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Nasty neighbour

(125 Posts)
Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 10:26:16

Hi everyone. 👋
Apologies for sounding a bit upset on such a lovely day, but I was wondering how you have dealt/deal with particularly nasty neighbours? We live in a semi detached, and the neighbours we are attached too are fabulous. In fact, everyone else on the street is fabulous, apart from our neighbour. Every time we are in the garden, they make fun and make comments. They are husband and wife in their late 60s, retired, so I beginning to think they're just bored. The wife likes to have loud music on her car while cleaning it, very loud, to the point where cups and containers vibrate into each other, but as soon as we make any noise (lawn mowing, kids playing - all in reasonable hours) she moans. The husband has even got a pair of secateurs and carved a smiley face into one his trees facing our garden, and at point she had plastic skeletons (maybe left over from Halloween, but all year round until the strong winds blew them apart) up on trees facing our garden with fingers adjusted to the "v" sign. I mean, who would carve things into trees that made no sense? We are trying to ignore it, we even grew the hedge taller, planted some more in the back garden and kept them tall, we even tinted our windows because she loved to look inside them. She is also a fan of standing on the edge her drive with her arms folded just watching us drive away. Anyone else have these sorts or similar things happen? How did you get through it? Please give me some advice. Anything. Thank you for reading this.

B9exchange Tue 03-Aug-21 10:35:33

Am I right in thinking that your garden is next to theirs the other side from the fabulous neighbours you are joined to? What about the neighbour on the other side of them, do they have problems?

I do know that falling our with neighbours just leads to more stress. You need to block off your view of their garden somehow, with a very tall hedge or bushes. We got someone to design a 9' high lattice arbour with bench seating at the foot to give us more privacy. As long as it is technically moveable, you are not breaking the law. As for standing with her arms folded watching you drive off, don't rise to it, give her a cheery royal wave, and she will cease to take any joy in it. Rejoice in the rest of your lovely neighbours and enjoy their company. There will always be one fly in the ointment wherever you live!

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 10:42:08

Thank you for your reply. We have grown hedges in back and front, we dread trimming them as she will stand and watch us. I don't know what she's expecting us to do?! It seems as though she wants us to react to her all the time, and I don't know whether it's a hormone imbalance or something? I know people are not born this way, and I know if a relative of mine behaved this way I would be concerned, but her family seem to think its fine!

B9exchange Tue 03-Aug-21 10:59:28

I know it's hard, but try not to let her take over your lives. She is obviously bored and nosey, but they are not criminal offences. Have you tried smiling and asking her if there is anything you can to to help each time she seems to be staring at you?

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 11:11:58

Yes. I did ask what have we done to upset you? She blamed her husband about something then that was it. You're absolutely right, they're not criminal offences, but I do wonder if they border on harassment? Seems to be bullying in nature, especially with the name calling, laughing and obsessive staring. Inches away from us when doing gardening, it's like stalking sometimes. I just wish they would ignore us, let us get on with our lives, and get on with theirs, live peacefully. I just don't know anymore. Sometimes feel targeted. Their neighbours on the other side of her she adores them. Even to point of going onto their property and trimming the hedge for them. But, myself and a lady across the road she seems to hate. Apart from us and lady across the road there doesn't seem to be anyone else in the firing line. The lady across the road, who I chat too, says she just ignores it. There's only so far you can push a person though especially when in close quarters. Sometimes I wonder, if I understood why they do it, I could accept it and manage it better. I just don't know its horrible 😞

Sara1954 Tue 03-Aug-21 11:20:46

Well I agree that the best advice is to ignore it, but they sound very odd to me, definitely not normal behaviour, very juvenile.

PinkCosmos Tue 03-Aug-21 11:29:19

How can people be so childish? What do they gain from this type of behaviour?

Could you have a word with her adjoining neighbour (who you say she adores) to try to work out why she is behaving like this towards you.

I am not sure whether there is anything legal you could do about this but it may be worthwhile taking photos or recording if you can. If you do decide to pursue this with the police you will at least have evidence.

As the other posters said, I would just wave at her when she is standing on the drive when you are going out.

When she is inches away when you are gardening maybe try making trivial conversation with her e.g. lovely day for gardening etc. What could she do - walk away or speak back to you. Maybe she likes to feel like she is intimidating you. The more you show that she is, the worse she will be.

If you are in the UK and in a rented council or LHA property they usually have an anti social behaviour department where you can report these things

AGAA4 Tue 03-Aug-21 11:29:41

As your neighbour won't tell you why she is behaving like this ignoring the childish behaviour is all you can do.
If she isn't getting a reaction from you it will spoil her fun.
Wear headphones in the garden and her snide comments will fall on deaf ears.
When she is watching you drive out wind your window down, smile and say "lovely day". If she replies nastily just laugh. People hate to be laughed at.

eazybee Tue 03-Aug-21 11:41:32

Put up the highest fencing you can afford/are allowed so you cannot see them and they cannot see you. She cannot clean her car everyday, and they cannot object to your mowing your lawn ; if she watches you leave with her arms folded, so what? Their behaviour is distinctly odd but I doubt it would amount to harassment; it sounds as though they are slightly on the spectrum, as is my next -door neighbour who irritates me intensely but has done nothing wrong; she is simply only concerned with herself and has no awareness of anyone else's feelings, including her family, apart from her own.

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 11:43:51

Thank you so much for all your replies. Love the headphone idea, I will try that out. Sometimes I feel so alone with it, even though the lady across the road is another one she hates. I agree with the behaviour being odd also, I don't know how her family and children can think it's OK. Especially with the tree carvings, skeletons and all other things we have had in the past. I asked her once why she keeps staring, she told me to "grow up"!

