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Over helpful neighbours

(81 Posts)
ExD1938 Tue 31-Dec-19 09:50:33

Our new next door neighbours have taken us under their wing as their good deed project and its wearing us out. They have a delightful, but very boisterous, four year old who is into everything and the father brings him round about twice a week - just at the time when I'm starting to make our supper.
Its lovely of them, but they want us to go to theirs for drinks and meals, and bbq's in summer - and at 80 and not in good health, I'm just not up to it, it exhausts me.
They are determined to 'look after' us whether we want it or not.
I don't want to hurt their feelings, but its wearing me out as I'm quite frail and have several health issues, so - any ideas of how I can gently cut down on all the unnecessary attention?
ps - we are not lonely, we have family nearby (grandkids and great grandkids) - but not a lot of spare energy.
Do you think they're lonely themselves or just being neighbourly?

Alexa Tue 31-Dec-19 09:57:30

Just say no .

ExD1938 Tue 31-Dec-19 10:20:36

That sounds easy Alexa.
Yes, I can refuse the invitations, I do --- but my husband accepts and enjoys the company. I'm just too weak and tired to argue, you need to be feeling on top form to be strong and determined. I just don't know how to stop the father bringing his little boy to see me bang on supper-making time when all I want is some peace.
Yes, I know, I'm an ungrateful cow!

Elegran Tue 31-Dec-19 10:29:51

Next time they come round just on suppertime, say hello, give the boy a big hug and the father a big smile, and say - "Look, I am a bit busy right now, so you two go and see [husbands's name] " Then shut the kitchen door and let husband get on with it. Ignore whatever is going on outside the kitchen - it is up to your husband to police the boy and chat to the father.

Prime husband beforehand that he will be the host if this happens, and it is up to him to see that the boy is occupied and not getting into everything.

cornergran Tue 31-Dec-19 10:50:17

No, not ungrateful, realistic. It’s hard to manage good intentions sometimes and of course you don’t want to offend them. Good neighbours can be hard to come by.

Not sure what I’d do, the only thing I can think of is gentle honesty before I got to screaming point. Do they have parents/grandparents? I wonder if you’re actually filling a space in their lives. So perhaps invite them at a time to suit you, just for a cuppa nothing more and gently explain that although you appreciate their kindness your health means you often need to be quiet and rest. It’s complicated by the fact your husband is enjoying their company, but again explain he has more stamina and so if it’s OK with them he may come alone sometimes but please will they not be offended if either or both of you say you can’t make a visit to their home. Explain about the timing of the evening visits, perhaps suggest a better day/time, just once a week which suits you better. If you stress that you appreciate their kindness I would hope they will understand. Sorry, that all feels like it needs energy to tackle, I’m sure others will have better suggestions.

CleoPanda Tue 31-Dec-19 11:00:43

They sound marvellous. However, I see your predicament. Take a step back. Let your husband go if and when he wants to. Explain that you haven’t the energy but go when you feel up to it. Go for a short while. Just be as truthful as you can without offending. Twice a week visits sound reasonable and lovely for the little boy. Maybe you could suggest they come half an hour earlier so you can chat before you have to start cooking? Or suggest that certain days are too tiring for you? They are clearly kind people who just don’t know what it’s like to be older with less energy.
I hope you come up with some solutions to keep this lovely relationship satisfactory for everyone.

craftyone Tue 31-Dec-19 11:11:20

I understand completely where you are coming from OP. I have had to make an effort to keep neighbours at arms length, while maintaining friendly relationships with them. I blame newpapers and tv, `go visit old people and people on their own` do their shopping blah blah. For goodness sake, we have earned peace and tranquility in our older years. We lived through hardships and austerity years, many of us do not need mollycoddling from persistent smothering neighbours, albeit kindly meant

I want to empty my own car boot of heavy items, I know how to roll stuff into a wheelbarrow and move it. It is good for my muscles. I am the one who dug my garden but I am the one who firstly had to put a lock on my tall garden gate. I sneak out when my `kindly` male neighbour is away, I leave heavy sacks in my boot until then.

I thank my lucky stars that there is no family with a child involved. Your situation is much worse op, I would hide when they are expected. I hate assumptions about older people

Hetty58 Tue 31-Dec-19 11:20:25

I used to have a neighbour who always 'happened to be' in her garden whenever I went to hang out the washing - or do a bit of gardening.

She would chat, chat, chat away (about nothing really) and hold me hostage for ages. I think she was lonely although she was young and had a husband and kids.

I changed my whole routine to avoid her, ridiculous really. I'd hang out washing at 8.15 am, just before rushing to the school - and do gardening at 6 pm (her dinner prep time).

Hetty58 Tue 31-Dec-19 11:20:26

I used to have a neighbour who always 'happened to be' in her garden whenever I went to hang out the washing - or do a bit of gardening.

She would chat, chat, chat away (about nothing really) and hold me hostage for ages. I think she was lonely although she was young and had a husband and kids.

I changed my whole routine to avoid her, ridiculous really. I'd hang out washing at 8.15 am, just before rushing to the school - and do gardening at 6 pm (her dinner prep time).

notanan2 Tue 31-Dec-19 11:24:36

Yes, I can refuse the invitations, I do --- but my husband accepts and enjoys the company.

Well that's easy, he goes without you!

I dont think they are picking on you particularly because youre old, it sounds like theyre young and its perhaps their first owned home and they want to build nice relations with their neighbours all round but are going OTT

When I think back to DH and I's first jointly owned home as a couple, we were eager little beavers going around the whole block introducinv ourselves and inviting everyone over.

