Etiquette School is in session! > Complete Silence

Shunned by our Haitian neighbors for no reason

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eastonp:
My wife and two kids live in Skokie, IL. Though we are in Chicago's northern suburbs, it's actually a pretty diverse community. I'm a teacher, my wife is an out-of-work social worker, daughter is six, son is two, pretty typical white American family, quiet but friendly, not obnoxious in any way that I can tell.

When our new neighbors moved in--a couple in their late 30s / early 40s, we introduced ourselves, learned names, exchanged pleasantries. And then they shunned us. Serious shunning. The kind of shunning where you say, "Hi, how are you?" and wave, and he pretends we don't exist. Like I'm Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense shunning.

Now I don't mind it so terribly. Obviously something is wrong, he thinks I did something, or who the hell knows what. But he and his wife do it to our kids. And we are left answering questions like, "Daddy, why doesn't our neighbor look at me or hear me talking?"

And two other things: he will set up a 10 foot monitor right next to our back fence and blast music for hours on end on the weekend. Also, his friends who come over will talk to us, say hi, very cordial and polite. But he and his wife...nothing.

What would you do? I've considered everything from writing a note to ask what we've done, to bringing over cupcakes that my daughter and I made, to just calling the cops the next time the music is out of hand.

Advice?

Shunned in Skokie

Moray:
Does it matter that they're Haitian? Does it matter that you're white? Wouldn't their behavior be just as perplexing if they weren't, or you weren't?

Twik:
Ask them over for dinner?

If they're somehow angry with you, that might either persuade them you mean no harm, or provoke them to yell back "How could we accept your invitation when you ____________?" (Fill in blank with atrocious but unintentional offense.)

Do they socialize with anyone else in the neighborhood? Do you have a friend who could, while chatting, ask casually "So, what to you think of the eastonps?"

Moray:
Regarding your actual questions:

Regarding the "shunning":It's possible that they don't like you/don't like speaking to neighbors/have taken a vow of silence/whatever. Continue to be friendly and welcoming, but accept that you can't make people be friendly. Take the cupcakes over if you feel like it.

Regarding the loud music: You can ask them nicely to turn it down, or you can work with your local enforcement agencies to register a noise complaint.

Tilt Fairy:
If the music is loud and continuous, I would politely knock on their door and just ask if they could keep the noise down - then go from there. The shunning is odd and unfriendly - especially since you say you and your family have made an effort to reach out to them.

If I were you, I'd give it one last chance to give them the benefit of the doubt. Bring them over cupcakes with a smile and give them a warm welcome to the neighbourhood when they open their door to you - and whilst you're at it, politely ask if they wouldn't mind turning the music down.

If they are still unfriendly and dismissive towards you after you have made countless friendly and warm gestures, I would forget making an effort with them. If they continue to play music that disturbs you a lot, ask them again more firmly or send them a written note, and if that still doesn't work, maybe calling the police. Try to go through the least extreme routes first like asking them politely before immediately calling the police. They may turn it down when you ask them.

***Also, was there any reason why you mentioned the race of your neighbours in your title? Does this make a difference to anything? Just asking in case you missed something out. Otherwise, their race and yours is irrelevant to mention.***

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