Author Topic: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor, Update #54  (Read 10312 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

mbbored

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5315
    • Budget Grad Student
How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor, Update #54
« on: April 11, 2013, 11:11:01 PM »
Somebody new just moved into the townhouse next door. He's a nice quiet guy, fresh out of college, living on his own for the first time, and likes my dog (which is a bonus). We've passed each other coming and going a few times and we've exchanged pleasantries.

Yesterday he knocked on my door and wants to know if he has offended me in some way because I never want to "really talk." I was surprised and said no he hadn't offended me, I was just a quiet person. He said great, we should get to know each other sometime so I wouldn't be so shy around him, maybe have a beer sometime. I said "maybe," then was literally saved by the bell of my kitchen timer going off.

I don't want to "really talk" with this guy. I don't need a new friend. I work 60 hours a week and am involved in a few community organizations and have a close knit circle of friends that I can barely keep up with as is. I'm rarely home and when I am, I relish in the quiet and being alone. However, I don't want to alienate my neighbor and start off with a bad relationship with a person who will potentially be feet away for the next two years.

Any advice on how to maintain a polite but distant relationship with a person you can't avoid and who wants more?
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 12:27:49 PM by mbbored »

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4102
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 11:12:17 PM »
mbbored, I'm sorry but I can't remember your background information - do you live alone?  Are you of a comparable age to this guy?

TeamBhakta

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2451
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 11:16:07 PM »
I've always been under the impression that a random "I'm so sorry we never talk" = "This is my attempt to get you to say yes to date, without me calling it that straight out." I would suggest you politely answer "what about next week" with "Oh gosh, (imaginary) Boyfriend and I have plans then. Thanks anyway, though!"
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 11:18:26 PM by TeamBhakta »

mbbored

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5315
    • Budget Grad Student
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 11:19:04 PM »
mbbored, I'm sorry but I can't remember your background information - do you live alone?  Are you of a comparable age to this guy?

I do live alone (except for my mutt) and I'm 30, though am typically mistaken for somebody in their early 20s.

EllenS

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1368
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 11:45:38 PM »
Sounds to me like a very poor attempt at flirtation.  You have no need to lie, or fear getting off on the wrong foot.  If you are not interested in spending time with this fellow *for whatever reason*, a simple "no" is all that's required.  If he confines himself to vague comments about getting a beer "sometime", you can brush that off with "I work a lot.  See you around."  If he is issuing a specific invitation, you can specifically decline it with "No thank you."

Do not JADE.  You do not owe him a reason or an explanation.  If you don't have a boyfriend, or specific plans, lying is only going to create drama and draw you further in.  Just use polite words and don't engage.  If he is pushy, then he is the one being rude.  If you must, you can tell him, "I value my neighbors, but I also value my privacy."

If he is fresh out of college, he may just be trying to re-create some dorm-room camaraderie.  You are under to obligation to provide it.  Hopefully he will be a good neighbor.

delabela

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 584
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2013, 12:27:30 AM »
This sounds a little weird to me, but I guess that I'll give this guy the benefit of the doubt, assuming there isn't anything else 'off'. 

I've sometimes let people know that my job is very people-intensive, so I just want to chill out and keep to myself sometimes.  I have found that folks usually understand that.  Maybe you could mention that you're wiped out from work or something.  I would probably take a minute to chat if I saw him out at a time where I felt energized. 


Amara

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2470
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2013, 12:36:08 AM »
"Thank you for your nice offer, but between 60-hour work weeks, my hobbies and community organizations, and get-togethers with friends, I have very little time to myself. I really do prefer to reserve that time for [dog] and I. Take care. See you around!"

sparksals

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 17328
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2013, 01:25:36 AM »
Just remain polite.  He will get the message.  Although keeping a distance may bite you if you ever need his neighbourliness.   He may remember the distance and return the favour. 

I guess I have a different view of neighbours.  I.grew up with close relationships to them.  One was with my mom when my dad died.  I know that may be more close than standard, but you never know when one would really need their help.  There are one or two on my street I will go out of my way for, the rest won't get my time. 


Slartibartfast

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 11607
    • Nerdy Necklaces - my Etsy shop!
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 01:37:52 AM »
Just remain polite.  He will get the message.  Although keeping a distance may bite you if you ever need his neighbourliness.   He may remember the distance and return the favour. 

