My partner and I moved in at the same time as next door moved into their house. When they first moved in, I felt the lady in particular was trying too hard to be my best friend right away. I don't work like that. It takes me ages to decide if someone is a friend and that's because I want them to be not because it's forced upon me. She talks A LOT and is hard to get away from. She also is a know it all which i find incredibly difficult. Anyway, 18 months later we all get on (not bezzie mates though), and I'm really grateful to have GOOD respectful neighbours as I know you can't choose them. She's at home all day with her baby. I understand she gets bored but that's not my fault. It's just, she often asks me in for a brew if i see her. I've done it a few times to keep things ticking over, not cos I wanted to, but end up staying far too long. It's like I'm trapped.
I went round the other day to get a parcel after work. I was shattered, it was my first week back in work for almost 3 months. She even said how tired I looked. She asked me several times to stay for tea but I politely declined. I was still there over half an hour. She said several times near the end "we should have had that cup of tea after all. I'll ask you next time and you'll say yes and you'll stay even if you only drink half". (She is foreign so it wasn't as forceful as it sounds, it's how she uses English language). It doesn't matter what I say I can't get away.
There's just no concept of bending to other people's needs or saying "hello, here's your parcel, goodbye". How do I manage these situations?? I'm a very passive person and slowly learning to be more assertive but when I'm caught off guard or really tired and have less brain power I don't know how to manage it.
I think I've made it sound worse than it is. I do appreciate them as neighbours and they are very nice people. However I would rather spend my time with people because I want to not cos I have to. Oherwise it seems a waste of my time and energy.
I'd politely but factually decline the invitation, you might want to start with.
"Maybe next time (in regards to the tea). It's been my first day back at work in three months so I'm shattered and really must go and get some rest"
Then turn around and walk out of her house.
I'd be more likely to say ...
It's been my first day back at work in three months so I'm shattered. Work tends to tire me out so unfortunately, I'm not going to be as sociable as I used to be. Thank you for picking up my parcel though, I'm really glad we can help each other out from time to time with things like this and I hope you have a good night.
Then I'd leave.
out_of_step said:I would rather spend my time with people because I want to not cos I have to. Oherwise it seems a waste of my time and energy.
I can really relate to this. It’s actually something I specifically asked for help with when I was given 6 sessions of psychotherapy following my ASD diagnosis so I don’t think it’s an uncommon problem, but I know how it crushes your soul on the inside while you’re trying to be polite on the outside, and just how completely exhausting it is too.
Some people are just over-friendly and they don’t realise that it’s unwelcome. It is partly a cultural thing, like you say, and I don’t think you have made it sound worse than it is. It’s awful to get trapped when you’re tired or feel yourself being slowly drained by their incessant chatter.
Due to unfortunate financial circumstances (I’m currently too ill to work), we’ve been forced to take in a couple of lodgers. One is French and has been here 5 weeks but we’ve only spoken for a couple of minutes while I showed him how the washing machine works; the other is from Liverpool and is a non-stop chatterbox. We do everything we can to avoid bumping into him, to the extent I’ll go to bed hungry if he comes home before I’ve had chance to get my dinner because starving myself has less of an impact on my health than being subjected to forced social trauma.
Honestly, if he catches us in the kitchen, going to the bathroom, or on our way out, or coming in, he just talks and talks and talks and talks and... he completely sabotages the precious little time we have together and we’re both already exhausted. After a couple of hours of him talking at us, we’re both so drained we just give up and go to bed and spend the whole next day tired and seething about it. He never takes our hints or excuses or attempts to end the conversation, and we’ve even looked on WikiHow and Quora for advice out of desperation.
If she’s doing it on her turf rather than invading your home, you have a slight advantage, but you do need to find a way to deliver a convincing lie. I really struggle with it because it’s just not me, which is where the psychotherapist came in handy, but maybe try the following:
- You’ve left something on the hob and need to tend to it (I told her this sounded really lame but she said it’s a valid excuse!)
- You’ve left the iron on (same as above really)
- You need to call the car insurance/broadband/electricity company before they close for the day
- Your mother/father/sister etc. left a message for you to call them urgently so you must go
- You’re sorry you can’t today because you have a terrible headache and need to lie down
- You have to get to the chemist before they close
- You have a doctor’s/dentist appointment and you’re already running late
Longer-term, is there a way for you to introduce her to another neighbour or friend who has more time and social inclination? It might take some pressure off you being her only go-to person.
Really good luck with it. It’s such a tricky situation and I do feel for you. As you say, good neighbours aren’t guaranteed and you still want to be friendly, just not BFFs.
That sounds a lot easier than it would be! Haha. When I've made excuse before it gets blatantly ignored even though it's been heard. Because she always knows best it'd be a "oh well it's ok we can sit on the comfy sofas in the living room then you can rest". She actually has an answer for everything!
Thanks for your advice though, next time I need to pick something up I will prepare myself!
