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Want to move. The neighbours are too nice.

 
pollinator
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A bit of a rant. Who would have thought I'd ever complain about people being TOO nice?

I have taken to humming or quietly singing "In a cabin in the woods" to my mother lately... We are living in town, with retired people on both sides and across the street. Apparently we are endlessly fascinating with our renovations, dogs, and gardening.

The neighbour on one side is nice, but also we don't talk much - they are married, have kids who live nearby, and a generally busy enough social life, we wave hi, and occasionally chat every month or two.  The neighbour across the street, and the neighbour on the other side are women in there 70s with nowhere near enough to do... The neighbour 2 doors down is also retired, and (luckily?) to ill to walk much, but any time I walk past his house if he is out, he wants to ask about my garden. The neighbour across the street 2 doors over has dementia and is a bit creepy, I will go inside and lock the door if I see him out because he tries to walk in the house (apparently he used to be friends with the previous owner).

I'll start by admitting that both of us have spent most of our lives either in the anonymous city, or living rurally on 3-100 acres of land. We are very friendly and polite, but not particularly social people. Living IN a small town, instead of in the country is a whole different ball game.

We can't go outside, can't sit on our porch, can't even garden without someone coming over and trying to chat for half an hour. We literally have taken to sitting on the verandah in thunderstorms, or after 10 pm, as they are generally not out at that time of night. I often literally walk away from the one woman, if i dare to walk outside or garden a bit in the front with my dog for a break during the day, her still talking, while I say "sorry, need to get inside for a work meeting", "Sorry, need to go", "gotta go!" etc, and she will follow me across the street!

Yesterday I transplanted some celeriac, and worked on mulching and watering (I usually work for an hour or so, come inside to cool off, then go outside in a few hours). BOTH neighbours at some point, in the 30C humidity, came over and wanted to chat. The one across the street always wants to give me plants (which is lovely, I have some nice perennials from her), but always at absurd times of year/day. She really wants me to go dig some salvia and other perennials, and gave me cucumber transplants yesterday - again, at 3 pm, 30C hot sun, mid drought (they were wilting by the time I walked across the street)! Gah!

Seriously, I gave a garden tour to 3 people yesterday, they just walk over (we don't have a fence) and start to talk.

Anyway - I seriously want to move - the neighbours are too nice.
 
pollinator
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I feel your pain :D

We are lucky and have a private garden, but even then we have a few neighbours that if they catch you in the drive will stop and talk. And TALK. you can't get a word in edgeways, or politely leave.

how much of your situation is due to lockdown claustrophobia though? You are home more. They are home more. There is always SOMEONE around looking for someone to distract them.
 
master steward
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On one of my first jobs, the business had lots of salespeople mostly men.  We got calls 2 or 3 times a day from different little old ladies and a few men who just wanted to talk.

I always chalked it up to loneliness.

Maybe saying something like "I've got to get back as I have something in the oven." might help.  Or maybe wear a face mask.
 
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Catie George wrote:A bit of a rant. Who would have thought I'd ever complain about people being TOO nice?

I have taken to humming or quietly singing "In a cabin in the woods" to my mother lately... We are living in town, with retired people on both sides and across the street. Apparently we are endlessly fascinating with our renovations, dogs, and gardening.

The neighbour on one side is nice, but also we don't talk much - they are married, have kids who live nearby, and a generally busy enough social life, we wave hi, and occasionally chat every month or two.  The neighbour across the street, and the neighbour on the other side are women in there 70s with nowhere near enough to do... The neighbour 2 doors down is also retired, and (luckily?) to ill to walk much, but any time I walk past his house if he is out, he wants to ask about my garden. The neighbour across the street 2 doors over has dementia and is a bit creepy, I will go inside and lock the door if I see him out because he tries to walk in the house (apparently he used to be friends with the previous owner).

I'll start by admitting that both of us have spent most of our lives either in the anonymous city, or living rurally on 3-100 acres of land. We are very friendly and polite, but not particularly social people. Living IN a small town, instead of in the country is a whole different ball game.

We can't go outside, can't sit on our porch, can't even garden without someone coming over and trying to chat for half an hour. We literally have taken to sitting on the verandah in thunderstorms, or after 10 pm, as they are generally not out at that time of night. I often literally walk away from the one woman, if i dare to walk outside or garden a bit in the front with my dog for a break during the day, her still talking, while I say "sorry, need to get inside for a work meeting", "Sorry, need to go", "gotta go!" etc, and she will follow me across the street!

