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.
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.