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How should I deal with bitchy neighbours in my retirement complex?

(64 Posts)
leapyearnan Mon 01-Apr-24 01:03:49

I thought I was on to a good thing moving into a retirement complex, ready made social life etc. It's quite shocking to find that now and then, someone will make bitchy remarks about another resident. I always ignored them but I've heard a few bitchy remarks amount myself and I'm wondering who started it and why? I really love my apartment but I'm seriously thinking of moving again just to escape the atmosphere here.

absent Mon 01-Apr-24 05:58:18

Somewhere on Gransnet, fairly recently I think, there was a thread about sharp but appropriate retorts to unpleasant comments. Going to have a look at that might give you some ideas.

Calendargirl Mon 01-Apr-24 07:08:22

If you move, it might not be any better there.

BigBertha1 Mon 01-Apr-24 07:18:16

Unfortunately you may c nd the same thing everywhere. Learn to 'clock a deaf ear'.

Astitchintime Mon 01-Apr-24 07:32:25

Moving home might be a jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, chances are you will be met with the same situation wherever you live.

Passing bitchy comments about others is no different to bullying in my opinion and sadly some people thrive on being as cruel, mean and unpleasant as they possibly can.

Why should you move out simply because someone has an evil mind and a vicious tongue?

If your present home suits your needs then stay put, rise above the bitchiness - you will soon identify who to associate with, and carry on being a pleasant, friendly person. You will soon attract nice people who have no doubt been on the receiving end of the bitchiness themselves.

Katie59 Mon 01-Apr-24 07:33:08

Silly little things can start that kind of unpleasant treatment, things like not hearing or miss hearing a greeting, being too insular or shy yourself, being too busy with other things to join in. I don’t have that problem I dive in with others and start chatting, it’s because I was a nurse where you have to get positive communication with patients all the time

NanaTuesday Mon 01-Apr-24 07:42:30

That’s sad to hear , my 90 yr old MIL moved to a retirement village 18months ago she the best thing she’s done ., despite her OH of 30plus yrs passing away after just 6 months of living there , which was sad 😢
We have heard though that it is quite “
clicky” & people can be both kind & unkind .
Try to avoid those unkind ones , if you have only moved recently then you still have to find your feet & work out ffriendships . All of which are I find harder as you get older .

Allsorts Mon 01-Apr-24 08:02:31

You sound very friendly and confident Katie which is great however if you are not like that it’s difficult.
I wouldn't move again if the apartment suits you, just don’t ever agree with an unkind comment, I have in the past just said, I wouldn’t know and moved on.. Why would you want to make a friend with someone who is unkind there are bound to be others like you. If I move to such a set up I doubt I would join in much anyway as I am not really comfortable in groups.

petra Mon 01-Apr-24 08:14:35

I have friends in two of these complexes. It’s exactly the same.
Both friends are always out and about ( both moved to these places because of their husbands health, not theirs)
Unfortunately the majority don’t go out and have become insular, this is where this attitude creeps in.

Katie59 Mon 01-Apr-24 08:31:33


You sound very friendly and confident Katie which is great however if you are not like that it’s difficult.
I wouldn't move again if the apartment suits you, just don’t ever agree with an unkind comment, I have in the past just said, I wouldn’t know and moved on.. Why would you want to make a friend with someone who is unkind there are bound to be others like you. If I move to such a set up I doubt I would join in much anyway as I am not really comfortable in groups.

You’re right I’m very confident in myself, if I do get a grouchy customer at work I brush it off and remember the 99 nice customers.

BlueBelle Mon 01-Apr-24 08:51:34

I feel for you, people can be VERY cruel sometimes without meaning to, but sometimes with pure vileness and it only takes one strong character to take against you to pull others along with them one reason I wouldn’t go to a retirement village or any sort of group living if possible but please don’t shout at me if you re in one and having a great time
I m not going to go into it and nothing to do with retirement villages but a relative has just been pulled to the lowest by one person pretending to be a friend then completely stabbing them in the back and pulling other in with it Complete bullies but it can make someone’s life hell

HelterSkelter1 Mon 01-Apr-24 09:07:48

As you say it happens "now and then". Try and ignore it. Don't get involved in any gossip. The "l wouldn't know retort " is good

But don't move. You like your apartment. If you can get out and about perhaps follow some ideas from the retirement ideas thread so that your social life does not depend entirely on the complex, it won't upset you so much.
The instigator of the unpleasant remarks may not be there in the future anyway. I do sympathise. I thought mistakenly that things like this only happened in the school playground. try and rise above it.

Redhead56 Mon 01-Apr-24 09:20:10

These people still think they are at school they relish gossiping and picking on others. If you do hear gossip about someone say you’re are not interested in tittle tattle and walk away. It might take a while for the penny to drop but they will eventually get the message. As you are the new kid on the block be assertive let them know with those few words you won’t be messed with. You will make friends so don’t even consider moving enjoy your new abode.

Granniesunite Mon 01-Apr-24 09:37:36

I feel for you leapyearnan I couldn’t live in an atmosphere of bitterness either I just find it so childish and petty.

Give it time you’ll soon find out who is genuine and who is not .

