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Elderly downstairs neighbour just asked me what trouser size I am!!!

(134 Posts)
ReActiv Fri 09-Dec-16 10:10:08


AIBU to ask for help in how to deal with this man?

I'm sat here feeling really angry at him and worried I'm going to end up snapping at him next time i see him (probably in an hour for his scheduled 10.30am pestering!)

He's elderly and lives alone. He's recently had an accident and injured his wrist. I'm trying to keep all this in mind - i'm normally quite patient - but i cannot take much more of this.

Basically - i've known him around ten years. He lives on the ground floor of our building. I live on the first. We've always just been "Hello, how are you?" type of acquaintances. But since our other neighbour died two years ago - they were close - he's tried to engage with me on a much friendlier basis, and i just cannot be annoyed with it. He's actually making me miserable. Particularly this week.


Usually i leave the building at 7am to drop my daughter off at breakfast club. His lights are usually off, so i presume he's sleeping. So we get to leave the building with no hassle.

However, i finished up for Christmas last week (I'm a final year student but have a shit load of assignments to hand in before Christmas and exams to revise for in early January) so was looking forward to working from home these next two weeks while my daughter is at school. Nope - have so far achieved nothing of the sort this week.

Each morning as we're coming down the stairs to head to school, his door opens and out he comes. His front door is right next to the communal entrance/exit, so he stands there blocking it and tries to engage me in conversation. My daughter has been late for school 5/5 days this week because of it this week.

On Monday, he told me about his wrist injury that happened Sunday night. I was polite, showed concern, told him i was here if he needed me (did not give him my new number this time, as last time after he got another injury a few years ago he was phoning up to 5 times a day asking for things or for a chat). I got my daughter to school ten minutes late.

Then on the way back, he saw me coming up the path (his living room window looks out onto the exterior communal entrance so there is no way of sneaking in/out without him seeing) and stopped me again with a shopping list. I thought fine, fair enough, i did offer. I asked him if it was anything he needed urgently, as I wouldn't be heading out again until 3pm. He assured me it wasn't.

An hour later, he knocks on my door and thanks me again for offering to do his shopping. I thought it was a hint for me to get it bought, so i asked again - is it anything you need urgently? He said nope, happy to wait til the afternoon. Then he asks for a drink of water as he's just had to hoik himself up a set of long stairs to see me. He was really looking wobbly so i invited him in for a sit down (feeling very uncomfortable all the while, he's never been into my house before). He didn't leave til 2pm! I made him lunch and he ended up watching my telly. I still have no idea how this came about and am so angry with myself for not being more assertive. A totally wasted day.

I won't go into detail of every single day but it's just been constant this week. Usually it's maybe 2-3 times per week he catches us leaving/entering the building, or knocks our door so I've tolerated it previously. As i appreciate he is lonely. But this week, it's been 5+ times each day. I'm unable to leave or enter the building without his door opening. I'm unable to sit and relax and concentrate on my work at home as I'm so on edge the door is going to knock.

But basically, he stops us every morning before going to school to chat to us about nothing in particular. I've said bluntly the past three days - sorry, pete (not real name) but we're very late. Can you tell me after i drop DD off at school? He apologises then continues prattling on. No matter how many times i repeat. And i can't physically walk away because he stands blocking the exit.

Then on my way back from school around 9.20 - he stops me again. I've started walking in pretending i'm talking on my mobile. But then he knocks my door about an hour later asking if this is a good time - so yesterday, every time i answered my door (gas man, postman etc), i've had to answer it pretending i'm on the phone again in case it's my neighbour.

I've had to start leaving the house at 2.30pm to collect my daughter from school (school is less than a five min walk away) just so he can get his conversation out of the way without me being late to collect my daughter at 3pm.

This morning, i was completely on edge going down the stairs. Me and my daughter were practically tiptoeing - sure enough, he opened his door. How the hell can he hear us?? I said outright before he'd said a word - sorry pete we're very, very late. And made for the door without making eye contact. Out he comes and blocks it. Then starts talking about something irrelevant - not urgent at all - then asks "Listen, pal, was just wondering what trouser size you are?" I laughed, as I was surprised. He didn't elaborate. So i asked why. He said "My friend's neice has got a load of trousers she's trying to shift. I could get you designer stuff half price". I was fuming. Really worried i was going to snap at him. Told him no thanks, i don't need new clothes. He tried to convince me again, telling me i wouldn't get them at a better price etc, offering to get the neice to come round and show me them later if i wanted. I repeatedly said no, can we get past? He tried a few more times then moved out the way.