Yesterday I transplanted some celeriac, and worked on mulching and watering (I usually work for an hour or so, come inside to cool off, then go outside in a few hours). BOTH neighbours at some point, in the 30C humidity, came over and wanted to chat. The one across the street always wants to give me plants (which is lovely, I have some nice perennials from her), but always at absurd times of year/day. She really wants me to go dig some salvia and other perennials, and gave me cucumber transplants yesterday - again, at 3 pm, 30C hot sun, mid drought (they were wilting by the time I walked across the street)! Gah!

Seriously, I gave a garden tour to 3 people yesterday, they just walk over (we don't have a fence) and start to talk.

Anyway - I seriously want to move - the neighbours are too nice.



I probably the only person out here that believes we should value such neighbors.  It used to be that we took time to chat.  To play pinochle.  To go to club meetings.  Now we’re too busy.  Our lives are too important and we’d rather look at our phones. We need to get things done.

Hours are one thing but minutes spent in contact are precious. You are lucky. Think of the time as payment for the nice plants you’ve been given.
 
Catie George
pollinator
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Unfortunately, it's not a covid thing. They are very lonely. They were like this last year too - all the bushes that I planted last year were planted not with respect to where they will look or do best - instead, they were planted with respect to "Where will they block our porches from view when fully grown". I also have trellised green beans last year to shade the verandah too.

Even "I have something in the oven" or even "I can hear the buzzer for the oven" often doesn't work, unless I literally turn my back and walk away. I feel so rude to do that though!

They are nice ladies, I enjoy talking to them. I will shovel their steps if I am here in the winter, I give them lots of fresh produce, I gave them both tomato plants this summer.

I just am highly introverted, and I find talking to people exhausting.

I don't want to talk to them everytime I walk outside to commune with my plants, which is something I do to reset my brain as a break from work. Or if I am working, moving mulch, weeding, etc - I have an autoimmune disease and little stamina. I have an hour, max, before the heat gets to me, and once they start talking, I can't get them to stop unless I go inside. So I "waste" my planned time, am exhausted afterwards, and STILL need to weed or mulch or...

Sometimes, could they just smile and wave?

 
Mother Tree
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I just am highly introverted, and I find talking to people exhausting.



That sounds just like me.

It's not a problem for me any more though because I've learned to tell them "I'm autistic. And a hermit. I love making friends but I find it exhausting and need about three days to recover from a visitor."

I've found it very effective. They'll probably learn to check first that you have enough energy to talk with them, and if you tell them you don't today, or you need to preserve your energy for stuff you have to do, they'll probably be much more accommodating than you expect, so long as they understand.
 
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I completely sympathize.  My neighbors are not what would be considered close in urban terms... but a couple of houses are in sight.  Still too close for me.  But they all seem to be nice, and several have stopped by, and I am not even living on the property yet!  I hope they were just checking me out.

I actually enjoyed meeting them and chatting a while. I got some useful info, but the idea of doing this regularly... no.

Already planning to work on my fence lines to put in more trees to block lines of sight.  Maybe out of sight, out of mind, will work.
 
Anne Miller
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Catie, when I mentioned wearing a mask it had nothing to do with the covid thing.

Early on maybe in February, I had to go to a doctor's visit at a clinic.

A girl walked in wearing a mask, dear hubby nudged me and said he was going to the car.  He sat in the car for 3 hours while I talked to the doctor, went to the lab, had EKG, etc.

I just thought the mask might make them standoffish.
 
gardener
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I realize that this thread was started due to overly friendly/somewhat invasive neighbors.  But I have to relate a story about some of the best neighbors I ever had.

I have mentioned before that I am a teacher and when I first started teaching I deliberately found a house out of district, mostly so that my students didn’t know where I lived.

I lived in a small, nearby town whose inhabitants had extremely deep roots in that place that often stretched back generations and I was the new and unknown guy and I knew the eyes were upon me.  My way of being known and accepted was to simply get out and walk and be seen.  Walking was an almost daily ritual just to get some exercise.  

