You don't have to be friends with everyone

Sunday, 31 October 2010

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I'm a people pleaser, tried and true. I want those around me to be happy with my performance, my commitment to friendship and my work. Perhaps this could have something to do with my upbringing. We were taught to respect others, especially those who are older than us. Always be kind, always be accommodating.

Now, as a 31 year old woman, I can see where those teachings can allow naivety to blur normal social boundaries.

I have a neighbor who tends to come over to visit every time I'm in the yard and if he doesn't catch me outside, he'll just knock on my door.

At least twice in the past two months I've been in my back yard, once relaxing on the deck with a book, once by my fire pit chilling when he came for a "visit." I've tried going to the door with my cell phone to my ear (since I'm actually on a call). He doesn't mind. I've also shouted back to Kingsley on Skype "Honey, I'll be right there!" from the front door. This man doesn't seem to notice.

He seems kind-hearted, has a lovely wife and grandkids and is very helpful but I'm starting to cringe when he comes 'round and go inside when he pulls up to his home. That's not a nice feeling.

I should have set the boundaries when I first moved in but I wanted to be friendly, to make friends, to be seen as the "nice" neighbor. To respect others, even if they don't respect my need for privacy or personal space.

This isn't the only issue but I've found - it's only the men in the neighborhood that seem to be overly friendly. The ladies politely wave, chat for a few minutes when we're out doing yard work and listen as much as they talk. No female neighbor has EVER knocked on my door in the five months I've lived here.

Is it me? Yes. I'll blame myself for not being more obvious. If I don't want you to come round, if I don't want help, instead of being a people pleaser, I should just be HONEST. I am naive. I trust people and give them the benefit of the doubt to a fault.

Some people, I'm finding, expect more than friendship.

However, I'm learning. When you buy a house, you don't have to be best friends with those living around you.  Who knew?  If you are, that's an amazing bonus!

What about you? Do you spend time with your neighbors every week? What's "normal?" Am I just being rude?


Teri's Blog said...

I've been in England six months and moved four times. This latest place, I have not even seen my neighbors. We must come and go at different times. My roommates have never seen our neighbors either, unless they are avoiding us?

Tina L. Hook said...

I think it is possible to both be friendly and maintain healthy boundaries. I seem to remember having to work harder at "boundaries" when I was living alone and the male neighbors decided I might be worth talking to. *Sigh* It can be challenging.

Denae said...

Teri - You make a good point. This is probably a cultural/geographical thing too. We didn't know our neighbors in London either. Ppl are more private.

Florida Girl - Glad I'm not the only one. Thanks for posting. You're right about maintaining a friendly attitude, though. I'm still working out the balance.

Annie said...

Denae - I am going to be blunt. You are a HOT young woman. Can you blame the men for wanting to spend time with you? Sadly, a lot of older men don't have very good social skills. I've experienced this myself. I think the best thing you can do is be short and honest with them. Say, "I appreciate your kindness, but unfortunately I am not able to visit with you right now."

Denae said...

Annie - I love you. Thanks for the compliment. You're right. I've practiced saying that and I plan to heed your advice. It is important to be honest.