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Demanding neighbour

(23 Posts)
Mirren Sat 05-Feb-22 20:53:49

Advice please.
We moved to our current home 2 years ago , not long before lockdown.
We didn't know anyone but ,as is our practice, joined a church and various groups.
I joined a craft group where there was a lady who lived quite near me . A single mum of a teenager who is " disabled due to ill health "
Occasionally we walked towards our homes together and she seemed ok .
However, during lockdown , she decided she was in " my bubble " and took to try to see me daily , messaging me constantly, clearly able to see on her phone when was on line .
She talks of " our friendship " . She then moved and lives at the end of my street.
She did go to another church but then decided to come to ours . She is now in our home group.
She asks for lifts to church every week , lifts to other places , wants to meet for coffee, constantly messages asking " how are you ?" If I don't answer it becomes expression of concern and " are you stressed " . She just does not get it !
She also borrows money, which I have lent her because I have plenty and she is on benefits. She does also pay it back exactly on time .
I don't want to be rude or uncaring, or , indeed ,unchristian but she is driving me mad .
I have tried ignoring, saying no , not answering personal questions .. all to no avail.
The trouble is she is lonely and she also irritates many others with her manipulative ways .
How can I stop her ?
Every so often I do go with her for coffee. Whilst I would think that one coffee session would be enough for 2-3 weeks she completely misreads this and seems to take any gesture of kindness as encouragement.
One coffee will result in a deluge of requests for meet ups , lifts , company etc etc
How do I cope , apart from moving church and house?
If she attends my church I feel I will look really awful if I refuse to give her a lift there ( there is a bus outside her door but that is mean and childish of me , I feel )
It's getting me down, on my mind day and night yet I feel really selfish .
Help !

3dognight Sat 05-Feb-22 21:12:37

Still give her lifts if it’s convenient and on your way.

Otherwise tell her you need more time to yourself, you have got used to time alone and find it restful/ you are not always available to be a good friend/ you are busy doing other stuff/ EVENTUALLY she will get the message that the friendship is on your terms not hers.

I have had the exact same scenario.

It has taken a good year to get through to her, but it has encouraged her to seek new friends during that time, and now we have a friendship that to be honest suits me more than her, but she happily accepts it’s on my terms now.

Just be abit more‘unavailable’ .

Florencelady Sat 05-Feb-22 21:47:45

I had this situation and l'm sorry but l ended up moving. I did everything to politely refuse invitations/ requests etc but she had absolutely no idea of how to take my hints. On the other hand my dh was very straight with her but no matter what we did we couldn't make it stop. I was happy give a bit but no matter what l did it was never enough. WE MOVED!!!

HettyBetty Sat 05-Feb-22 21:52:29

Do you have to drive to church? Could you walk or cycle, or walk part way and get a bus for the rest? With the excuse of wanting to get more exercise?

I used to have a neighbour similar to that. She didn't work and assumed that because I was running a business from home I was free for coffee at any time. I had to be quite blunt in the end.

Hithere Sun 06-Feb-22 01:08:44

Please do not confuse being unchristian with having healthy boundaries.

Her behaviour is very overwhelming.

I bet it is not the first time she latches into somebody and doesnt let the person go.
How do other people react to her?

Decide what is healthy, ditch the guilt. It is not your job to rescue her

DiscoDancer1975 Sun 06-Feb-22 13:10:42

Just be honest with her. Jesus does encourage this after all.

Why not set up a date to meet for coffee every month for example. It may be if you had something in place, she may relax more, and be less likely to harass you.

If this doesn’t suit her, then I’m afraid you have every right to refuse to see her at all.

Some people just keep on taking....

Pepper59 Sun 06-Feb-22 13:17:33

There is no way Id be moving house, that's a bit drastic, especially if I loved the area. Don't reply to texts or the phone in fact block her number. Be very vague about where you are going, tell her nothing and definitely don't be lending her money. This why I avoid neighbours in general. I learned the hard way too. Im polite to my neighbours, happy to blether over the fence but I don't get involved. You sound like you really need to distance yourself both physically and mentally, she is taking the p**s.

Daisend1 Sun 06-Feb-22 13:35:54

You refer to we moved to our current home etc etc etc
Forgive me if I have missed something ?Who is we and what is their opinion.

buffyfly9 Sun 06-Feb-22 14:16:24

I think your generosity in loaning her money sends a signal to someone who is obviously needy and dare I say, manipulative. I agree with previous posts that counsel you not to move! That sounds drastic and you could end up jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. I don't like hurting people's feelings but I think you must be strong, block the phone calls and texts and restore your boundaries. You could say you are very busy at the moment but could meet up for a coffee once a month after church then drop her home and say " I'll see you in four weeks then". If that doesn't work then you have little option but to make it clear you are not able to meet her friendship demands.

M0nica Sun 06-Feb-22 15:09:07

Could you speak to your Minister about this lady and the problems she is causing you.?

Judy54 Sun 06-Feb-22 15:13:37

Not in the least unchristian Mirren it is all about setting personal boundaries. I am sure we have all come across people like this. My way of dealing with it was to tell the person that whilst I was happy to meet up I had to make time in my life for other people too. Hopefully if she realises that you have other commitments she will understand that you cannot always be there for her. When this person kept badgering me I said " if you want my attention you will have to get in the queue" making it clear that I could not meet everyone's demands on my life. Just be strong and clear to her and I hope that she will get the message.

SpringyChicken Sun 06-Feb-22 17:00:46

Time to call a spade a shovel and be honest with the lady even though you will find it hard and even embarrassing. But you have nothing to be embarrassed about.
She cannot manipulate you if you refuse to be manipulated.