I walked every day, smiled and waved and the locals indeed watched my daily activities and generally knew my daily habits.  Instead of seeing this as offensive, I tried to make this a good will gesture.  They knew I lived alone, that I was a teacher, that I rose very early (often leaving home before 5:00 am).  They new I frequently left on weekends to visit my girlfriend and eventual fiancé.  They eventually adopted me as a local, as one of them.  

This was nothing but good for me.  They watched over my house when I was gone.  My truck lacked a bell to tell me the headlights were still on as I turned off the engine and several times I left the lights on, but someone always let me know.  The battery never ran out which would have happened without them.  I was not around during summer and I forgot to set up mowing but they mowed for me and asked nothing for it.  Whenever I got my water bill I always walked down to the water office and paid immediately.  On one summer I failed to get the bill on time and owed a late fee.  When I asked if the fee could be waived, the clerk told me that since I was always the first to pay that it was no big deal.  I could go on and on.

So I was absolutely surrounded by nosy neighbors, but they were the most helpful, genuinely friendly neighbors I have ever had.  They genuinely cared for my own well being and while I tried to reciprocate, I just could not keep up but it didn’t matter because nobody was keeping score.

Of course those days came to an end after 2 years.  I was getting married and the house I was renting was an absolute dump but cheap (I saved aggressively for a down payment to buy a house).  I didn’t want my new wife living there for even one day.  I got a much better apartment the following year and bought a house the year after (actually a brand new spec house in the country).  While I don’t miss that dump house I still miss those neighbors and find time to drop by from time to time.

So yes, I have lived with nosy neighbors but honestly, they were the best group of neighbors I ever had.

Just my thoughts and a very good experience.

Eric
 
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Burra Maluca wrote:

I just am highly introverted, and I find talking to people exhausting.



That sounds just like me.



Me as well. I hate it when people drop by. I work with people all day, and by the end of the day, I'm shot. Weekends I want to be left alone to my food forest, gardens, and dogs. I don't have an answer for you, just wanted you to know you shouldn't feel guilty about your feelings. There are a lot of us that can relate.
 
master pollinator
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Always take a nice neighbor over a nasty one. ....even if they are nice to a fault. I have lived around really horrible neighbors.  The ones I have now are great, and I value them.
 
pollinator
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We had a friend who was always dropping by, it got to the point I could hardly get stuff done, and I started to resent the interruption. One day I finished my coffee, and said I need to get these plants in, come and give me a hand. He suddenly had to leave. I did it everytime he called in, I'd stop for a drink and a chat and then try roping him in to whatever I was doing. The visits became less frequent, less 'annoying' and I enjoyed it when he did drop by.

Thing is, you need a solution, because it sounds like both the visits and the having to 'get rid" is obviously stressing you out. Without a solution this will get worse.

In no order of importance my ideas:

You could try my tack above. At worst, you'd have some help and at least you could get on with stuff. Downsiide might be that it encourages and doesn't dissuade! But you might enjoy it.

Sit the neighbour down, explain how much you have to fit into the day, how it's making you feel and then propose a solution that keeps you both happy and still on friendly terms.

Sit the neighbour down, explain how much you have to fit into the day, how it's making you feel, and you want her to to stop visiting. Bear in mind there might come a day when you too, crave human contact in your day and you'll look back and understand.

Just accept that you are no longer living anonymously in a city or well away from folks, and that you are liked, cherished and admired, so people naturally want to be around you.

Plant an effective (edible0  barrier.

Dress and/or act weird, so that people are repelled.

Cough a lot.

Garden naked.

Just move house.

Can't think of anything else right now.
 
John F Dean
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As a bonafide member of the Asperger's League (as is my wife), I can certainly understand the need for solitude.  I live in a remote area of a county of 8000.  One has to drive through an old cemetery to reach my driveway.  My driveway is another 100 yards that I have deliberately left overgrown.  Even when I provide directions, people are afraid to come to my house.  That is my plan.

That said, good neighbors have real value.  In the last 30 days, my neighbor who makes Jed Clampett look like a pauper , gave me a couple of dozen pallets.  He also volunteered permission to me to cut firewood on his land.  He also has value in, to me, a more real sense.  He has never complained to me about anything.  He is certainly a great source of information  regarding farming.  He understands where I am coming from and takes that into account.  

I can make similar comments about my other neighbors as well....the retired state cop....and the retired electrician.   Yes, after about 10 minutes I am uncomfortable talking to any of my neighbors,  but I suck it in and do the neighborly thing.










 
gardener
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Headphones?  You might even want to listen to music while you've got them on.

