I just moved and my new neighbor seems to “pop out” every time I’m in my backyard in the garden. She’s nice, but now I’m hesitant to go into the garden as she startles me (she all of a sudden will pop up over the fence) and starts talking and talking and asks so many questions.
I understand she’s curious as we are new in the neighborhood. I’d like to spend time, even if for only a few minutes just to enjoy the garden, sun, etc., without interruption. Also, I cannot just physically stand still for more than a few minutes without the need to sit down or kneel down (which I’ve mentioned to her), but she seems to want all my attention, and seems she has no regard for my time or comfort.
I feel like I’m being selfish or rude if I don’t give her all my time. She must be waiting right by her back door, because the second I step outside, BAM
there she is!
I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks so much for sharing your time, wisdom and valuable experience in life!
Dear Talked Out,
You have to set boundaries with your neighbor, otherwise she’ll walk all over you. This is an important time to show her where you stand.
Be polite, but assertive. Tell her that you would love to catch up, but that you only have a few minutes to get to your gardening. Wish her a good day and tell her you will see her again. Eventually, if you keep doing this, she will get the picture–and if she does not, that is not something you should feel badly about.
Perhaps it will help to bring your music out in the garden with you. She is unlikely to keep talking if you are wearing headphones and not responding (and if you’d rather listen to the birds singing, she doesn’t have to know your music is not playing).
Remember that this is your time. She does not have a right to take it from you, and you are correct to treat it as the precious commodity that it is.
Good luck to you.