Tell her that she is overwhelming you and your husband with over frequent contact and requests and it's making you unhappy. Yes, you are stressed but she is the cause of it.
Really, you have to stand up and assert yourself.

Humduh Sun 06-Feb-22 19:02:29

Seems to me she is looking for a friend. Are you? I was treated the pesterer as you describe her once and happily maintained more distance. Unfortunately for me I was berated for that too - why don't you visit more often. Why don't you confide in me any more just being two comments thrown at me

User7777 Mon 07-Feb-22 03:13:45

I just had this scenario myself. I blocked her number, said dropped fone, not got new one yet. Also, she was ringing, knocking everyday on my door. Ignored it. Eventually, she sent neighbour to knock on door. Was pleasant, but I said I had become very busy. Issue stopped, no more harassment. Which is what it is.

MissAdventure Mon 07-Feb-22 08:44:33

18 years, I've had it for.
My neighbour peers through my windows, phones me, sits outside my flat shouting a conversation through the door if I won't sit outside.

The only solution I've found is to get ill; the 20 times a day visits have petered out to once a fortnight now.

Yammy Mon 07-Feb-22 09:32:53

Switch your phone off if you have a landline. Then block her on that. Try not to be in the room where she can see you and DON"T feel sorry. She is imposing on your kindness.
Could you go to a different service at church, make sure you are going via somewhere else and on to somewhere afterwards, don't tell where even if it is a sit in a park.
If she phones during meals get your husband to answer and just say you are eating, in the shower, or the bath, in bed feeling ill.
I had to be very strong with my new neighbour she would have run my life, suggesting clubs where I would have been the taxi etc.
I was alert because previously I had a colleague who booked us on a works course 40 miles away, when I asked how we would get there the answer was in your car. After doing it a few times in bad wintry weather and actually saw their car on the drive when I picked her up. I explained to the lecturer and started to find excuses to not always attend, parents nights etc.
You will have to be very strong and it feels awful but does eventually work. Good luckflowers

Caleo Mon 07-Feb-22 09:47:21

" I have diarrhoea" is a fail safe excuse.

Ali08 Mon 07-Feb-22 21:15:38


18 years, I've had it for.
My neighbour peers through my windows, phones me, sits outside my flat shouting a conversation through the door if I won't sit outside.

The only solution I've found is to get ill; the 20 times a day visits have petered out to once a fortnight now.

Good heavens, How did you not report her for harassment?
I'd have hidden her body by now!!

welbeck Mon 07-Feb-22 21:18:55

don't answer calls from people whom you don't want to be involved with.

Ali08 Mon 07-Feb-22 21:20:37

Mirren, start introducing her to other members of your church. Like M0nica said, talk to the minister & get his help, he can make moves to get her into groups with other people, so she isn't so dependent on you!!
Good luck!

grandtanteJE65 Fri 11-Feb-22 13:16:20

Decide what you are willing to do and how often you want to see her.

If you drive to church, then I see no reason not to pick her up, and if you both go home again at the same time, take her home to her place too. But make it a rule, that there are Sundays were you can only take her to church, bcause you are going on somewhere else afterwards.

This may involve your having to take a roundabout way home, if you haven't anything fixed up for that Sunday after church, but that is better than not setting boundaries.

STOP lending ´her money ¨you are only encouraging her to depend on you by doing so. If not lending her money, makes you feel lacking in Christian charity, give anonomously to your church or a charity of your choice.

Be frank but polite and tell her that you value her acquaintanceship, but that you have neither the time, nor the desire, to drink coffee with her all the time, or answer text messages and phone-calls. However kindly she means them, she is interrupting your day with them.

If you want to, invite her for coffee once a month or so.

I have had a similar problem with a neigbour - an Arabic speaker, which I am not, who will not take the trouble to learn Danish properly and made incessant demands on me to help her contact local authorities and the like, lend her money and so on.

On one occasion when we had gone in her car to Flensburg to do some shopping, she had not bothered to change money into euros and blithely asked me to pay for her shopping and she would then repay me in Danish currency. I refused, pointing out that if I did that, I would have no euros left for the purchases I had specifically gone to Flensburg to make. She went into a huff, and I ended up taking the bus home, only 7 km, but the principle of the thing rankled.

This episode has stopped her incessant demands for help. I had offered to teach her Danish, which I am well qualified to do, but no, anything that requires work or application on her behalf holds no interest for her.

Your neighbour sounds the same type of person - if you give, she will go on taking and never make any returns.

You are not lacking in Christian charity, either when you expect her to show you consideration and respect, or when you stop enabling her by lending her money - offer to teach her how to budget properly, and I suspect that will meet as cold a reception as my offer to teach my neighbour the language of the country she has chosen to live in did.

Pumpkinpie Tue 01-Mar-22 08:45:21

I think talking to your minister is very good advice, if she is struggling financially they could put her in touch with agencies like CAP who could help. Maybe they can get her involved in activities to help her make friends.
Don’t lend her money. Especially now with energy prices going up, if you live near other church members maybe they could give her a lift too - divide and conquer.

biglouis Mon 07-Mar-22 10:06:21

One of those "ring" type doorbells is your friend. You can see who calls and make a decision as to whether to open the door. You can also talk over the intercom so you can be busy, feeling unwell, on the loo, in bed and so on.

I had a neighbour like this (detailed on another thread so I wont repeat) but in the end I learned the art of "ghosting". For me this does not mean suddenly cutting someone off, which is unkind, but gradually being less and less available.

I told her that the uni required us all in the office and I would be out 8-6. I knew she did not venture out once it became dark and went to stay with family at weekends. I began to respond to only one in every 3 or 4 calls (no smart phones then) and not answering the door unless expecting anyone. Gradually withdrawing gives the other the opportunity to develop a relationship with someone else, or learn to do things for themselves.