We not long ago sold a home to a couple with a young child, again first time buyers, and within a week we heard from the neighbours we are friendly with that they had excitedly done the rounds and were befriending everyone they could.

Dont take it personally.

Its your DH causing you problems not them if he is accepting invites on your behalf! Tell him to stop! Say HE would love to but he'ld have to check if it would be just him or both. Same for him inviting them in at the doorstep: he can say its lovely to see them but not a good time for visitors.

I wonder if your DH is a bit lonelt himself. You can be a couple and feel very differently about your respective social lives. Maybe the grandkids and adult children are all about Nannie and he feels on the outside etc?

I dont think he should see less of the new neighbours just because you want to.

inkycog Tue 31-Dec-19 11:25:39

You are not a cow and you are not ungrateful. How about a simple conversation saying you love their enthusiasm and your husband enjoys the company but your health isn't great and you need to do less these days.

notanan2 Tue 31-Dec-19 11:33:09

Do you have a "front room"? I.e. somewhere separate from where you eat your supper? Where DH could invite them into for a cup of tea and chat away from you and your supper?

May be that he wants the company/friendship and doesnt mind his supper going cold.

You both live there and both of your wants and needs should be met. Sometimes that means doing things separately.

I think he is wrong to accept on both of your behalf
But equally you would be wrong to discourage them if your DH enjoys it.
So you need to not see yourselves as one unit on this issue and work out a way to use your space so that he can have extra visitors, and you can get away from them!

travelsafar Tue 31-Dec-19 11:40:59

Why not turn the tables and tell husband to go visit them at supper time. If they turn up on set days you choose those days. maybe the wife is shooing them out while she has some'peace and quiet' and prepping their supper!!!! smile

ladymuck Tue 31-Dec-19 11:46:03

I used to have a neighbour who saw me as some sort of poor little orphan! I was horrified when I heard her tell someone 'I'm helping her because she hasn't got anyone'.
Being a rather proud, independent person, I then made it my mission to prove that, I was, in fact, very self-sufficient.

sodapop Tue 31-Dec-19 12:04:56

Your neighbours sound kind ExD1938 and may be you are filling a gap for them too as other posters said. I would invite them over for tea and cake then be honest about how you feel and your health problems. Your husband is happy to visit and you will see them when your health allows, no need to beat about the bush, they will understand.

notanan2 Tue 31-Dec-19 12:15:17

Are they maybe not just new to your street but new to the area too?

They might not have family nearby like you and your DH do, if so they do NEED to put themselves out there and build themselves a network/community IYKWIM?

They may have missed the mark with you, but if your DH wants to be friends with them then he should be

Tangerine Tue 31-Dec-19 12:21:25

Would you mind if your husband went to their events and you stayed at home? It sounds like a good solution.

I think *Elegran's *suggestion at 10.29 am today is the way forward.

You might need your neighbours one day which sounds a bit pessimistic. They sound as if they might be good to you.

craftyone Tue 31-Dec-19 12:41:01

my sister had a similar neighbour in the 70s, both had a young family, my sister was a busy do-er. It started similarly to the OP but soon developed to the neighbour knocking and walking right in. My sister ended up having to keep the door locked. Some people think that everyone needs company, no we don`t

notanan2 Tue 31-Dec-19 12:50:08

Some people think that everyone needs company, no we don`t
The issue here is that they're not wrong, at least from the DHs point of view. He is happy to have them, his wife is not.

This is a husband/wife issur really not a neighbour issue

Yehbutnobut Tue 31-Dec-19 13:09:10

I think at 80 you are old enough and wise enough to manage this yourself. Some good suggestions above.

I’d suggest you read them, choose those you think doable and put a plan in place.

ExD1938 Tue 31-Dec-19 13:45:45

So true Yehbutnobut (love the name). I am usually a confident and vocal person but at the moment I am just too tired.
I'm on morphine every 4 hours and it takes energy to stand up for yourself.
Notanan, my husband isn't just sitting around in another room, although he's 80 he's still working (his choice) and doesn't get home till after 6pm. He did take time off when I had my accident.

inkycog Tue 31-Dec-19 15:24:13

I do suggest a kind but firm word with the neighbours. Yes, it's an energy thing......or drop a little card through their door.

Naty Tue 31-Dec-19 21:39:06

Let your husband have and grow that relationship. If they drop by during dinner prep, give them a lovely greeting, offer them a drink and continue your prepping without stopping. Give your husband a chance to talk to them instead. Lead them to another room and leave them with DH and then DH does thdle dishes.

If you feel frail and tired, just tell them you're tired and you'll pay them a visit later in the week. Tell them you'll call them. "Hi dear! I'm so happy you're here but I'm afraid I've done a bit too much today. I'm feeling very tired. Can I call you later in the week so we can arrange for a visit?"

That's it.

Naty Tue 31-Dec-19 21:45:02

I like ELegran's solution at 10.29 too...

But if it takes too much energy, just don't answer the door.

If they see you through the door, go and answer it and say "Hi boys, I'm glad to see you. I'm sorry, but I'm really tired today. I'll have ... call you when he gets home from work. If you're available, he'll be over for a visit."

All it takes is a few interactions like that and they'll get the message.

Esther1 Wed 01-Jan-20 05:24:05

Please don’t say anything, however tactful you try, they will be hurt, and such good and kind neighbours like these are like gold dust. You don’t need to accept every invitation, it’s easy to say you’re tired at your age, and when they pop in when you’re making supper just carry on and don’t stop and I am sure in time these little visits at this time will ease off. You’re so lucky to have this lovely little family thinking of you.