I guess I have a different view of neighbours.  I.grew up with close relationships to them.  One was with my mom when my dad died.  I know that may be more close than standard, but you never know when one would really need their help.  There are one or two on my street I will go out of my way for, the rest won't get my time.

Things change, though, when you're a single female and the neighbor in question is a single guy around the same age.  I would definitely be more friendly with a female/married/gay/older/whatever neighbor than I would with a guy who might consider me a potential romantic interest - especially since some guys are very bad about taking hints and bad about being turned down  :-\  Even though there's no specific evidence to say that the OP's new neighbor would be one of these guys, I think it's best to be polite but distant so there's no chance of him mistaking cool friendliness for flirtation.

bopper

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12199
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2013, 09:10:58 AM »
I suspect this is an Introvert/Extrovert issue.

http://twentytwowords.com/2012/08/29/a-simple-explanation-of-how-to-interact-with-introverts/

Also it maybe a "I think you are cute" issue....and you are not looking for romantic interest and certainly not one who is going to bully you into one.


lowspark

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3645
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2013, 09:23:07 AM »
I agree with PPs. My first impression from your post is that he's trying to get you to go out with him. And I find his approach off-putting. If he wants to ask you out, he should do so, and then you can accept or decline. But this sort of sideways hinting that you should have a beer to get to know each other so you won't be shy is just annoying.

I'd just say, thanks, but my time is booked and I won't be able to make it. And keep repeating.

Knitterly

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1557
    • That other knitting blog
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2013, 09:39:17 AM »
That's... weird and would make me a little uncomfortable. Saying something in passing in the driveway about wanting to hang out and get to know you better?  Totally normal. 

Knocking your door to ask if he's offended you seems almost creepy to me. 

Coming over with cookies to suggest getting to know each other?  Totally normal.

It's the "have I offended you?" statement that sets off my 'creepometer'.  That's not a cool way to start a conversation at all.  That's starting a conversation on the offensive with an accusatory statement.  Not cool.  Not friendly.  Not neighbourly.

Eden

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 598
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2013, 09:43:25 AM »
I suspect this is an Introvert/Extrovert issue.

http://twentytwowords.com/2012/08/29/a-simple-explanation-of-how-to-interact-with-introverts/

Also it maybe a "I think you are cute" issue....and you are not looking for romantic interest and certainly not one who is going to bully you into one.

I don't think he's bullying OP, but I do agree that this is not my favorite approach. I so prefer people who are just straightforward, but maybe he's too nervous to be. Anyway, I'd do what other suggested by saying thanks for the interest, but I'd rather not. If he's offended, that's on him. There's nothing rude about a polite decline.

Twirly

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 233
    • Your Pop Filter
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2013, 10:19:41 AM »
He definitely went about it in a super strange manner but I'm not ready to call him creepy or a bully just yet. I know when I was fresh out of college and living on my own for the first time I was extremely lonely and really sad that none of my neighbors seemed to want to be friends. In college I knew all of my neighbors really well and had grown up in a very close and friendly neighborhood where people welcomed newcomers with informal gatherings and routinely just walked in through the backdoor. It was a major culture shock to move into a building where everyone kept to themselves and I spent the first 6 months or so wondering why I was being shunned. I eventually got over myself haha.

Since he left it at a vague "get a beer sometime" I think this is one of those situations where you can just always be regretfully busy. I wouldn’t want to come right out and say I don’t want to be friends with you because that can make things very awkward with someone you'll be running into on a regular basis. Of course if he gives you a hinky feeling in any way be as stern and cold as you feel the situation warrants.

Demons dipped in adorable

My snarky alter ego co-writes a pop culture blog: http://yourpopfilter.com/

PennyandPleased

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 176
Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2013, 10:24:34 AM »
I agree with the person who said he is probably trying to re-create a little bit of the dorm life. Which I can understand.

Honestly - when I am approached by a man and he asks to hang out/get a drink/buy me a drink/dinner, etc. Basically anything like what the OP described I have found the following ALWAYS works.

Guy: Hey would you like to go out and grab a drink?
Me: (big smile) Awwww NO THANK YOU! (Big smile)
::Awkward silence::
Guy: Okay thanks. ::Leaves::


The "Awwwww" for some reason gets the point across. I don't know why but it always, always works. I use it all the time and the reaction is always the same. The guy never gets mad, and just sort of smiles and walks away quietly.  :P  My friends use it too and it always gets the job done.

Maybe try something like this. You are nice but still saying No.