Or a BIG mean dog.  "Down Killer!  We don't want to have to move again in the middle of the night like we did the last time you mauled a neighbor."

How about a T-shirt that says, "Some weather, huh?  That's the end of my small talk, now leave me alone to tend my garden."

In all seriousness, why not just tell them, "I'm not much of a socialite because I'm in introvert, so if you see me out in the yard/garden working, I'd rather you left me to myself.  If I want to talk, I'll walk over and initiate.  Otherwise, thanks for respecting my space."
 
master steward
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I'm going to have to admit right here that I was that kind of neighbor. Stuck at home with two fussy kids, I often went for walks. I never called ahead, because I too am an introvert, and most days I didn't have the energy to talk to people. But, my kids liked walks. They didn't scream and fuss when we went for walks. They took better naps when we went for walks. So, we went for a LOT of walks. And, they'd beg to see their neighbors. So we'd end up walking by. Some neighbors were always happy to see us, and I'd help them with projects and get some adult conversation, and they enjoyed my kids. Others had kids, too, and were always home, and we're glad to stop and chat. Some neighbors, we'll, they were also introverted and way too busy and way too worn-out to deal with the overly nice neighbor who appear randomly. So, they asked me to call/message before stopping by. They gave me rules like, "If you see our gate closed, please don't stop by." And, these things worked! I don't stop by randomly, because I never have the social strength to message ahead, because I honestly never know how things will go with my kids, and it was too stressful for me to not know if we'd be early or late or not be able to make it because my kids had a melt down.

Of course, I still feel like my neighbors don't like me, which probably (hopefully?) isn't true. I feel horrible for having imposed on them. But, their communication with me WORKED. And it might work for you, too.

You could say things like:

-- Please call before stopping by
-- Let's set up a day where we can hang out
-- We love chatting with you when we're out on the street, but we really need our time alone at home as we're introverts and have stressful jobs and need time to recover
-- If our gate is open please feel welcome to stop by! (this requires a gate...)

The nice neighbor might be really bummed and hurt when you say things like this, but they should get over it, especially if you show them that you do care about them in other ways. If you don't show that you care in some way, they may stop by even more in attempts to try to heal the relationship (because they'll feel like they did something wrong and you don't like them...and so they need spend more time with you and offer to help and chat more to show that they like you and want to be friends), And, of course, when they (like I) do (did) that, it will only make things worse for you and the relationship. But, they probably won't figure that out until after, and they'll spend hours worrying that they somehow broke the friendship with the neighbors they liked so much.

Your property should be your refuge, and it's really stressful worrying that neighbors are watching your or always going to talk to you. I HATED that about being in the city. I love that I can not worry about being seen or watched while I'm home. Just knowing people can see me, means I have to use social awareness, and I need a BREAK from social awareness (and yes, there is great irony that I would show up at my neighbors unannounced, but got stressed from the same happening at my own house, though I've been happy to see my neighbors each time, especially if I was out in the garden with my kids).

Anyway, long story short: Find a way that works for you to make CLEAR boundaries. Your neighbors are nice. They want desperately for you to like them. So, set the boundary/ies and then find some way to show the neighbors that you like them, too.
 
Dan Scheltema
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lesley verbrugge wrote:

Garden naked.



I confess... I was thinking about this just yesterday!  But not for neighbor visit prevention, because I mowed with my shirt off and the soaking sweat wasn't nearly as annoying as with a T-shirt on.  Got me thinking... all over tan...

Then I remembered the mosquitos are running the size of B-52s this year.

Choices.
 
Catie George
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I reread my posts, and realized I never discussed duration. Think 20-40 min of conversation before I finally manage to pry myself away, with ever increasing "sorry, gotta go!", nearly daily, if possible.  I've tried to head it off a few times by walking over myself if I AM able to stand around and chat for half an hour.

I am (despite the rant) grateful for the community here - people are so friendly, and now in my second summer here, I know A LOT of people - I go to the dog park most days, and have a crowd there, we run into each other walking, on hikes, etc. It's a great community, where kids still wave at people as they fly by on bikes, wave from the car as they pass, and talk a bit if you walk past dog walking. People are far friendlier here than the small town I went to high school in where people only cared to give you the time of day if you were related in some way. They ask about my grandma, ask about me, carry our recycling bin back if we are away, don't mind if I take their yard waste, or if my dog strays onto their yard on walks on a long line. A few nights ago, 3 people (including me) who didn't know each other banded together to return a lost, scared dog at 11 pm.

