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Was I rude to new neighbors (from Iran) ?

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We have lovely new neighbors and I'm really worried that I have offended them.  When they moved in the mother was the first to come over to our house with a beautiful cake as a welcome gift!   ;D  She then invited me to come over "any time" and visit.
About a week later I was on my way out and New Neighbor (NN) called me over.  She invited me in for coffee.  I politely (I think!) explained that I was running out for a bit and really couldn't stay.  A few days after that I returned NN's cake plate and she again invited me for coffee.  I declined the coffee but we chatted for a few minutes before I had to go. 
It has been close to a month now and NN has not said another word to me.  Whereas before we would wave and call "hello" in passing, she now seems to not see me. I feel terrible.  I really think I blew it.  :-[
Is it an Iranian tradition to invite neighbors in for coffee?  Did I offend because I declined the coffee twice and only stayed a few minutes before leaving?  What can I do to show NN that I would love to still be friendly but for the most part I honestly do not have the time to sit and chat at length?  I am really hoping I haven't completely screwed up on this one.

Well, we always say that if you dont want to be friends, decline the invitations, and that's what you did. We also say stop giving the invitations and take the hint if they've been declined a few times, and it sounds like that's what she did.

So this is really just natural consequences of the situation, imo. 

If you want the friendly relationship back, I'd make an overture - an invitation to coffee, to meet outside for a few, bring over some food or something, let her know about a neighborhood jewel, etc.  Or, if you really dont have the time, then just continue being friendly and engaging her in a chat every so often, but dont provide any invitations.  But I'd say you can't really have it both ways, kwim?

I think from my understanding of Iranian politeness (Taarof), if you are ever offered something, like coffee, at first you decline it until they insist at which point you must accept. If they don't insist, then it doesn't really matter :)

Or they could be perfectly acclimated to whatever culture the incident took place in, in which case you can treat them as any other neighbor. To think of it, that's what you should be doing anyway.

That said, if a new neighbor declined my offer to come in for tea twice at the initial meeting without offering to reschedule, I too would assume they are not interested in getting to know me.

Darn it.  Then I did blow it.  I need to stop over there today and say hello.. thanks!

Yep, the ball is in your camp now. Take the initiative, hop over or invite them. Good luck!  :D

Edited to add: I don't think you were rude. I just think that you gave off some signals of "not being really interested in socialising more".


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