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 11:46:52

We had our bins emptied yesterday, so we filled it with recycling. As the bin was empty, it would echo more than usual putting things in. She must've heard us and shouting "oh yes. Bang bang bang hahahaha" at us!

jaylucy Tue 03-Aug-21 11:47:30

By their actions, they are obviously hoping to get a reaction from you.
Don't respond in any way - if you feel they are watching you, just carry on. If they yell out, ignore them, don't reply.
They will hopefully get bored.
I have seen something that you might like to buy to put in your garden facing them - an ornament of a monkey , one hand up, with the middle finger raised !

Redhead56 Tue 03-Aug-21 11:49:21

We had horrid neighbours when we moved we had a few nasty rows with them but decided it’s best to ignore them. I admit it really did stress me out at the time he especially was a bully. If you retaliate it will just fuel their stupid mentality and make you more anxious they are not worth it.

You said she moans if there is any activity in your garden who does she moan too or is it just her husband? Ignore them as you do when you have to listen to the noise they make. Do not allow them to ruin your day going about your business definitely don’t cut the trees. We put up two sheds at the bottom of the garden to block our nasty neighbours out completely. We also had security cameras installed and passive lights too.

I would welcome your other neighbours in your garden for drinks. This may be an opportunity for your good neighbours to actually witness how bad they are. It’s a good idea to have someone on your side and support you if needed. I hope you find some good advice here and it’s helpful.

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 11:58:40

Oh I'm loving the replies, thank you ALL. Having almost losing loved ones with covid, made me realise how short life is. Thank you all xxx

Hetty58 Tue 03-Aug-21 12:03:23

I had a neighbour just like her! Other neighbours thought she had a mild form of dementia - or possibly a personality disorder. She felt compelled to monitor the whole street, carefully watching anyone outside - and commenting.

I, too, built an arbour, as garden buildings can be 2.5 metres tall (in the UK) whereas fences can only be two metres.

I made a huge effort to be outwardly friendly and cheerful at all times. To avoid any interaction, I'd appear to be busy, just smile and wave, while wearing headphones. (No, I wasn't listening to music, just pretending to.)

If she insisted on talking, I'd cut it short, saying 'I'm cooking, must go in and check' or 'My daughter's phoning soon' or 'I'm just on my way out' etc. - any excuse, in fact.

I think she was very bored and/or jealous - oh, and trying to provoke a reaction with her petty complaints. I'd still smile and just say 'It's fine, it's OK, just a bit of noise while I mow the lawn, nothing to worry about', so be dismissive in a happy sort of way.

MawBe Tue 03-Aug-21 12:07:48

As you say everybody else around you is lovely, had you thought of taking a deep breath and trying a “charm offensive” ?
Wave back at the Andy Capp’s wife lookalike watching you drive away?
Invite some other neighbours round and include this couple?
Clean out your car at the same time and ask what radio station she has on so that you can have “stereo music while you work” - all with a smile firmly pinned on of course.
Maybe they do have a twisted sense of humour but it might be less strain on your blood pressure! Good luck.

Newquay Tue 03-Aug-21 12:10:41

Definitely don’t rise to it-I know easier said than done. As others have said just smile, say hello, lovely day and keep going. Like the idea of inviting lovely neighbours into garden.
We have lovely neighbours but the one across our drive is definitely getting “odd”-paranoia. She rescues animals which are a nuisance to us all. She used to chat and even come round for a cuppa but not now-all very sad. When we see her we do as above, carry on as usual, smile, say hello while she scowls at us and any visitors we have too!

Kate54 Tue 03-Aug-21 12:19:48

All good advice above but I would be concerned about the name calling. That would definitely be harrassment /bullying and reportable, especially if it is affecting your mental health. They sound incredibly childish but this is not normal for adults.

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 12:33:28

I agree it's not normal, but noone else seems to comment on it. The loud music for instance, which is fine, but she insists on singing along to it so loudly and then she will answer the radio presenter in between songs. For e.g the presenter will announce the weather report, and she will answer "oh yes another nice day how wonderful" then announce the next song "oh yes this is great" and when that song is finished "that was beautiful". It's very odd but noone else seems to notice and we take the brunt of it. Especially when they have an argument, and they like their colourful language, it gets worse. All this is from the wife, although someone did tell me the husband did carve the smiley face into the tree!

JaneJudge Tue 03-Aug-21 12:47:31

They sounds absolutely bonkers shock sad
We had horrible neighbours once who were very similar and we did have to just ignore them completely and we eventually moved.

User7777 Tue 03-Aug-21 13:06:38

Apparently, top reason for moving home is neighbours from hell. But there is a nasty one wherever you go. Surveillance cameras would be good, as I feel they are envious of you in some way. She sounds like a lonely woman with too much time on her hands. So you are fair game. Invite more people around. Family and friends, she might quieten down when faced with more people around you. Bullies can only operate in secrecy. Once they are outed they are less likely to strike. Be brave and turn to friends and family. A busy mind, will remove her antics from your mind. Regain control over your thoughts, and be less stressed. She has no power over you.

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 13:24:00

Thank you so much for all the replies, truly grateful for your time. As I am typing this out, she has her grandchildren over playing in the garden and yet, because she heard us put things in the bin yesterday, she is banging away throwing things as loud as she can. I feel sorry for her grandchildren at this point.

timetogo2016 Tue 03-Aug-21 13:25:29

People like them love a reaction Boodie,don`t play the game,they sound like a pair of nutters.

Boodie Tue 03-Aug-21 13:34:43

They are timetogo2016, I wish others could see it. It wears me down sometimes, and I've never shared it before online. I suppose I would think people would shrug me off.
Thank you all so so much. I'm so grateful x

aonk Tue 03-Aug-21 13:37:03

If finances permit maybe think of employing someone to trim the hedge etc to save you the stress? I’m all for damage limitation in a case like this.