Author Topic: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor, Update #54  (Read 10771 times)

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reflection5

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2013, 10:35:22 AM »
I don't necessarily see it as a flirtation attempt.

I agree with what Ellen said here:
Quote
If he is fresh out of college, he may just be trying to re-create some dorm-room camaraderie.

However, I’ve had similar experiences with new neighbors who are much older and married.  Sometimes people feel they should make a “let’s get to know each other better” effort with a neighbor.  This would be more common with a younger person who hasn’t been living on his/her own for very long.  Eventually they learn that not everyone is into neighbor coziness. 

thedudeabides

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2013, 10:38:54 AM »
I'm curious. Would people who think he's a bully or creepy or hitting on the OP feel the same way if her neighbor were female?
OP, I would just be honest with him. You're busy, you're tired, you just want to come home and crash. If he keeps bugging you, then I would consider the creepy or hitting on you angles. But with just one interaction? He may just be trying to meet his neighbors.

TootsNYC

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2013, 10:44:25 AM »
Just say, "I'm happy to be neighborly, but I prefer a little bit of distance, to be honest. I find it easier to cope with the frictions of living so close to other people."

mbbored

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2013, 10:45:58 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.

Thank you for picking up on what I couldn't put my finger on! If we had bumped into each other in the parking lot and he had said "Hey, I'm new to the neighborhood, why don't we grab a beer sometime," I'd probably feel less reluctant.

I'm curious. Would people who think he's a bully or creepy or hitting on the OP feel the same way if her neighbor were female?
OP, I would just be honest with him. You're busy, you're tired, you just want to come home and crash. If he keeps bugging you, then I would consider the creepy or hitting on you angles. But with just one interaction? He may just be trying to meet his neighbors.

I think if a female neighbor had gone with the "Have I offended you?" route, I'd still be a little wary: it's a weird approach. But the fact that this is a guy who clearly spends a lot of time in the gym and has already mentioned his shot gun in passing makes me a little more uncomfortable.

audrey1962

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2013, 10:46:22 AM »
This reminds me of when I was fresh out of college and living on my own, working my first "real" job. I moved to a new city and all my co-workers were at least 25-30 years older than me (not exaggerating, this was acknowledged by the employer). I was so lonely. I tried apporaching a few of the younger people in my apartment complex and all but one rebuffed me. The one that didn't was a young guy, also new to the city, and it was a strictly platonic relationship. We were just lonely and needed someone to talk to.

Absent any evidence to the contrary, I would assume the best of your neighbor. He's probably just lonely. If you're not interested in being his friend, tell him.

And if he's like me and can't find any friends, he'll probably move back home within six months or so.

sparksals

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2013, 10:54:47 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.

It definitely depends on the vibe given off by the male neighbour, but I would not assume he was hot for me.  I would give anyone an equal chance regardless of gender, orientation.  Only after they showed other traits would I back off.

sparksals

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2013, 10:56:04 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.

Yes, I suspect he came from a friendly neighbourhood that had close neighbourly relationships.  I went through the same thing when I moved to the US from Korea.  Even my neighbours in Korea who didn't speak the same language were friendly.  We did a lot of charades to communicate.  lol 

Knitterly

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2013, 11:00:29 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.

Thank you for picking up on what I couldn't put my finger on! If we had bumped into each other in the parking lot and he had said "Hey, I'm new to the neighborhood, why don't we grab a beer sometime," I'd probably feel less reluctant.

I'm curious. Would people who think he's a bully or creepy or hitting on the OP feel the same way if her neighbor were female?
OP, I would just be honest with him. You're busy, you're tired, you just want to come home and crash. If he keeps bugging you, then I would consider the creepy or hitting on you angles. But with just one interaction? He may just be trying to meet his neighbors.

I think if a female neighbor had gone with the "Have I offended you?" route, I'd still be a little wary: it's a weird approach. But the fact that this is a guy who clearly spends a lot of time in the gym and has already mentioned his shot gun in passing makes me a little more uncomfortable.


To me, it's the "have I offended you" statement that gives me pause, regardless of the gender.  You have to admit, that's a pretty accusatory statement to start a conversation with.  It would be bad enough starting a conversation like that in passing, but actually knocking on the door of someone you don't know to ask that is a pretty aggressive way to try make a friend.

