September 22, 2005
We have neighbors who
canít mind their own business. My girlfriend and I think they are very
nice, but we donít want to hang out with them. We have our own friends.
They are constantly coming over to chat when we are working in the yard
or sitting on the porch. These are the kind of folks who never leave.
Also, they have children and we donít. This, for me, is key. I donít
hate kids, but I donít want them around my house and yard all the time.
How do I remain friendly with them but not Ö friends?
Iíll tell you what you donít want. You donít want a bad neighbor. And as
long as you are friendly, youíll do well. I know itís a pain, and let me
tell you, Iíve had nosy neighbors before. But itís a small price to pay
Ö to say hello, to chat while doing lawn work, to chit-chat about the
weather. Youíll have someone you know and have a friendly relationship
with next door. You are under no obligation to invite them over or to
care for their kids. But you do want someone you can count on to give
you a jumpstart if your battery dies on a cold winter morning.
Ultimately, good boundaries make for good relationships. Be sure to say
hi and be friendly, but start being clear about your privacy. If they
come over for a visit, say, ďYou know what? itís great to see you but my
gal and I are having a private talk, would you mind excusing us?Ē They
wonít need to hear that very often before they know enough to stay away.
And whatever you do, donít give them a key to your house.
Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers. Contact her via e-mail at