Questions


I truly believe in the rites of hospitality.  It’s not something that is new or as a result of my spiritual leanings.  It’s something I grew up with.

I need some help here though.

We have a neighbor who has a mouth like a sailor.  I don’t think I exaggerate when I say that she cannot speak a single sentence without using the F bomb at least once.  Usually more than once.  Now, I used to be a firefighter and I can assure you my potty mouth occasionally asserts itself, so it’s not as though I’m too sensitive for foul language.  But this is far and away more than I’ve ever heard out of one person’s mouth in a sitting.

And it isn’t even just that she uses so much foul language.  It’s that she TALKS. NON. STOP.  Like if there’s a natural break in the conversation she has to fill the perceived void.  With anything.  It’s exhausting.  I’m a quiet person by nature and while I can talk up a storm and be as irrelevant as the next person, this is more than I’m used to dealing with.

She keeps hinting that she wants to move in.  She is room mates with the person next door and doesn’t get along with her room mate.  Yes, we have a guest room but I’m not willing to let her move in.  Not for any price.  No, I don’t want you to do my laundry.  No, I don’t want you to weed my yard.  No, I don’t want you to do *fillintheblank* you can’t move in.  It’s a guest room.  For guests.  And family.  Not a spare room we’re dying to rent out.

She comes over when we’re eating and asks if she can have some.  Not just sometimes, but pretty regularly.  Now, I’m happy to share but having people show up unannounced and ask to share our food just seems kind of pushing the bounds to me, especially since we’re financially strapped right now.

She doesn’t seem to understand the concept of boundaries.  She just marches into the bathroom when I’m in there doing my makeup.  She came into our house once when we were in the shower (we have a big master bathroom and we usually shower together on days we have the same schedule) and CAME INTO THE BATHROOM TO ASK WHAT WE WERE DOING.  Seriously.

We are having company this weekend and I really don’t want her over.  I want to be able to enjoy our time with our other friends without having to deal with this.

I like her, I do, really.  But I”m kind of at my wits end and I’m starting to get a little rude because I feel so stressed.  Any ideas on how to handle this?????

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5 responses

  1. Oh yes. been there, etc.
    Judith Orloff had some good insights & strategies for living with (or not) such personality types. She categorises several types (vampire, sob sister, etc) and has suggested counter-strategies.
    They really do drain one’s energy.
    In very broad strokes, you are the one(s) who’ll have to break your hospitality pattern, interrupt the accustomed pattern, set a new boundary firmly (even in the face of surprise, hostility, abuse) and stick to your new rules.
    She may not understand, and bad-mouth you in revenge– but you can’t help that. In a sense, you’re in a parent role for someone whose parents didn’t, or couldn’t, complete the socialization job.

  2. This is like a Dr. Phil article where his response would be telling you that you need to have a conversation with this woman letting her know that while you like her you feel that you need to establish boundaries. Decide ahead of time what those should be. He would provide a script to help you. I know from experience that even if you make the boundaries clear she will continue to see what she can get away with and/or attack you for not meeting her needs. I’m sorry this is happening; for pete’s sake, lock your doors!

      • I was thinking about your post while watering the flowers this morning. This is all bullying; even the foul language. People who bully are taking advantage of the civilized behavior of other people, and even will blame their victims for putting up with it. I do hope that this works out. Hope you post again with new developments in the neighbor arena.

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