Twik

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2013, 11:52:20 AM »
What would bother me is the question, "Why don't we REALLY talk?" Just because I live near you, I don't want to be your bestest buddy, and start baring my soul to you. To me, that is more disturbing than the request to come over for a beer. It appears the neighbour wants some sort of immediate relationship. Perhaps he's not looking for a girlfriend, but it appears he has already built up in his mind that OP is going to have a close relationship with him, and that is enough that it would make me back off, in her shoes. It sounds very clingy, and a little irrational.
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reflection5

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2013, 12:25:53 PM »
What would bother me is the question, "Why don't we REALLY talk?" Just because I live near you, I don't want to be your bestest buddy, and start baring my soul to you. To me, that is more disturbing than the request to come over for a beer. It appears the neighbour wants some sort of immediate relationship. Perhaps he's not looking for a girlfriend, but it appears he has already built up in his mind that OP is going to have a close relationship with him, and that is enough that it would make me back off, in her shoes. It sounds very clingy, and a little irrational.

Good point.

I remember when I had (what I felt was) a needy neighbor who wanted more of a relationship (friendship) than I did.  It got to where she would pop up when I took out the trash or returned from work or shopping, and she kept inviting me over to talk.  My “No, thanks” (more than once) offended her and it didn’t end well.

Calistoga

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2013, 12:41:14 PM »
Well. This was a one time thing so far. He may come to the conclusion when you don't show up at his doorstep in return that you aren't interested in a super close relationship. He may not, and if he comes back, just let him know that you work 60 hours a week and by the time you get home, you're too worn out to socialize.

joraemi

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2013, 08:04:50 AM »
Well. This was a one time thing so far. He may come to the conclusion when you don't show up at his doorstep in return that you aren't interested in a super close relationship. He may not, and if he comes back, just let him know that you work 60 hours a week and by the time you get home, you're too worn out to socialize.

As I read through the thread I was on board with this plan, initially. Then suddenly when I read it in Calistoga's post I suddenly thought- we would we want (potentially)creepy neighbor to have the info that OP is gone a lot, how she spends what free time she has, that she lives alone with Dog,etc.

I vote that you just do the wave and smile as you pass each other and don't even hesitate. Just keep right on going in the door or garage or however it is you get in to your place.




Courage is the price life  exacts for granting peace.  ~Amelia Earhart~

lowspark

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2013, 11:24:28 AM »
I'm curious. Would people who think he's a bully or creepy or hitting on the OP feel the same way if her neighbor were female?

OP, I would just be honest with him. You're busy, you're tired, you just want to come home and crash. If he keeps bugging you, then I would consider the creepy or hitting on you angles. But with just one interaction? He may just be trying to meet his neighbors.

Since I'm one who said he was hitting on her, I'll answer the bolded above. And my answer is that I simply cannot imagine a female using that approach.

<snip>
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.
<snip>

It's not very likely a female would say something like "have I offended you?" or suggest getting to know each other so that "you wouldn't be so shy around [her]".

So, if a female actually did approach me with that line, I wouldn't necessarily think she was hitting on me, but I'd wonder what she was about and probably would not be all that interested in pursuing a friendship with her. It's just not a natural opening for someone to use if they just want to be casual friends.

EllenS

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2013, 12:08:33 PM »
I'm curious. Would people who think he's a bully or creepy or hitting on the OP feel the same way if her neighbor were female?

OP, I would just be honest with him. You're busy, you're tired, you just want to come home and crash. If he keeps bugging you, then I would consider the creepy or hitting on you angles. But with just one interaction? He may just be trying to meet his neighbors.

Since I'm one who said he was hitting on her, I'll answer the bolded above. And my answer is that I simply cannot imagine a female using that approach.

<snip>
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.
<snip>

It's not very likely a female would say something like "have I offended you?" or suggest getting to know each other so that "you wouldn't be so shy around [her]".

So, if a female actually did approach me with that line, I wouldn't necessarily think she was hitting on me, but I'd wonder what she was about and probably would not be all that interested in pursuing a friendship with her. It's just not a natural opening for someone to use if they just want to be casual friends.

I did not say "bully" or "hitting on", but I did assume it was an attempt at flirtation - and a hamfisted one at that.  It would depend on context whether it was creepy or not - I don't remember OP saying it was creepy, just that she was not interested.

I assumed it was flirtation, because people do flirt with each other.  Discounting any gender-politics or whatever, people DO pursue each other romantically- there is nothing wrong with that, as long as they do it politely and civilly.  People who are "putting themselves out there" to try to get someone's time and attention, are motivated by something.  By the laws of zebra-identification, the most likely explanation for a man trying to get a woman's attention is that he is trying to flirt with her.
It's just normal human behavior.

His approach did not sound very appealing, and obviously it was not successful.  Now, if OP was creeped out, or if he continues to be pushy when she has indicated she is not interested, then we have a problem.  Most likely he is just lonely and not very good at making friends/getting dates (a self-perpetuating cycle).

whiskeytangofoxtrot

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Re: How to be a Polite but Distant Neighbor
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2013, 12:51:21 PM »
How about a simple, "Sorry, but I don't have a lot of free time. It isn't personal."

I don't think any further explanation is necessary.