How do I get my needy neighbour to stop calling and texting every day? Ask Ellie
Q: I moved into a new apartment four months ago and was lonely, as the building is in a different neighbourhood from my last home.
I was happy to meet a very friendly couple as they were moving into their new apartment directly across the hall from me. The husband had a ready smile and was already handily fixing things.
The woman’s outgoing, loves to take walks and chat, as do I. Days later, she knocked on my door and offered an extra ticket for a concert because her friend who was supposed to attend felt ill.
My neighbour then suggested we get something to eat together before the event. I thought it was great to have new neighbours so sociable, close by.
But that proximity has become a problem. I work from home and so does my neighbour’s husband. The wife has a part-time job in the mornings but is free at all other times.
She’s looking for something to do and someone to do it with much of the time!
She can’t have a huge workload in the mornings, because she’s calling/texting me before noon and knocks on my door if I don’t respond right away.
Though I love walking and chatting, it’s becoming way too much togetherness for me!
But I don’t want to insult her because she doesn’t mean any harm, and as a couple they’re basically good people close at hand when I otherwise knew nobody in this building or neighbourhood.
I do have other friends in the old neighbourhood, but this woman’s taking up all my free time.
I can’t handle so much contact with just one person. What should I do? How can I avoid someone directly across the hall?
A: Call her before she calls you. Tell her you’re seriously behind in your work and have to focus on it or risk your job. Then wish her a good week.
If she calls back in the next day or two, just say you’re deep in the work and have to focus … you’ll call when you’re free.
And do so. They’re seemingly nice people and included you in a concert after only one meeting. Though she’s overly eager, she must be reasonable company when walking together.
Also, it’s good to have people close by who’d quickly respond if you needed help. Yes, she’s overly needy but perhaps, unlike you, she doesn’t have other friends.
Meanwhile, periodically invite some former friends/neighbours to visit and go out with them to send a gentle signal.
Q: My best friend, who’s 28 and desperate to get married, says every date is The Guy. But her current boyfriend is so obviously not.
I joined them for a patio dinner and he kept looking at other women and making comments: about a woman’s “great sweater” (for the obvious reason) and said “love your outfit” to another woman in spiky heels and thigh-high skirt.