I'm lucky that no one has objected to my "weird" gardening - they see the results, and also, even my piles of loose yard waste that I call "a mulched vegetable garden" look far better than the previous owner of the house. We've done a lot of exterior repairs to the house, and some outdoor redecorating (mom's style is "tasteful and sparse worn antiques" instead of "yard flamingos"). it helps that the front garden is now woodchip mulched and weed free, with pretty new perennials and ornamental bushes mixed in with my tomatos and rhubarb, instead of weeds and scrubby cedars.

You guys made me laugh with some of your suggestions.

Headphones - hmm... maybe the huge ones I use for conference calls, with the end of the cord tucked in my pocket.

I love the idea of getting a large dog. It would have to be a different large dog; my standard poodle would never make a believable "Killer" and the neighbours wouldn't believe it after all the time I spent training her NOT to jump on neighbours and to lie quietly at my feet while they talk... Wait. Nope, they probably wouldn't believe any other dog we own either, considering how obsessive I am about dog training. Darn. I'd love a german shepherd. My poodle would probably cheerfully learn to growl if it was rewarded with less talking, and more walking!

Gardening naked - also made me laugh. Sounds like a great recipe for sunburn, lots of mosquito and deerfly bites, and cuts from the glass and nails I keep pulling up in the garden. Closest I ever came was skinny dipping at the river by my parents one hot summer day - but there was not a human around for at least a km as they were in town, and the deerflies and horseflies chased me out pretty quickly!

As for a frank discussion - I think we've both had them. Mom has told the neighbours a few times that I'm still ill (last year I was home on disability, now I am still partly on disability, and working form home 4 hrs a day), and that I don't have much energy some days to talk, that most days all I can do is an hour or two outdoors. I've told them that Mom is also unwell, has the same condition as me, is really tired, and can't stand the heat or the blackflies (she is allergic and the bites swell up 2") for more than a few minutes. I think it's hard for non-introverts to understand that talking is not restful, and for fit people in their 70s to understand debilitating but mostly invisible illness in people in their 20s and 60s!

I think right now the best solution would be a fence... I wanted to build one this summer, but mom said no, as we are likely to move. Possibly also some more tall shrubs to block the side porch from view. If we are still here this fall, I will probably kick in the money for the fence. What is that saying? Good fences make good neighbours? A gate IS a great deterrent.

 
Dan Scheltema
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There's the DtG deathhedge! A living fence with lots of thorny plants and/or itchy vines.

I was out at my local nursery a bit ago and had a nice chat with the lady working the register.  But that was my idea, and my schedule, but that does it for me for this week.

Dogs can work just on the intimidation, even if well-trained.  At least until the neighbors figure out the big dog loves visitors...
 
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I had the same problem when we first moved to our current house. So I did some research to find the fastest growing evergreens and planted a line of murray cypresses. I ordered the 12-18" size since those were the least expensive. While they do grow unbelievably fast, about 5 feet/year, they just didn't give us enough privacy fast enough. So I ended up also building a 6' privacy fence. Now we have the fence with a line of beautiful cypresses, about 30 feet tall (after 5 years!), and all the peace and privacy one could want. It's been really nice to have the quietness to work and plant in without interruptions.
 
gardener
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Don't be afraid to set boundaries. "Nice talking to you, gotta go! Have a great week." Then go, regardless of whether the other person is still talking or not. You don't have to explain why you're going; often when we try to make people read between the lines, they totally miss it, so make it easy for them.
The guy across the street is the same for me. I just have to open my door and step foot outside in my front yard and he comes running. I have a 2-meter gate and fence and a vicious dog, he still stands right there trying to talk. I often can't hear him, with the dogs going nuts and him speaking quietly, and so I will just wave and say "Hi, how you doing" and go about my business. He means well but I have things to do.  
I've lived with bad neighbors and overly solicitous neighbors and each are troublesome in their own way. That said, I'd take nosy over trash burners any day.
 