It is a cultural thing because she's always telling me about how it is in her country and I can also appreciate they have no friends or family remotely near by, but again that's not my fault. They are very hospitable and maybe someone else would love it but it's not me.
She's on bezzie terms with all the neighbours so I can see that whoever was living next door to her, if it wasn't us she would just be as friendly. I'd rather someone like me for who I am, not just because they're overly friendly with everyone.
You mention about your scouse lodger. Now,I have the similar problem at work with one or two people. I realised they can't take the hint. I'd put myself out because I didn't want to appear rude. But that's measuring how I think they would react based on how I would feel if someone was quite blunt. But ive learned with some people, you think you are being rude, but they don't see it as rude. They just see it as you need to get on with something. I just remove myself from the situation as much as I can at work now. Or if a third party turns up, I kind of "hand the conversation over" to them. I understand it's slightly different for you as it's in your home. Get on his level. What if he didn't want to talk? What do you think he would do? Whatever it may be, try that on him.
She doesn't invade my home luckily! I noticed once when we were talking over the fence and she actually said "I've left my pan on the hob" and ran back in. If that was me, even if I'd actually left a pan on I'd be umming and ahhing about what or how or when to say something. But ive kind of observed how she works so don't feel as rude now if I just say "ive got to go". But it's one thing chatting over the fence while yr pegging washing out, it's another going in for tea.
Thank you for your advice. Hope it works out with your lodgers.
I wonder if all your neighbours are secretly feeling the same?
I am sorry though; I can imagine that once you’re in there for a cuppa, it would be really hard to extricate yourself. And, like you said, it’s not your fault she’s chosen to live so far away from her friends and family so not really fair that she’s putting that expectation onto you.
Thanks so much for the tip about dealing with Scousers. You’re absolutely right! What we would see as rude, he would probably perceive as “telling it to him straight”. We’ll have to give that a go. I’m glad you found a way to deal with it at work because I can see how that would get really frustrating, really quickly.
Best of luck with your neighbour. Xx
I think the other neighboyrs might feel the same but I've heard a couple of occasions they're assertive but not rude and get away and get on with their day.
You could also try diversion tactics with your lodger. I can't think of an example but if it refocuses his mind on a task it might give you a bit of a break. Maybe...."Have the bins been taken out?"
He sounds really nice if he is so chatty but it can be overbearing. Remember though it is your house!
Good luck too!
I feel for you - I have been in this situation & the most recent examples I can think of are at work where a meeting between say me and one other ceases being productive and goes round in circles, and/or exhausts me. It always amazes me how the other person seems oblivious. For example, I'll say "I have to leave at 2:45 because I have a dentist's appointment, and at 2:40 they're still talking and asking if they can cover "just one more thing". Although it's hard, I've started to develop the ability to simply say "I have to go" and leave.
One thing that may be worth trying, is to use a trick that I seem to remember has been verified by experiments, in that if you use the word "because" in your final sentence, people give way irrespective of what comes next. It was verified in cases where people are queuing - someone not in the queue goes somewhere close to the front and asks if they can squeeze in. The squeezer has measurably more success if they say "Can I squeeze in please because I need to" than if they simply say "Can I squeeze in please?"
And saying "I'm going now because I need to" is true in any case! I've used it a few times & it has worked, at least for me (I may have left a trail of consternation behind me, but I'm not sure that I care :-) )
ur neighbour is the opposite of you - watch her and learn from her, she is the best person for u to practise (socialising ) on.
Use her, shes free ! use her as free therapy. in fact think of your 30 minutes chat as therapy, talk over any issues with her.
this is just alternative idea which I am prone to :)
think about it
I've learned a lot of people are oblivious so you have to be direct. I find it hard as I feel I'm being rude. But there's a difference between being rude and being assertive! You're getting there by the sounds of it. It's hard but I'm sure the more you do it, the easier it gets. I feel for you having to attend meetings which cease being productive. The purpose of a meeting is to be productive! Several times during our class break, I've had my assistant talk non stop from when the students leave to when they get back. Then moan she hasn't had chance to have a drink! This incessant talking is one of the reasons I think contributed to me being off with anxiety as there was just no down time. I have strategies in place now though!
Another one was a tutor who kept me behind after class with her talking. (I go home when class is finished). I learned the hard way....I was there for 45 minutes! There's a lot of talk about people on the spectrum not reading body language. She isn't on the spectrum and couldn't take the hint. After realising I may be on the spectrum I wondered if my own body language wasn't strong enough. I finally figured her out. Once I made my way toward the door. She continued. was standing in the doorway for 5 minutes and she still continued! I was out of the room on the other side if the open door. She continued! In the end I walked off. She was still talking to me from her room as I was walking down the corridor!!
I love your advice using "because I need to". They can't really then say "why do you need to?"as that'd be rude wouldn't it. I'm going to try it tomorrow!! It's assertive and closes the he interaction down.
P.s.don't bother about the trail of consternation. That's their problem not yours!