To feel uneasy about a neighbour?

(534 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

lbsjob87 Thu 07-Aug-14 13:47:30

We've been in our house 12 years, and next door on one side is a single guy in his 60s who has lived there all his life.
He is quite lonely - from conversations had over the years we know he was his mother's carer for 20-odd years then when she died 9 years ago he was at a bit of a loose end.
He rarely sees his family -my OH used to work with his niece and she said they are all very busy etc - typical sad lonely pensioner story. She also suggested that he has what would now be classed as a form of Aspergers, and his family find him a bit "weird".
We try to be friendly and keep an eye out for him but he has no concept of personal space. If we say hello, his eyes light up and we end up talking for up to an hour about literally nothing of note - mashed potato or traffic lights, over and over. We have suggested clubs etc, but he isn't interested.
Our back doors are opposite each other (either side of a fence) so if we open ours, he can see it.
without fail, if we go out to put washing out, whatever, he goes into his garden, and starts a conversation. We can't exactly ignore him, so we now wait till we see he has gone to the shop to go out there. So we, perhaps shamefully, try to avoid him.
Our garden used to be lovely but now is a mess because I won't go out there for any time - I feel like I'm being spied on.
But now I'm starting to feel uneasy about him.
Several years ago, our shed was broken into, so we built a 7ft fence between us and him (also to block him out).
He has built a set of steps so he can see over it for a chat.
His neighbour the other side has a high fence too, but we're on a hill so it's lower our side.
Now my DD is 5, she is old enough to play out there alone, as it's enclosed.
But the other day I heard her speaking to someone - he was talking to her over the fence about school and her baby brother.
She happily chats to him, but I feel it was an inappropriate thing to do.
I don't want to out and out accuse him of being a pervert, and DD knows she mustn't speak to strangers but obviously in her eyes he's not.
He can't get to her at all, and there is absolutely no evidence at all that he is anything other than a lonely old man enjoying the chance for a conversation, but AIBU to just not feel right about this?
And what do I do about it?

YouTheCat Thu 07-Aug-14 13:52:12

She's having a nice chat. Can't see the problem. If he does have Aspergers he might well find talking to adults tricky (hence the boundary issues). He sounds lonely.

Ronmione Thu 07-Aug-14 13:53:01

I think he's just a lonely old man, who would rather talk to a five year old than no one at all.

I think Yabu on the perve front, but yanbu to feel like you are having your privacy taken away.

I think you have to just go about your business an a start ignoring him

MrsWinnibago Thu 07-Aug-14 13:57:23

You could add some trellis to the fence at the top and in addition, call social services. They need to keep an eye on his welfare. sad It's sad to think of him alone but you have a right to your peace and privacy.

smallworld200 Thu 07-Aug-14 14:02:05

What do you do about your neighbour talking to your child over the garden fence? I wouldn't suggest doing anything but hey, call the police and see how far it gets you.

MrsWinnibago Thu 07-Aug-14 14:03:39

Small there's no need to be rude. The OP has a right to want privacy....she feels her neighbour is overstepping the boundaries generally and that it's harder to control if he also engages her child in conversation. She never screamed "PEDO! did she?

Gen35 Thu 07-Aug-14 14:05:19

Although you have no evidence that there is anything to worry about, it'd bother me too, although as long as you keep an eye on the conversations I can't see the harm. I'd maybe ring age concern for advice, I can see that you don't especially have time to befriend someone with a young child and a baby.

MrsWinnibago Thu 07-Aug-14 14:07:39

Why should she have to keep an eye on the conversations though? It is her garden and she should be able to relax when her DD goes out. I would not want my DD with a man or a woman I didn't know on a regular basis....even over a fence.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 07-Aug-14 14:09:34

Very sad, my dd has ASD, in worry for her in the future. He seems very lonely and wanting to chat, it must be difficult staring at 4 walls all day. I would if I saw him spare some time to chat about whatever he wants (within reason), but yes you are perfectly entitled not to be spied upon. Mabey call 101 and ask for advice of SS

WillisGoPhyllis Thu 07-Aug-14 14:09:38

I am an adult with Aspergers, and feel just feel incredibly sad after reading the opening post.

Gen35 Thu 07-Aug-14 14:11:46

Yes I agree it's not what I'd want either but because it is happening her choices involve the following a) moving b) keeping an eye on the conversations c) attempting to get social services/old peoples charities to take an interest in him and thereby reduce his loneliness...since he is talking to her dd, she does have to keep an eye out.

