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Should I ask our neighbour why she's not talking to us?

(37 Posts)
AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:01:58

The retired couple on the other side of our semi moved it a few months after we did 9 years ago, and like the rest of our row of houses, have been friendly and helpful neighbours over the years.

At the start me and DH would chat over the fence to them about stuff you chat over the fence about, stop and talk in the street when we saw them etc, but over the past couple of years the woman (who I chatted to the most) has chatted less and less to the point that she was watering her front garden the other day and definitely saw me (because I bumped the bins down the steps at the front) but didn't even look up.

I know you could say I should have said hello to her, but after noticing how she doesn't even acknowledge me in the street apart from a curt 'hello', I don't really want to force her.

I can't help wondering if we've done something to piss them off unintentionally <<paranoid>> we're not that noisy (wink) and we 'keep regular hours' for the most part. DH thought the time it started could fit in with when we had a falling out with my mum and didn't have contact with her for a while, the neighbour was really off with me when she asked why my mum hadn't been round and I told her what had happened.

However, there are a couple of reasons I think it might not be because of us that she's withdrawn-

- They've just taken their house off the market because it hadn't sold after two years, the woman wanted to move but the bloke didn't, maybe she's desperately unhappy here, which she always said she didn't want to move in the first place, and she just can't bring herself to make small talk when she's somewhere she doesn't want to be?

- And I know a couple of her relatives have been quite ill and it's making her look to her own health etc, possibly tied in with wanting to move back to be near them?

I'm very quite unsociable in the main (so inviting her round or going round there isn't really on the menu), but I'm OK at small talk chatting and the like, so it's not as though we were BFF or anything, but it's been bothering me for quite a while, and now it's becoming even more blatant I'm wondering whether it'd be worth maybe asking her if she's alright and whether we've done anything to upset her?

Or should I just let sleeping dogs lie? If she's got a problem with us then it's her responsibility to say something, how can we stop whatever it is that's pissing them/her off if we don't know what it is? (Most probably it's because they realised they really just can't stand us (get that in before someone else suggests it grin))

Hopefully that makes sense, I'm not sure how else to put a shorter way probably grin

Thanks for reading though. gentle with me, it's my first thread wink

petitepeach Sat 27-Aug-11 18:11:09

Oooh bit of a difficult one, why not just knock on the door as you were friendly with them before and just say politely ' I hope you don't mind we were just wondering if we had done something to upset you as have noticed we don't really speak anymore?'
If anything might clear the air?

Hope it works out smile

ZZZenAgain Sat 27-Aug-11 18:12:59

is it really your first thread?

yes, ask her

WhoWhoWhoWho Sat 27-Aug-11 18:13:39

If I were you I would have to ask.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Aug-11 18:14:03

Oh I agree with petitepeach. Just go knock on some pretext and if she is frosty then ask.

It is her responsibility to raise it but if I had previously had a good relationship then I would rather sort it out than let it fester.

Ragwort Sat 27-Aug-11 18:14:04

You would have to be quite assertive to do as petite suggests, if you feel you can't be so direct why not go up to her next time she is in the garden and start a coversation ............ (you could ask after her relatives) if she then doesn't reply or is deliberately curt you could ask outright if you have offended her in any way.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Aug-11 18:15:08

Is it your first aibu? Is that what you mean?

SuePurblybilt Sat 27-Aug-11 18:18:20

First thread grin

I think people are odd. That's all of MN cleared up - next!
Seriously, my NDN hasn't spoken to me since the Ex moved out. I don't think we've fallen out and I cba to chase him to find out. Odd.

I think go round there on some trumped up excuse ("Is this your leaf?") and say that you've noticed she's been quiet and is there anything wrong, anything you can do to help? If she has a cob on, you've out-niced her and she'll have to like you again. If there is a problem with one of the issues you've mentioned, perhaps you can help her.

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:20:31

I was just desparately trying to avoid a flaming messing on it being my first thread, sorry grin

If I went round it'd be making something of it, as we don't drop by to each other or anything.

I've said hello in the past and made to stop and talk, say if I've seen her in the street, and she just carrys on walking. Try and talk in the garden and it's one word answers back.

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:22:56

Your post made me laugh Sue grin

As it happens, I have noticed one of their leaves in our garden grin

Agree, nowt as funny as folk.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Aug-11 18:23:09

I want to flame you now.

KatieMiddleton Sat 27-Aug-11 18:25:28

I'd leave it. Doesn't sound like any good can come of the discussion. Either they are off with you in which case you then have to have an awkward exchange about it or they're not and you have to have an awkward exchange about it.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Aug-11 18:26:32

I can't do it.
I am a rubbish flamer.

Take them jam.

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:27:20

You go right ahead Pag, don't let me stop you wink


AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:28:34

'I can't do it.
I am a rubbish flamer.'

Aw sad

LineRunner Sat 27-Aug-11 18:28:57

Can I flame you, too? Just for the hell of it.

What and why and how the fuck have your neighbour's obvious mental health, marital and financial issues got anything to do with you? Can I say that one? Oh, go on. Please.

Mind you, Sue's leaf gambit is genius. grin

Pagwatch Sat 27-Aug-11 18:31:03

Ok. I'll try...

Just go around there and be nice. They are old ffs . Or is it always about you, you selfish jamless, leaf thief.

2/10 ?

FabbyChic Sat 27-Aug-11 18:33:53

When you see her next just ask her if you have done anything to upset her.

That's what I would do.

LineRunner Sat 27-Aug-11 18:34:08

Actually, Pagwatch, if you just post 'Oh FFS,' then that's considered 'Unhelpful' - if that's the effect you're aiming for.

Why are you so nice?? smile

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:34:15

Course Liney, knock yourself out smile

I will parry your flaming with a if they didn't want us to know their obvious health, marital and financial issues, they should have kept them to them fucking selves!

I can't help it if I've read deeply between the lines come to the conclusions I've outlined in the OP.

Pagwatch Sat 27-Aug-11 18:35:10


Offs! <<scowly face>>

startail Sat 27-Aug-11 18:35:39

If she's getting on she may simply be going deaf and find talking increasingly stressful.
The chap over the hedge is fine, but impossible to talk to because he can't hear you. My hearings far from perfect and sometimes it's just easier to nod and walk on.

LineRunner Sat 27-Aug-11 18:37:13

It's come to something when an old lady can't enjoy a good cat's bum face in her own front garden, has it not?

<This is quite wearing. Can I stop now?>

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:38:44

I think I've not done that before now fabby, because they were moving so I thought they were being off because they were off.

The bloke stopped talking to DH all together when the house was on the market (he always looked really sad when we saw him), when they'd talked loads previously, but now they're not moving, he's fine with DH again confused

AgentZigzag Sat 27-Aug-11 18:41:46

I've just remembered drip feed , a couple of weeks ago we were waving off guests and the bloke walked passed, I said 'Hello XXXX, alright?' and he said 'Well you've got to be haven't you?'.

Even DH noticed it sounded a bit of a weird answer.

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