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This is a big reason that my wife and I moved out to the "sticks" a little over a year ago!  I have learned that most neighbors that just want to sit and talk, usually want to just sit and talk about themselves and all of their problems, instead of a nice two-way conversation.  
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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PS I hear you about working at home among people who don't get it.
My neighbors, until the coronavirus business, were unable to understand that I worked in a home office. Now it is a bit easier to understand, but before I would say "gotta go, I'm just finishing my lunch break" and they just didn't get it. How can you work if you didn't leave the house? So at least thanks to Covid people are starting to understand that just because I'm at home doesn't mean I'm lolling about doing nothing. (although my nasty aunties still think I just "play on the computer" all day. Chuckling all the way to the bank on that one.... at least they don't come asking me for money.)
 
Posts: 59
Location: So Cal - Inland Empire
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I am somewhat introverted myself, but I also suffer from social anxiety. I try to be a "good neighbor" in this small mobile home park, and have "befriended" a select few (one recently passed away, he was my gardening buddy!). I have reached a point where I am just fine with explaining that I don't particularly enjoy frequent tours of my yard (I have the largest in the park, and I've put in fruit trees and have a small fish pond in the front) and my social anxiety leaving me feeling like I'm drained. Some people apologize and have switched to just waving when they see me out, which helps. We can remain friendly, at a distance.

My point is that how do others know how you feel if you do not tell them!? It is far kinder to both parties to be up front about stuff like this, and their problem if they take it wrong. Those who matter will understand and try to be considerate of you, those who don't matter will likely get pissed off and never speak to you again, which is what you wanted in the first place, right??? There are always ways to speak truth kindly. Go for it!
 
lesley verbrugge
pollinator
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Location: 48°N in Normandie, France. USDA 8-9 Koppen Cfb
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Catie George wrote:

I think right now the best solution would be a fence...



Aha! your problem isn't too many neighbours it's insufficient electric fencing!

Could you keep a pig to make it justifiable in court?
 
Posts: 278
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
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Well, conundrum...you have three approaches, I would choose what works best with your personality.

First: ignore, be cranky, pushy, demanding; tell them straight. Look at your watch, say, sorry I just have five minutes; when that time is up, look again, say "lovely to see you, and March into the house, or whatever.

Second: passive resistance, wear ear buds (they needn't be plugged in to anything), literally ignore them to their face, talk as if you are on a cell call, wave, hold up your phone, put your head down and continue your imaginary conversation.

You could also, surreptitiously, set the "alarm" on your phone to go off and claim it is an incoming call.

Adding a large floppy hat so you can't see them to allow you to ignore them is also helpful.

Third: barrier - be it the sprinkler, fence, piles of branches, compost, wheelbarrow, pots, dog poop landmines...anything that makes accessing your property difficult.

Perhaps when neighbors approach it is time for a dog training session? Unfortunately, that would require your full concentration, as you are getting the dog "certified". This could be "very intensive", requiring multiple 20 min sessions all day long, and requires your full attention; neither you or dog can be distracted. Seriously, it could be agility, search and rescue, good citizen, therapy dog....get the dog avest that it wears "when training" so they know not to approach?

Lastly, maybe allocate a certain time or day when you are "open" and INVITE them all over, perhaps you can get them visiting each other rather than you! At the very least it would limit the frequency and length of visits if you can say "Hi, Mary, I have to make a call right now, but can't wait to see you after church Sunday!

 
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Location: Medford, Oregon 8a, 21” precipitation. Clay soil.
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I'm also hugely introverted and completely understand the drain that a lot of unstructured, uninvited small talk can be. We have one rather nosy neighbor down the lane who tends to want to comment on something or other as she drives by if I'm out in shouting distance (we live at the intersection of our lane and the main road, so literally everyone drives past our house all the time). I was working through a huge pile of aged horse manure by the driveway, sifting out rocks. The day was hot and I was sweaty and cranky. She drove up, rolled down her window, and said, "Whatcha doing?" I unthinkinly responded with a literal, "Sifting horse shit."

She hasn't stopped by lately to chat. I wonder why.
 
pollinator
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Maybe you just need to reeeaally spell it out for them. Something like, "It's been nice talking to you, but I only have energy for one thing. If I talk to you any longer I won't be able to get anything else done today, and I have things I really need to do." Or, "Every time you come over I have to lie in a dark room for three hours [or whatever] to recover afterwards and I'm falling behind in my chores because your visits are so exhausting."