Callaird Thu 07-Aug-14 14:16:41

Seriously? You know his family have abandoned him. He has not done anything untoward in 12 years. He is lonely, probably doesn't have very good people skills if he looked after his mother for a long time and may have Aspergers which usually leaves the sufferer with low people skills and boundaries.

What should you do? Invite the poor bastard in for coffee, knock and tell him you are going to the supermarket does he need anything, ask him to come along. Of course, keep an eye on him with your young children but encourage them to be friendly to him. Imagine, god forbid, that a member of your family had a similar syndrome and everybody turned their back on them, hid from them and ignored them!! So cruel.

Once you have been friendly and neighbourly to him, you can set boundaries, "sorry Bob but we can't talk right now, come round tomorrow/next Thursday for coffee and a chat" "sorry Bob, we are having a bit of family time right now, haven't had time together for ages, I'll drop in tomorrow to see if you need shopping" If you give him something to look forward to, then he will give you the space you need. If he doesn't know the next time he is going to see a friendly face and interact with another human, then he will grab all the time that he can!

He's alone and lonely. Maybe call age concern and see if they have someone who can drop in on him, get him out of the house and socialising.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 07-Aug-14 14:17:54

Yes YABU.

He isn't a stranger.he is a neighbour.

Your post is really unkind.

Maybe read about AS and understand why those with it are not "weird" or more likely to be perverts.

Or maybe just be a nice kind human being and not get all offended by a lonely man asking your
dD about school.

Gruntfuttock Thu 07-Aug-14 14:18:01

Terribly sad. The poor man. Please be kind to him when you feel you can spare a few minutes. He only wants someone to talk to.

wafflyversatile Thu 07-Aug-14 14:18:09

I think it's nice he's found someone happy to have a chat with him.

In what way is it inappropriate for a pensioner to chat with a 5 year old neighbour over a fence?

Other than that does he have the internet or could you suggest clubs he can go to.

How sad to be so lonely.

Tinkerball Thu 07-Aug-14 14:18:57

Well yanbu to want privacy but it's a bit much to feel disturbed by him talking to your DD really, far too many people quick to jump to conclusions - yes I know OP hadn't said what her concerns are but it's obvious.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 07-Aug-14 14:20:04

Yes her concerns are obvious.

And a load of shite tbh.

He's a lonely old man who probably doesn't talk to many people at all during the day. The waffling on could well be ASD as DS is like that, but if that's the case, certainly he would've been cast aside as weird for most of his life as decent diagnosis and understanding of the condition is relatively recent.

You've done your best to make sure he can't bother you and so you don't have to talk to him at all. You are totally unreasonable to suggest that his taking to your DD has any alterior motive. She's probably the only conversation he gets.

Call social services for sure, but to report him as someone who could do with some support. I suppose to makes it easier for you to ignore him completely if you attach malicious intent to him wanting to talk to your DD.

Oh, and my DCs talk to our neighbours. I've never thought twice about it.

Gruntfuttock Thu 07-Aug-14 14:23:51

It's nice to see so many compassionate replies. smile

No, she didn't scream 'paedo' MrsW

She said i don't want to out and out accuse him of being a pervert. What's the difference? That she alluded to it, rather than stated it out right?

GarlicAugustus Thu 07-Aug-14 14:26:47

Good grief! I talk to the neighbours' kids! Am I a Perv? [shocked] I know, I'll report myself for speaking to children.

To be fair, I wouldn't build steps to look over a high fence - but I'd get the unfriendly message, because I don't have a socially maladaptive disorder. I'd think the very building of the steps proves that he has.

GarlicAugustus Thu 07-Aug-14 14:29:36

FYI, "You will require planning permission for any new fence, gate or wall over 2m in height. This will normally include the addition of trellis panels on top of an existing fence if this takes the overall height to above 2m. This may technically also include the addition of wires and brackets to carry a climbing shrub, although this can sometimes be open to interpretation."

Aeroflotgirl Thu 07-Aug-14 14:30:47

I agree callaid, pop round with some food, or for a chat, if you prefer not to invite him? Give some of your time, if it's not convenient sorry Tom nit right now Thursday would be better. A bit of kindness here please. Keep an eye con the conversations.

FanjoForTheMammaries Thu 07-Aug-14 14:32:48

If she went to trouble of building a 7 foot fence to keep him out I don't think she will be the type to want to pop round for a chat or take him food.

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