear my interior door knock.,,,because I know it's her! None of the other three residents of the block have knocked once and they've all had chats with me and got to know me a bit....she bugs me a bit...I feel bad saying that because I think she wants to be friends and that would be nice but these things take time surely?

I think you might call it making friends wink

She rather clearly wants to be mates with the paranoid woman opposite grin

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:15:58

Airy I've got one...but she'll know if I ignore her as her front door is directly opposite mine and she hears if we go in or out. She;d know I was ignoring her.

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:16:51

Laurie Yep...that's me! grin I like making friends but feel it takes time...

emsyj Sat 03-May-14 22:18:41

That's not what 'on the back foot' means... <unhelpful>

Sounds as though she probably is lonely - we have reasonably friendly neighbours and used to have some that we were very friendly with (went out for dinner together, had them over for Sunday lunch, kids played together constantly, always calling over for coffee/to borrow bits and bobs etc) - but it was mutual in that case, so no discomfort there - a bit different to your situation!

You don't have to answer the door if you don't want to - if you're finding her annoying, just don't answer to her if you don't feel like dealing with her at that moment.

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 22:20:23

That does sound a lot of attention when you've only been there two weeks.

My advice would be to continue being polite and friendly but turn her down, don't invite her in, don't suggest going anywhere or doing anything with her, just keep her at arms length.

The best time to lay down the boundaries is now, you're her neighbours not bezzie mates she can rely on for all her emotional needs from hereon in.

I hope it's not a case of whatever way you decide to deal with her will end up with her being offended/getting in an arse with you, if she does it's not your responsibility, and nor is she.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 03-May-14 22:20:57

There's a lady at work like this - offers everything under the sun but I known that she is just doing that so that she can tot up the gives in order to take later. I've watched her for two years doing it to everyone else before I got a job there [I used to go in as a consultant]. I just say thanks but...I don't need it, I have my own whatever, I don't use those things blah blah blah.

I'd just not open the door. Say you must have had headphones on listening to music or something, it's one of your deep joys in life.

Is she gets no response then she might well just naff off.

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:24:54

Agent that's my worry too....that she's so full on, it could swing the other way in a heartbeat.

funky I also think there's a bit of that going on too....

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:25:33

emsy what does the saying mean then?

PersonOfInterest Sat 03-May-14 22:26:39

I'd keep her at arms length too.

Polite but ready to lay down boundaries when it becomes necessary.

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:26:44

Oh just googled it...it means "in a defensive posture" So I did use it in the right context....perhaps "suspicious" isn't quite right but if I'm in defensive mode then that IS suspicious.

PersonOfInterest Sat 03-May-14 22:27:59

It means being caught off guard or off balance or similar.

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 22:28:40

'Making friends' usually builds up over a certain amount of time Laurie, and both people are usually involved.

I see this as intrusive. All the other neighbours have talked to the OP when they've bumped into each other, making a beeline for her and constantly knocking for things she's already offered/said before, is pushy. It shows the woman has expectations of what role the OP should play in her life.

We help our neighbours and they help us, but it's when we/they need help, creating reasons to go round to someone's house when you're not invited (in this situation) is different and wank badgering.

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:32:22

Agent you hit the nail on the head. I also think friendship grows slowly over time and through shared experience.

And I agree that she's made a beeline for me for some reason....I suppose she could be clumsily trying to get herself a support system....family in another city but I'm not really interested in it...Im more than happy to lend two quid now and then....or hammers etc...I think it's the consistency of it all over two weeks....

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 22:36:18

If you think it could easily slip into her being off with you then definitely hang back.

I wouldn't apologise or justify why you haven't answered the door though, it kind of says you agree with her and have done something wrong! Whether you answer your door is your business, how she decides to respond to that is her business.

It's possible she is lonely or has mental health problems, but they aren't your responsibility and you shouldn't feel you have fall into line because you don't want to be rude.

pictish Sat 03-May-14 22:36:20

Well I certainly couldn't be bothered with it.
You've got into the trap of indulging her now...bad luck.
Just be cheerful but brisk. Herd her off at the pass. Ignore the door if you know it's her. Be pleasant but always busy.
She'll get the message soon enough.

SavoyCabbage Sat 03-May-14 22:37:27

I would just watch what I say with her as not to encourage her.

Try not to give her any information that she can 'use' about hoovers etc. Eg "we are getting a new Hoover" rather than "we are getting a new Hoover on Tuesday" as now if you don't get it on Tuesday (or you do) she's got something else to talk about.

SavoyCabbage Sat 03-May-14 22:38:31

And with the door, just say in passing 'oh I never answer if I'm busy'.

AgentZigzag Sat 03-May-14 22:38:40

Her thinking you'll be a support for her has to include a choice for you and whether you want to be that support.

Otherwise it's her manipulating you into fulfilling that role, and that wouldn't be right.

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 03-May-14 22:43:01

Absolutely. Always be busy, and never have any money on you. And don't mention you need x or y, ever.

In fact, be the most boring unneedy and forgetful person ever. You don't do owt, you don't need owt and you keep forgetting everything she suddenly needs.

RandallFloyd Sat 03-May-14 22:44:08

Hmm, sounds a bit much to me.

I'd be worried she's going to go all Single White Female on your arse.

People like that tend to be awfully highly strung. Jump in with both feet, instantly your bessie mate, get you caught up in all their drama, then one imagined slight and - boom - hysterical flouncing arguments.

Nothing wrong with being neighbourly. Sometimes good neighbours become good friends after all. But no, I'd be keeping her at arms length fo sho.

MrsWinnibago Sat 03-May-14 22:44:55

Right. Thanks everyone....really good advice here. I probably have encouraged her too much by chatting back a lot...as I am a friendly person...but I'll be a bit short now...and not asnwer the door either!

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