Sure enough, on my way back he came out of his house holding his mobile, I pretended to be on my mine, so hand gestured now was not a good time as i've dashed upstairs talking on the phone to my imaginary friend Joan and came here to rant. I presume he had pictures of the trousers on his phone and that's what he wanted to show me.

He regularly tries to get me to buy things from his friends. Always acting like he's doing me a favour getting things cheap. Always following a sob story about how his friends need the money. or his friends are raising money for charity. Sofas, toys, raffle tickets, tickets for charity nights, but it's never been anything personal. I'm just really pissed off about this latest one as he acted so normally when he asked me my clothing size. i'm probably over sensitive though.

Other info:
He is very independent. Not open to the idea of carers (I suggested this on Monday as a temporary measure until his wrist is better and he was livid at the suggestion)

He is cognitively astute - no obvious signs of impairment in conversation

He does have family come at the weekend who take him out. But they aren't very nice. I tried to approach them about 8 months ago after pete had come to my door really drunk and upset about a family friend dying (who i dont know at all!) and so I asked them to have a word with their dad (pete) as it had disturbed my daughter. I got an earful about how their dad isn't a pest, and how much their dad is fond of me, and how it's expected of neighbours to look out for each other.

Sorry this is so long. Started writing it when i was still full of rage. Actually think i've calmed myself down a bit just by ranting here.

Telling him outright that no this is not a good time for a chat is ineffective as he just tries again later.

Yesterday, coming home from school pick up in the afternoon, he tried to chat to us again. I sent dd upstairs to let herself into the flat. I told him tactfully that he has to stop coming to the door, catching us on the way in/out etc as I had lots of work i need to get done. Maybe he could just pop his shopping list or a note through the letterbox or leave it under his door mat and i can check it etc? He looked a bit bashful at this and apologised. I thought that had done the trick. Clearly not after this morning's trouser sale chat!

He told me previously that he comes from quite a tough family so he has plenty of friends who could knock someone out. So i'm actually really scared to do anything behind his back (such as report him to environmental health for neighbour meditation, or go to his family again for support.) He didn't just tell me this randomly by the way. It was a response to something. He'd stopped me once on the way to uni to tell me he'd been getting some grief from a woman a few streets away about something daft. Apparently she had become quite threatening. I advised him to phone the police. He laughed and said his family don't deal with the police. if he had an issue, it was dealt with through his nephews and sons.

On the plus side - he's told me the physio has said his wrist should be fixed in 6 weeks so should i just tolerate this for another 5 weeks?

And i'm moving out once i graduate in the summer so i'm not feeling too down, as i know this isn't forever.

What would you do in the meantime?

Again, sorry for the length! Feeling much better after just ranting it out. But still a bit on edge as i know he's going to knock again soon. And he knows that i'm in, so ignoring doesn't work. he would happily stand there all day knocking.

blueskyinmarch Fri 09-Dec-16 10:13:00

One word. Library. No other option. He is going to keep pestering you otherwise.

scottishdiem Fri 09-Dec-16 10:17:28


Dont open your door to him.

JellyBelli Fri 09-Dec-16 10:18:12

What would I do? When I move out, I'd tell the landlord they shouldn't put women in that flat and why.
You either confront him and deal with the fallout, move, or put up with it. I'd start by saying 'don't block my way' and repeat until he moved off to one side. but then the fallout from that kind of interaction doesn't worry me. I can understand why you wouldn't want to.

Lapinlapin Fri 09-Dec-16 10:18:59

Oh I really feel for you.
He sounds lonely, but totally taking advantage of your good nature. He's actually being really rude now. Most people are able to take a hint - he clearly isn't.

What what I do? I'm not very good at confrontation, so tbh I'd go and do my work at the Uni, or local library. But then, I have always liked working in libraries as I find it more productive. I appreciate not everyone does. But would it be an option? Take your daughter to school, go straight to uni (take a packed lunch), and then not return home until after you've collected her from school.

Not ideal, but you've only got to manage until the summer. Otherwise, I think I'd move house!

