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Am I selfish, a bad neighbour or just plain spiteful?

(176 Posts)
Oldwoman70 Tue 02-Jun-20 11:30:20

Throughout this lockdown I have had two neighbours call on me, not to ask how I am coping or if I needed anything but to ask favours.

One neighbour called the second week (before I had managed to secure a regular supermarket delivery) to say they were going supermarket shopping and would I take in a parcel - didn't ask how I was doing or if I needed anything.

I am now receiving supermarket deliveries and this neighbour rang my doorbell this morning and asked if they could add their shopping to mine as they couldn't get a delivery slot. Apparently they are all fine just fed up of queuing at the supermarket. When I refused I was accused of being a bad neighbour - I said if they were ill I would have done so but they had never once asked if I needed anything when going on their regular shopping expeditions, never once called to ask how I was doing.

In my defence I would point out that I am always helping neighbours, taking in parcels, holding keys and watching houses even having their post delivered to me when they are away.

Will now don my hard hat, duck behind the sofa and wait for the condemnations from you all!

Oldwoman70 Tue 02-Jun-20 12:54:04

Thank you for all the supporting comments - I am usually a people pleaser and try to help when I can and was feeling a bit guilty for saying no. MawB I hadn't thought about the difficulty in sorting out the orders and payment. I am sure they will forgive me - when they next need a favour!

catladyuk Tue 02-Jun-20 12:56:51

How large is your sofa?!

Kate1949 Tue 02-Jun-20 12:59:29

What a cheek. I've just been on the Iceland site. They have plenty of delivery slots for tomorrow. Asda and Tesco had slots yesterday. Your neighbours need to preserve.

H1954 Tue 02-Jun-20 13:03:27

No hard hat needed as far as I can see! You have gone above and beyond as a neighbour but to ask you to add all their shopping to yours because they don't like queuing is taking the biscuit!!
I would have acted the same as you to be honest; I will help anyone but once they start taking advantage of me the helps stops.
My neighbour is very selfish too, we call him Mr Woe because it's all "woe is me"! He never asked how we are, never offers anything in return for favours, he treats my OH like his personal gardener/handyman (OH is older than the neighbour but too soft to refuse) all whilst claiming disability allowance etc or whatever it's called these days. Really pisses me off!
On our street, those who have supermarket deliveries will say they've got an order ready to go, does anyone want anything added in - those few bits and pieces that we all forget - but not Mr Woe, he won't help anyone but expects everyone else to dance to his tune! He also had the government emergency grocery pack..........and threw most of it away because he didn't like it all. We were all mortified and told him in no uncertain terms that he could at least have asked around to see if anything ne wanted any of it!
This Covid 19 might have brought communities together in some ways but it has definetly shown people's true colours!

Toadinthehole Tue 02-Jun-20 13:04:51

I would have done exactly the same as you. I definitely wouldn’t take parcels at the minute for obvious reasons. The same goes for their shopping. It’s so insensitive of them, you stick to your principles and keep yourself safe.

Maggiemaybe Tue 02-Jun-20 13:06:12

What the heck's all this running behind the sofa about? grin I can't see that anyone could agree that the OP was selfish and spiteful. Did your neighbours actually say this, Oldwoman? {shock]

I've added a few bits to our online orders for neighbours who can't get to the supermarket and I always text them when a delivery's due so they can let me know what they need. They do favours for us as well, so everyone's happy. Fortunately nobody's tried to take advantage like your cheeky neighbour, Oldwoman. Of course you were right to say no to adding a full weekly shop for someone who's quite capable of sorting themselves out.

Doodledog Tue 02-Jun-20 13:07:58

I read some interesting research which found that people fall into one of two categories - askers and hinters, or similar. Sorry to be vague, but I don't remember the detail, but the gist is as I've said.

Basically, askers do just that - if they want something, they don't beat about the bush, but come out and say so. They don't like hints, as they find them confusing, and are not good at recognising them anyway. Crucially, though, they are not upset if you say no when they ask for something.

Hinters do not ask directly, in case it causes embarrassment. Instead, they drop hints, let people know indirectly that they want something, and tend to get upset if they don't do it. They don't get upset when others hint, and are good at picking up on cues.

This would all work swimmingly, until you get a hinter and an asker in a relationship of some sort, and each drives the other insane. The hinter thinks the asker is impossibly rude, and the asker gets frustrated with that they see as passive aggression. Both expect the other group to behave as they themselves do, as to them, that is 'normal', and get upset or offended when they don't.