I admit our nearest neighbours are three clicks away, so I don't have any actual experience with this though - mercifully!  If I were in your position and not particularly attached to the property I'd probably move.
 
Trace Oswald
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A dog that barks at them the entire time they are there can very effectively cut off all communication to the point that they will probably give up pretty quickly.  Extra points for one that gnashes its teeth and foams.  By all means, don't correct the dog for it, just keep yelling "WHAT?!?!? WHAT!?!?!?" until they give up.
 
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lesley verbrugge wrote:We had a friend who was always dropping by, it got to the point I could hardly get stuff done, and I started to resent the interruption. One day I finished my coffee, and said I need to get these plants in, come and give me a hand. He suddenly had to leave. I did it everytime he called in, I'd stop for a drink and a chat and then try roping him in to whatever I was doing. The visits became less frequent, less 'annoying' and I enjoyed it when he did drop by.


Hahah, Lesley, you're brilliant, I was thinking the same thing. Put them to work! That's the price for idle chat; if you want to visit, make yourself useful. That sorts the helpers and builders from the idle gossips who have nothing to offer.

Also, schedule events where you are receiving visitors for social time: It's appropriate to have a "coffee time" event at 3 pm, Tuesday and Friday, where the local lonely Chatty Cathies can meet in your garden and talk your ears off. You may well get value from these controlled interactions. Beware of being invited to 3pm coffee time everywhere, though.  
 
Posts: 74
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
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Lorinne Anderson wrote:Well, conundrum...you have three approaches, I would choose what works best with your personality.

First: ignore, be cranky, pushy, demanding; tell them straight. Look at your watch, say, sorry I just have five minutes; when that time is up, look again, say "lovely to see you, and March into the house, or whatever.

Second: passive resistance, wear ear buds (they needn't be plugged in to anything), literally ignore them to their face, talk as if you are on a cell call, wave, hold up your phone, put your head down and continue your imaginary conversation.

You could also, surreptitiously, set the "alarm" on your phone to go off and claim it is an incoming call.

Adding a large floppy hat so you can't see them to allow you to ignore them is also helpful.

Third: barrier - be it the sprinkler, fence, piles of branches, compost, wheelbarrow, pots, dog poop landmines...anything that makes accessing your property difficult.

Perhaps when neighbors approach it is time for a dog training session? Unfortunately, that would require your full concentration, as you are getting the dog "certified". This could be "very intensive", requiring multiple 20 min sessions all day long, and requires your full attention; neither you or dog can be distracted. Seriously, it could be agility, search and rescue, good citizen, therapy dog....get the dog avest that it wears "when training" so they know not to approach?

Lastly, maybe allocate a certain time or day when you are "open" and INVITE them all over, perhaps you can get them visiting each other rather than you! At the very least it would limit the frequency and length of visits if you can say "Hi, Mary, I have to make a call right now, but can't wait to see you after church Sunday!


I think these ideas are pretty brilliant! Will they believe it if it's my cat wearing the vest? :) Seriously, I might steal the "surreptitiously setting the alarm" idea.
 
Heidi Schmidt
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada -- Zone 5a
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One of my neighbours is a man in his late 70s with some dementia. I don't mind talking to him in small doses if I can guide the conversation, but unfortunately, he obsesses over some very particular things: "Terrible pinecones. I rake mine all out from under my tree." "Did you know you can pull those dandelions out?" "What are those logs for? Are you going to burn them?"

Basically, he has an acre of (currently brown and dormant) lawn with a few trees. He picks almost every dandelion by hand. He also picks up every tiny twig, every leaf, every pinecone. Now on my acre, I surround a garden with logs, I put the pincones on the path, and yes--there are dandelions in our lawn. (This is not a subdivision or some fancy street. There's no HOA or anything. And although his yard is fairly "tidy", I find it exceedingly boring and a bit ugly.)

He was mentioning one of these things EVERY time we said hi (possibly dementia makes him forget he asked me the day before), until I thought I'd lose it. Turns out I had been too wishy-washy, with answers like: "Oh, I like pinecones." Eventually, one day he asked again about the logs: "Are you getting rid of those? Burning them?" To which I said a slightly loud, horrified, FIRM: "NO!!" And he hasn't asked again. :)
 
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I relate to this, knowing community is needed, which I still need to look for, and valuing my time by myself to do the things I value, still. The need to find that and to still have the balance is really important.
 
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