I’d keep my own counsel til then. Be a shame to move just now if you like your apartment.

AGAA4 Mon 01-Apr-24 10:08:30

I've found that nasty bitchy people are usually insecure miserable people deep down. Don't let their warped personalities spoil things for you leapyearnan.
Just stay pleasant and friendly with your neighbours and don't listen to gossip. People very soon see through the ones causing trouble.

nanna8 Mon 01-Apr-24 10:21:02

One reason I don’t want to downsize and go into a retirement village. I like my privacy and to choose who I look at every day. Preferably, from the point of view of neighbours, very few. I have the absolute luxury of sharing our backyard with no one, not overlooked, just lovely birds and animals. I have a busy social life but at my choice and in my time! No bitches in sight. 🙀🙀🙀

Joseann Mon 01-Apr-24 10:27:38

That's sad, and unpleasant for you. Why does it enter people's minds to upset others they live amongst, especially at this time of life? I would go out to look for fresh company elsewhere, but I wouldn't move unless it became unbearable.

pascal30 Mon 01-Apr-24 10:39:03

I would use the ..always smile, never gossip and stay as silent as possible approach for a long time whilst you observe who you can actually trust.. It will give you power and some amusement.

I wouldn't be pushed out of an appartment I like.. but make sure you have some activities you enjoy as well.

TerriBull Mon 01-Apr-24 10:46:35

You have my sympathy OP. I think it's possible that some people, as they age, undergo personality changes and their worst self emerges. My mother moved to a block of retirement flats in her 80s, and to all intents and purposes she was very happy there. I do remember her telling me about a couple that got together whilst they were living there. The male partner, according to my mother was friendly, outgoing and well liked by all but morphed into someone quite different from his original self. It seems that his new found love interest cranked up a side of his personality that was more akin to her own, miserable, prone to outbursts of anger at minor issues. My mother who had an abundance of common sense often said to me "not a good idea getting together with a new partner at that stage of of life" The female side of the relationship was 91 apparently to his late 80s, I mean just why would you at that age ???

I'd give it a bit more time leapyearnan, moving is such an upheaval but of course it's essential you're happy wherever you choose to live. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Streaky Mon 01-Apr-24 10:54:41

I moved into a retirement flat five years ago to be nearer family. I am very shy but I thought I’d make an effort, so I went along to a couple of the weekly coffee mornings, but I soon realised they were not for me, too much moaning and bitching, so I don’t go any more, and I expect my name is mud now. I love my little flat and I’m quite happy with my own company.

Delia22 Mon 01-Apr-24 10:55:56

LEAPYEARNAN, I think there are unkind even nasty people almost everywhere! Really people are people where ever you are. We are unfortunate to have particularly horrible neighbours. They have been quite unkind to us over several years.However this is more than balanced by the many kind people around.We have thought of moving but why should we? We like our house and the area. It's better to ignore the "not so nice" which we do. They also have absolutely no respect or consideration for anyone. The father and son keep extremely noisy cars which they "work"on regularly,sometimes late into the evening. Their garden is littered with old car parts etc.Everyone else take pride in their area and gardens. Sorry for the rant but I do sympathise with anyone who live around those we would rather avoid!

travelsafar Mon 01-Apr-24 11:01:25

Recently moving into a scheme myself I can relate to this.
If its several people passing unkind comments behind someone's back I will say we are suppose to be kind to each other. Any other gossip I shrug my shoulders and say nothing or I don't know.

flappergirl Mon 01-Apr-24 11:04:06

How long have you lived there leapyearnan? If it's early days and you are just settling in, then such comments will be magnified. If you are happy with your apartment and the facilities give it a bit longer. You will soon learn to sift the chaff from the wheat. Rather like settling into a new office job. Everything seems so strange and unfamiliar and the worst aspects are always accentuated. In my experience it's usually one or two unpleasant people and you may come to realise that other residents are well aware of them.

However, if after a suitable period of time you are finding the atmosphere truly toxic then I suggest you do move as this will obviously have a detrimental effect on your health.

annodomini Mon 01-Apr-24 11:05:57

I can relate to the OP's experience. I sometimes hear uncomplimentary comments by residents of this complex about other residents. It's inevitable in any community and, unfortunately, more so in one where people live in close contact and share some communal areas and facilities. It doesn't pay to be too thin-skinned - think back to your schooldays - human nature doesn't change between adolescence and retirement! I've been here in my flat for less than a year and already know which residents I should avoid and know many others with whom I can happily pass the time.
It would be no different in any other similar residential complex.

Glorianny Mon 01-Apr-24 11:23:52

My mum lived in sheltered housing for almost 20 years. She had two different places and both were the same. She refused to join in the bitching, went to things she enjoyed and stayed away from the in-fighting. She was quite outspoken. She hated swearing and started a swear box which she waved at offenders. The money went on biscuits for the coffee morning. I thought the other residents might find her a bit stand-offish. But when she died they were all devastated. I met a few a year after her death and they were still talking fondly about mum and her swear box.
The point of all this is to tell you to stay if you are happy there and politely but firmly refuse to join the bitching and steer your own path. I think if you are friendly as well, your independence will be appreciated and you will find you have a place there and can be happy. Good luck