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Worried about my neighbour.

(11 Posts)
FrancineD Fri 28-Feb-14 21:02:46

Hi all. First post on MN, and I apologise in advance for it being a bit heavy, but although I've looked in occasionally and read the forums, I've never joined until now. And now I'm looking for some advice.

I'm starting to have some concerns about my next door neighbour, she lives alone, and the thing is wasn't always a she.

She moved in next door a few years ago, and until recently she seemed fine, happy, chatty, etc. Have had many conversations about her gender reassignment, etc. She's always been happy talking about stuff very openly, and quite honestly despite the full surgery, hormone treatments, etc, is not a convincing woman at all. Not her fault, but at well over 6 ft and big built the transition was never going to be easy I suppose.

She works in what has always been regarded a a male dominated profession, but until a few months ago had always seemed happy. Then she moved place of work (same employer), and I don't think that was her choice. Suddenly she seems permanently down. Her commute distance has remained about the same so I don't think she's suddenly more tired.

Whilst we have had some frank conversations in the past it always feels uncomfortable prying as it were, as her personal circumstances are not exactly taboo, but you know what I mean.

My hubby has tried speaking to her as well, but anything more than a quick "alright" over the garden fence and the shutters come down. Hubby is not the best anyway for this sort of thing, he's just left the army having finished his 22 years and is probably best described as 'traditional' in his outlook. He does try, but it's quite obvious that he finds engaging our neighbour in conversation awkward.

It's difficult striking a balance between respecting her right to privacy over what are intensely personal issues, and being worried and imho good neighbours. Albeit before she moved next to us, but she has apparently self harmed before. I want to help, but not be over bearing.

ButEmilylovedhim Fri 28-Feb-14 21:07:38

Would you say you were friends or just neighbours? Maybe she just feels she's said too much and wants to withdraw from the acquaintance/friendship? I'd let her be and follow her lead. Go back to saying hello in passing.

spongebob13 Fri 28-Feb-14 21:10:51

you sound like a loving caring neighbour. would you consider her a friend? have ye had coffee in each other's home kinda thing? tbh I would tell her as you have said above you are concerned she seems a bit more down and that you wondered if she was ok and that you are there if she ever needs to talk. don't push it. just let her know you are there. I can't imagine what she is going through ... but it must be very tough physically and emotionally. be her friend tell her you care. then leave her with that.

FabULouse Fri 28-Feb-14 21:12:05

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

guanosoup Fri 28-Feb-14 21:12:33

firstly,how refreshing to read about someone with genuine concern for a next door neighbours well-being.

I would start a conversation by saying something along the lines of 'I noticed you haven't seemed your usual self recently, how are you feeling'
be prepared for floodgates opening, a brush off, or just an 'OK' but acknowledging that someone is not feeling well can be a start to opening up the dialog, and it sounds like you are on quite intimate conversational terms for neighbours, so I don't think you'd be crossing any boundaries by enquiring.
Good luck to you both

spongebob13 Fri 28-Feb-14 21:15:45

or ... a bit sly so not sure if you want to do it ... arrive at hers with bottle wine and say ye need a friend and either embellish and real life issue or make up one (small and trivial) so perhaps she then feels like she can open up to you. it just seems you know so much about her do you share the same? as someone else said perhaps she is suddenly embarrassed about over sharing or feels she is burdening you or maybe she picks up on your husbands awkwardness ...

phantomnamechanger Fri 28-Feb-14 21:16:45

maybe she is ill, worried about redundancy, worried about a family member who is ill, has had a bust up with a friend, worried about bills, maybe there is just a personality clash at work.....there are umpteen possibilities that one would not necessarily cheerily divulge to a concerned neighbour. Maybe you or DH +just get on her wick!

I think you have to do nothing TBH - she is an adult and entitled to her privacy. If she needs support I am sure she must have friends family or a GP she can turn to.

I would just keep up the friendly smiles and hellos so that if she needs to talk to someone she might know you can be approached/trusted/non judgemental etc

FrancineD Fri 28-Feb-14 21:19:40

I consider her a friend, although not in my closest circle if that makes sense?.

We have been around each others houses for coffee (well, tea actually), although not since I've noticed the changes in her moods, and not since hubby has been home full time.

He's not keen. He tries to be nice, but I can't deny that he has certain 'hang ups' shall we say.

spongebob13 Fri 28-Feb-14 21:23:16

well then its a big possibility that your husband is causing an issue (not on purpose). perhaps she thinks as he was away so long she doesn't want to bother you. I personally think there is still no harm in calling to her face to face asking if she fancied a chat, stick on the kettle, engage in some banter and ask gently if she is ok. if you get walls up and short replies say "that's good was just worried, am here anyways if u want to chat, I've missed our chats" and don't mention it again.

Selks Fri 28-Feb-14 21:23:26

All you can do is ask if she is ok, in a friendly non-prying way, and if she wants to talk fine, if not then that is her choice. She may prefer to keep her privacy.

Quoteunquote Fri 28-Feb-14 21:26:22

Just keep letting her know that you are a willing listener.

Pop a note in saying you haven't seen her for a bit, and does she fancy a coffee, cake and a natter.

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