I wonder if you are a hinter, who expected your neighbours to help you out, and they are askers, who assumed that you would have asked if you did, so you must have been ok. Their asking you will seem to them normal, as that is just what askers do. Neither of you is being unreasonable or a bad neighbour. It may just be that you have different styles. Is that a possibility, do you think?

merlotgran Tue 02-Jun-20 13:10:53

This is why I'm glad we don't have neighbours. Nobody to offend when the second word is 'Off!' grin

gillybob Tue 02-Jun-20 13:11:14

Interesting Doodledog but surely there must be a third category that involves no hinting or asking just getting on with things in the hope that someday , someone might just ......... hmm

Oopsadaisy3 Tue 02-Jun-20 13:14:25

Do you have 2 sofas? I’m another one who thinks that you acted perfectly reasonably, maybe it will make them realise that doing favours is a two way street.
Anyway, adding shopping is a big ask, you would have to sort the shopping into separate bags after delivery, sort out how much they owe you, charge them the delivery fee? (To teach them a lesson) and what about substitutions? The supermarket sends them to you and your neighbour doesn’t want them.
No .
Let them do their own shopping

Oldwoman70 Tue 02-Jun-20 13:15:56

Doodledog I am not a "hinter" - I will ask for help if I need it, but it is nice if someone takes the trouble to ask if all is OK or just pass the time of day! Thinking about it I don't think my neighbours are "askers" more like "users"

Doodledog Tue 02-Jun-20 13:25:55

Interesting Doodledog but surely there must be a third category that involves no hinting or asking just getting on with things in the hope that someday , someone might just ......... hmm

Life never divides in such a binary way, so I assume we are all at some point on a scale.

I think that what you describe would come under hinting. I didn't do the research, and as I say I can't remember the detail, but it would cover the sort of situation where someone really wants to go to a particular restaurant for their anniversary, but doesn't say so, in the hope that their spouse will book it.

To the hinter, the spouse knowing that this is important to them is as important as the event itself. The spouse doesn't pick up on hints, so is entirely unaware of this, and buys jewellery instead.

This is disappointing for the hinter, who feels that the asker should have known that the 'right' gift would have been the meal at the restaurant. The spouse picks up on the disappointment (askers are not necessarily insensitive) and is hurt, so the anniversary is a flop.

I can see how this might contribute to a lot of misunderstandings, and explain why some people just don't get on, but don't really know why.

Hetty58 Tue 02-Jun-20 13:26:13

Oldwoman70 it's perfectly OK to refuse. There are now plenty of opportunities to order online (maybe not with your favourite shop - but so what) so they are just being lazy.

Wheniwasyourage Tue 02-Jun-20 13:26:50

Obviously we need a virtual sofa here, as proper distancing will be very difficult for us all without one. We could then arrange a suitably intellectual bookshelf behind it (and us) in case anyone wants to film us being invisible behind the sofa.

You were quite right to refuse your neighbour's cheeky request, Oldwoman70. Good for you!

Doodledog Tue 02-Jun-20 13:27:26

Sorry, Oldwoman - our posts crossed.

Oh well, in that case, maybe you're right, and they are just users smile. Not much you can do about that, really.

Furret Tue 02-Jun-20 13:33:14

Nothing to feel guilty about.

Judy54 Tue 02-Jun-20 14:54:52

Oldwoman70 we are all behind the sofa with you no condemnations here! There will always be takers in life who feel a sense of entitlement but have no understanding of anyone else's needs but their own. Usually when they cannot get what they want from someone they move on to another person. What part of NO do these people not understand!

felice Tue 02-Jun-20 15:00:35


Callistemon Tue 02-Jun-20 15:00:35

We're behind the sofa with Oldwoman, Maggiemaybe, all ignoring the insistent knocking at the door.

Ps I just nipped to IKEA and bought another 20 sofas.
(Wrong thread, sorry)

AGAA4 Tue 02-Jun-20 15:06:35

You have a lot of support Oldwoman. Me included. Your neighbour was taking advantage of your good nature.

Sussexborn Tue 02-Jun-20 15:16:37

Has no one invented a zoom sofa? That would be ideal.

Years ago now. I started helping a neighbour who got more and more demanding. I didn’t come to my senses until her sister took me aside and said “you do realise she wouldn’t p**s on you if you caught fire?” Not very polite but true.

Maggiemaybe Tue 02-Jun-20 16:03:07

Ps I just nipped to IKEA and bought another 20 sofas.

So that’s why the queue’s not moving, Callistemon. shock. I was just hoping to dash in on my way past for a jar of herrings in mustard sauce and a bag of Swedish meatballs. And maybe a couple of cushions, a few gel pens and a pair of herb scissors on my way round

Callistemon Tue 02-Jun-20 16:05:39

I managed to buy some Daim, I may just let everyone have a mini piece

Callistemon Tue 02-Jun-20 16:07:13

Herb scissors? I missed those.
Does that mean I wouldn't have to chop them with a knife, narrowly missing my fingers?

Rosalyn69 Tue 02-Jun-20 16:08:17

Quite right. I would not add someone’s shopping to mine except I do for my son and his wife. That said they do live next door and collect it from outside. And they are family. For a neighbour - just no and I am amazed that people would ask unless they were in dire straits.