CalorieCreditEqualsCake Fri 09-Dec-16 10:26:15


It's her bloody home, she shouldn't have to stay in a library for 2 weeks.

paxillin Fri 09-Dec-16 10:32:19

If he is stopping you with a gun, call the police, anything short of that, walk past saying you have no time. Your daughter was late 5/5 because you stopped.

ReActiv Fri 09-Dec-16 10:32:47

Thanks so much everyone. I'm really not productive at all in the library but do think that's my only option for these assignments. I get very easily distracted and can't write as well as i do when i silence in my own home (usually). But i'm too on edge at my own home due to this carry on, so the library would be better.

But it's then when i come home with my daughter after 3pm he'll still stop us on the way back, and i'm still on edge during the evenings that he'll knock. God, one time the door went about 8.30pm a good few months back. I was in the bath. And daughter had not long gone to bed. Tried to ignore it for 5 mins but it kept knocking. Asked dd to nip down and call through the letterbox to see who it was and to tell them i couldn't come to the door right now. It was 'Pete' and my daughter told him that i was in the bath. I heard him telling her to get mum quick as he needed a word. DD started opening the door to let him in! So i quickly grabbed my housecoat and shoved it on and then had to stand there behind the front door while he told me his urgent story - that he was going to Blackpool with his sons in a few days, and he wanted to give me a leaflet about the coach company in case i saw any deals I wanted for me and dd to go down in the summer. I was standing there dripping wet, hiding behind a door, he could clearly see i was uncomfortable yet he was quite calmly talking a load of nonsense. Ignoring the door does not work if he knows i'm at home. I'm still so annoyed about that and hate going for a bath now as i just can't relax.

So going to the library will work during the day. But lat afternoon/evenings. Nope. I don't think there is a solution.

paxillin Fri 09-Dec-16 10:34:18

Tell DD not to open the door. Say sorry, I am busy. Close the door.

ReActiv Fri 09-Dec-16 10:34:38

Paxillin, i can't just walk by though because he stands there blocking the communal door. Short of pushing him out the way, i need to wait on him deciding to shift. When i tell him i need by to get dd to school etc he acknowledges me saying that but then starts talking about something else. All the while, continuing to stand there.

paxillin Fri 09-Dec-16 10:35:50

Have you said "please do not stand in the door, I need to get through"? I really fail to see why you stop. What do you do in the street, can you get past chuggers?

Maudlinmaud Fri 09-Dec-16 10:36:21

Just keep telling him no. Not right now.. I haven't time Pete. I'm busy. Etc etc
He has family to support him, you do not have to.
Be very firm and use a fuck off face.

StealthPolarBear Fri 09-Dec-16 10:38:48

I'd say this has gone beyond avoiding him. It sounds as though he intimidates youm

MiniCooperLover Fri 09-Dec-16 10:39:33

You need to stop listening. Just repeat and repeat that you have no time, be snappy, be irritable, stop being polite!

StealthPolarBear Fri 09-Dec-16 10:40:07

Interrupt him when he ignores your request
I do think you are bring too polite but I do get that you're scared of him to an extent. I would be too

YelloDraw Fri 09-Dec-16 10:44:44

Paxillin, i can't just walk by though because he stands there blocking the communal door. Short of pushing him out the way, i need to wait on him deciding to shift. When i tell him i need by to get dd to school etc he acknowledges me saying that but then starts talking about something else. All the while, continuing to stand there.

Then you push past.

"Sorry, can't stop for a chat. Got to take DD to school. Excuse me, please can you step aside? <start walking forwards> Excuse me <push past>"

Katy07 Fri 09-Dec-16 10:45:12

You are literally going to have to manoeuvre him out of the way when you're on your own - squeeze past, repeatedly saying (without time for interruptions and just talk over him anyway) 'got to go, running late, can't stop, haven't got time TODAY, if it's urgent leave me a note because I don't have time TODAY'. And when your daughter is there let her push past and follow right behind - kids are much better at pushing past because they don't always have that British reticence (and you can tell to her to do so!). And when you're indoors don't answer. He won't knock all day, he'll get bored eventually even if he takes 10 or more minutes to do so. A couple of times of not getting what he wants and he might take the hint but if you wait and wait and then give in (thinking it's urgent) then you're back at square one. I know you'll be sitting there swearing but it's a short term pain for a long term gain.
Bloody neighbours angry

Oldraver Fri 09-Dec-16 10:45:23

You have got to be assertive and almost rude back.

