For once, it's not my issue. My friend Tammy was telling me about her situation and it seemed like a good topic for the board. I think it might be an etiquette issue on one level, but it's also wierd on a different level.
Tammy has a neighbor named Cheryl who has two kids the same age as Tammy's. (15 year old son and 9 year old daughter). Also, Cheryl's husband and Tammy's are both into the same sort of things. (watching football, golf, electronics). Tammy noticed shortly after Cheryl and her family moved in next door, that suddenly everything Tammy's family had or got, Cheryl started aquiring for her family. Examples: Tammy bought her daughter heelies-two weeks later, Cheryl's daughter got heelies. Tammy bought the kids some name brand 'in style' jackets. The next day, Cheryl bought them for her kids. Tammy said a few days ago she ran into Cheryl at a store while she was buying her son an ipod for his birthday. Cheryl asked who it was for so Tammy said it was for her son's birthday. Cheryl then got the salesperson to open the case again and got one as well for her son, telling Tammy, "not to worry, she wouldn't give her son the ipod until after Tammy's son got his."
Tammy says this has carried over to grades as well. Every time report cards come out, Cheryl makes an excuse to come over and starts fishing for what Tammy's kids made. Tammy says her whole face seems to light up if one of hers makes better on something than Tammy's. Cheryl was even caught leafing through some graded papers Tammy's son left sitting on the computer desk one day.
If Tammy's husband gets a new electronic gadget, Cheryl's husband gets on too, usually because Cheryl went out and bought it. If Tammy's husbands gets tickets to a game, Cheryl tries to get them for her husband too, only better seats. Tammy's husband gets a new golf club, Cheryl buys her husband two.
Tammy said she repainted her son's room recently and put down new carpet. Cheryl took one look at his room and the next week her son's room was repainted, new carpet and new furniture. Tammy bought new living room furniture a few months ago, and Cheryl went out and bought the SAME furniture. (with a few extra pieces, of course)
Tammy got diamond earrings for Christmas this year. When Cheryl asked what she got and Tammy showed her, Cheryl looked directly at her husband and said she wanted some but her's had better be a carat larger. Right in front of Tammy! Tammy's family went and adopted a puppy from the pound. Cheryl went out and bought a purebred pup. Tammy says the last three trips they've taken, no little than a week later, Cheryl's family has gone to the same place, but of course stayed in more expensive hotels, ate at better restaurants, etc.
This has gone on for a while and applies to every single thing Tammy and her family has bought or anywhere they've went. Every single thing. Of course, Tammy got wise to Cheryl and does everything she can to avoid telling Cheryl anything, but the kids all like each other and play together, the two husbands get along fairly well and talk 'over the fence' often, and Tammy says she's gotten where she hates to go outside because Cheryl seems to be lying in wait for her and is very pushy about asking questions. She practically runs to her car. And she says now it seems like she's got the kids asking questions for her.
Tammy doesn't want to be ugly to Cheryl because 1)they are neighbors and have to live by them 2) the kids are friends and 3) the whole thing seems sort of petty when you tell it to others and makes Tammy look like the bad guy. But really, she says the whole thing is starting to creep her out. She said she felt like taking out a restraining order when Cheryl showed up in the gourmet cooking class she's taking last night. She says she doesn't want to be in 'competition' with Cheryl, but Cheryl doesn't seem to be willing to accept that Tammy isn't playing.
So, how far is this sort of behavior just 'silly' and when does it become offensive? And what do you do about it if you DON'T want to be nasty to someone?