Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Bees With Honey Than Vinegar

Dear Aunt B,

We have recently rented a very nice house for a decent price, and we love it. There is very little we would change if we bought this house, we are close to work, family, stores, and we only really have one neighbor to our property because of road frontage, railroad tracks, and a gully behind. The house is almost perfect, and the rent and utilities so far are not that high. The only problem is our neighbor. There is a row of bushes between our properties, and in cleaning the yard we had lined up branches and logs from the winters storm on our side of the bushes. She came knocking on our door, yelling at my daughter that the limbs are on her property and she wanted us to move them, my husband went to the door, and politely asked her what was wrong, and she was making snide remarks about us facing trespassing charges if we didn’t move them. He said “I’ll call Jerry (the landlord), thank you, ma’am” and he shut and locked the door. We told the landlord what she said and the landlord looked at where we put the limbs and said that he saw no problem, and that the bushes were on the line. Then about a week later she got mad again and was fussing about the trash can my daughter sat it a few inches over into her yard and she made us move it. Now, my husband has caught her raking limbs onto the back of our property, when he said something to her she said it would be best if he just went back inside.
We have always been friendly with neighbors and are used to people who you can share garden veggies with and talk to every day on the way to the mailbox. How do we deal with this lonely, angry woman? She is elderly, lives alone and rarely comes out, and hires people to do lawn work and such, I think.

Dear Reader;

I have lived next to people like this (and they were not elderly, just ornery!) and unfortunately the answer is this: leave it be.
Make sure you know where your property begins and ends, and respect those limits. Some people are, for whatever reason, very compulsive about every centimetre of their property, especially when they have to defend it in the past. You rent this property correct? My guess is that this lady has had several neighbours and has learned over time to “draw the line” nice and early so there is no room for miscommunication. Really has nothing to do with you personally..

You never know, maybe if you respect her wish (in respecting her property) and you live there a little while, she might come out of her shell and become a little more neighbourly.

Hope you enjoy your house, regardless of the neighbour.

~ Xmichra

Hi M******,

Isn't it always true that just when everything seems perfect, a pricker gets in our way! Well, I know how hard it can be to have neighbors who are difficult. Two things come to mind, first, how lucky you are that this is just one person to deal with. The second thing is, that this old woman may feel threatened by a young family moving in. She may know, that some young people treat the elderly with disrespect.
My advice to you is to give her a chance. Be nice to her, despite her aggressive behavior to you, for it might be out of fear. Show her that you don't mean her any harm, and in fact truly want to be neighborly. She may come around, and then you can build some sort of trust, as a neighbor. And, if things really do not get any better, a bad neighbor can be less of a reason that some people do end up moving!
I hope this helps!

Thanks for contacting SidellSez and the best of luck to you!


Dear Melissa,

I would imagine that the commandment to "love thy neighbor as you love yourself" is surely a challenge in your mind at this point in time. I think anybody would find fault in your neighbors bad behavior. Yes, it's enough to "piss off a Preacher" isn't it?

You stated, in your letter, "
How do we deal with this lonely, angry woman?" so it appears to me that you are able to see things from different perspectives, i.e., that she is lonely and angry. It also sounds like you and your husband are reasonable people faced with an unreasonable neighbor.

I suppose there are a couple of different ways to deal with this woman, one of which is steering clear of her in hopes that she'll just settle down as you settle in. She is evidently territorial, not to mention vindictive and at this juncture she may just simply be letting you know loud and clear that she'll not take any abuse of her rights and/or property lines, real or imaginary.

You can pick which one suits you or rather which one you can bear to approach. The first idea might be a "Do Over" line of attack. Possibly you could take over a homemade item such as cookies or something similar and establish that the two of you got off on the wrong foot. You could also acknowledge that you respect her as well as her property and will try to be mindful of such.

Now I realize you're probably a bit miffed by her behavior and as such may be a tad bit apprehensive about"sucking up" to such a hateful persona. But you do get, "More Bees With Honey Than Vinegar."

If this line of attack is palatable, in thought but not in reason, you might write a note to the effect of how you would like to "turn over a new leaf" per say, making sure that you mention the fact that you've never ever had problems with neighbors before and you certainly do not wish for it now. Then ending it with the question, "...and how can we resolve this to your satisfaction?," may bring forth some semblance of satisfaction.

By writing this note, making it clear that you realize that she's obviously been burned by someone who's lived there before you, it will then possibly validate her fears but also make her aware that you, her new neighbor are not like your predecessors and will most certainly treat her just as you'd want to be treated.

Now the ball is in her court and she just might have to look at her, more than obvious asinine behavior.The methodology behind this may be to let her know that you do realize that it's quite possible that, for better terms, she may very well be carrying some emotional baggage, real issues she's dealt with in the past by neighbors that did not treat her with due respect.

If this does not work, I'll welcome you to write us again and we'll be more than happy to hash this out with you.

Keeping It Real,

Aunt B

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 comment:

Amber said...

As someone that works with elders on a daily basis, I have to mention that sometimes... when they get older, they get meaner. Not everyone is reasonable in adulthood, and some get less reasonable as times go on. Though it may ease your neighbor into less aggressive behavior, please be careful when dealing with her. Don't get sucked into her nastiness!