He stands in your way, "You need to move"

Chocolateteabag Fri 09-Dec-16 10:46:51

Oh OP that sounds awful!
I know you say he blocks the door but as he clearly doesn't listen to you then can you just not listen to him? One "Morning!" then - go for the door and keep saying " Excuse me, we are late for school, need to get past, MOVE PLEASE! NEED TO GO NOW"
ie don't engage at all?

Then I think you are just going to have to mentally block him out. No more offers of help or standing listening to him go on. Even though it will feel rude to you - hand up and "I've got to get on, Bye". He has family and as you say he is perfectly capable of getting help - just won't. He's using you.

You'll have to become a worn out record - "No, No Thankyou, No No No No"

On the plus side - this will be good life lesson for your DD on how to deal with such people as she gets older too.

LlamaDrama Fri 09-Dec-16 10:46:51

I think you need to be a bit more assertive at the door - such as 'sorry Dave, you are blocking the door, please move'

You have tried to be nice and as sad as it is that he is lonely, he needs some boundaries.

Good luck OP - it's a tough one!

JennyOnAPlate Fri 09-Dec-16 10:47:18

I think you need to put your big girl pants on and tell him straight. When he's blocking the door you need to tell him to shift; "please move out of the way Pete, you're blocking the door and we're late" and keep saying it until he does.

ChasedByBees Fri 09-Dec-16 10:48:17

I think you need to interrupt him when he is talking - broken record technique. 'This is not a good time'. Repeat twice, then close the door. You have to be utterly firm and blunt. He doesn't take hints!

I might even stop any favours. For example, doing his shopping is giving him a reason to keep up contact.

He's being inappropriate.

ohtheholidays Fri 09-Dec-16 10:51:25

I'd stick a note on your front door saying Do Not Disturb! and then if he still knocks your door ignore the annoying sod,I know it's hard but if he gets no attention from you after a while he will stop!

He has family so stop offering to do anything for him no matter what it is and how often he may ask!

When your going to go out of the door either pretend to be on the phone or tell him he needs to get out of your way because the school have made serious complaints about your DD being late for school all the time and the only reason you are ever late is because he blocks the exit and it's not fair on your DD or you!

Stand upto him OP and do it now,we have a neighbour like yours in our road and he hasn't bothered me for years after I had a go at him.
He'd been so over the top with a friend of mine that lived in the road that it nearly broke her marriage up because her DH blamed her for all the interference they were receiving from the elderly male neighbour we have.
They loved living here and owned they're house but they sold up and moved away and didn't tell anyone where they were going for fear of him finding out.They're son even had to move school!

Wonderflonium Fri 09-Dec-16 10:52:41

tinkly laugh "You're in the way, Pete, we have to get to school! BYE"/"I was having a bath, I thought this was an emergency! Got to get back in before it goes cold! BYE!"

Just be rude rude rude back.

kaitlinktm Fri 09-Dec-16 10:56:55

OP - how will things improve when his wrist is better? I don't understand why a broken wrist has made him start acting like this. Also I find it vaguely sinister that he blocks the communal door. He listens for you, comes out of his flat, walks to the exit and blocks it.

Have you tried just interrupting with "Pete, Pete, Pete, Pete, Pete ..." not loud or aggressively, just repeating until he (hopefully) stops and then say "You're blocking the exit and I will be fined if she is late for school any more - we HAVE to go NOW" and then just move forward a bit (not pushing) and see if that works. I think if you wait for him to finish what he's saying, he just never will, so you have to put your natural good manners to one side and interrupt.

I am sorry if I have missed this - but how old is he about - 60s, 70s, 80s? Depending on how generally fit he is, this might seem very threatening - the man is pestering you regularly. I mean, fancy getting you out of the bath for that - perhaps next time you could say "I thought you said it was urgent."

Also, why should you have to answer the door just because he thinks you should? Put headphones on so you can't hear him (after he starts knocking perhaps) and then if he says anything later, say you must have been wearing your headphones as you are desperate not to be interrupted.

I am glad you are moving out in the summer, but I do feel the landlords ought to know if this sort of harassment (and even though he is old, that is what it is) continues.

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