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Old and in the Way

I am posting in regards to an issue I had several months ago with a lonely and overly friendly, elderly female neighbor who lives across the street from me.

My family and I relocated in 2013, and are still fairly new to the community in which we reside, and no one really made us feel as welcome as she did. In fact, the neighbor who lives directly beside us has been unreasonable with us and other residents, in many ways.

She began by waving and speaking to us in a friendly manner. We did the same, months to almost a full year before we actually met her. One day, my mother advised me to go to her house and extend her a token of our appreciation during Christmas of 2014. Mostly because the lady seemed to be so incredibly lonesome and we felt sorry for her.

She insisted on inviting me into her home and gave me a tour of each room, showed me family photos and other personal belongings. I did not think this was necessary or appropriate, since we did not know each other well enough for that. She even asked me to call her by her first name. It was in fact, kind of awkward.

She explained how her nephew is the only family member she has in town, while the majority of her immediate family are either dead or reside elsewhere, but they call her to make sure she’s okay. As far as I know, she never had children, otherwise, she would have shown pictures or mentioned them

We ended up exchanging phone numbers, and since she no longer drives, I told her to call me if her nephew was unavailable to transport her to the grocery store, etc. I also told her she would be welcome at my home. She told me the same thing, but I never went back to her house unannounced again. I figured she would use common sense and common courtesy and call first. I planned on doing the same going forward.

Soon, she began making it her duty to walk over to my home unannounced, uninvited and empty handed, almost every other weekend. Mostly on Sunday afternoons after she had been to church. The first time, she just walked over to say thank you for the gift. After that, each time, she claimed that she was just checking on me and my family to make sure we were okay. This was unnecessary and obviously not the case. Although we exchanged phone numbers, she never opted to call. I felt she was thinking of a way to get my attention. She was never thoughtful enough to bring, or even offer to bring us anything. Therefore, she was not interested in the welfare of me and my family. Her visits were for her own needs.

Once, I invited her into our home only because I felt obligated to do so. I ended up regretting it. The whole time, she seemed uncomfortable in my mother’s presence, and trying to get a conversation from her was like pulling teeth! She acted very strange and disinterested, seeming as if she was ready to leave. She looked down alot and would not really make eye contact. Totally different than her usual friendliness outdoors. My mother noticed her behaviour and decided it was best not to get too close with her. I agreed.

Still, she continued to come over unannounced and became overly friendly and clingy each time she saw me outdoors. To me, she became a creepy little old lady!

Each time I stepped outside my door to get in my car, sweep or do anything related to outdoor work, she would immediately come to her front door or come stand on her front porch and yell, “How are you doing”? I could tell she was staring outside her window, waiting to see when I came outside. Once, she even admitted that she watched and waited for me to come outside. I felt stalked. She seemed to develop a disturbingly inappropriate fixation on me, moreso than anyone else in my family, or in the neighborhood.

I would wave to her and speak as friendly as possible, then turn around to continue what I was doing, letting her know I wasn’t in the mood to socialize. Then, she would just stand on her porch and stare at me for a while, then say something else. After a while, she got into the habit of walking over and standing at the front of my house or driveway, trying to force me into a conversation I clearly did not want.

It’s like she was demanding that I stop what I was doing so I would accommodate her. She did this twice before I put an end to it.

The first time, I was outdoors sweeping. I waved and spoke friendly to her from a distance, keeping it short and sweet. She stood and stared at me for a coupke of minutes, then asked, “Getting your exercise”? ( Note: I’m 37 years old, sweeping is hardly exercise for someone my age. I workout by lifting weights and cardio.) I just responded, “Yes”, then I turned my back to her, hoping she would take the hint and stop talking to me. This obviously was not good enough for her.

My mother happened to be watching the entire incident, and witnessed her walking back into her house, coming back outside, locking her door holding a bottle of water in her hand, and happily walking my way. Then, she came and stood at the foot of my driveway, yelling, “Hello”! I tried to act as if I couldn’t hear her at first. Then, she yelled, “Hello” again. I turned around, and she said, “I just wanted to come over and holler at you”! I responded, “Okay, you have a nice day”, turned my back and continued with what I was doing. She had no choice except to walk away, looking and feeling silly.

The second time she did this, I was doing more than sweeping. I was actually doing real work. I became so annoyed with her, that I gave her the cold shoulder because she seemingly did not want to take the hint that I was not outdoors seeking a conversation with her or anyone else. Especially, when she could clearly see I was very busy.

I never said anything disrespectful to her, but my ways and actions spoke loudly about how annoyed and harassed I felt. She walked away again, more disappointed than before.

I did not want to hurt her feelings or be disrespectful due to her age. However, she made me very uncomfortable, and had become quite a nuisance. I allowed my anger to control me because I was at my wits end with this old woman

Although she usually goes out of her way to seek attention from everyone she spots outdoors, including the mail carrier and solicitors, I almost felt as if she had become fixated on me personally. I was not accustomed to this type of behavior from someone her age.

The elderly people I knew growing up, would acknowledge me and other young people in a friendly manner, but were not trying to become our BFF. They were wise enough to realize there was a huge age gap, so they focused on being close with others within their age group, and allowed us to do the same. Also, they never asked any of us to call them by their first name. It was always Mr. or Mrs.

I am a 37 year old single and heterosexual woman who has a family and other responsibilities. She is a 73 year old widow, retired and living alone. We have absolutely nothing in common except living on the same street and within the same community. My mother is 60 years old and is much closer to this woman’s age. Yet, she preferred me. Sorry, but I found that very odd. Seemed like she had an agenda. I could be wrong.

Since the last encounter, the first thing she stopped doing was coming over unannounced and uninvited. She kept her distance from me and my family and tried not to come outside when I was present. At times, my mother saw her sitting on her porch, staring directly at our house. Still she never came outside, or said anything to me when I was outdoors.

After all of this, I swore I had gotten rid of her. Then, one morning, I was outdoors working and out of the blue, I heard someone yell, “Good morning”! Although my back was turned, I knew it was her. Angered by the sound of her annoying voice, I was tempted to turn around and say something harsh and disrespectful, but I didn’t. I kept my composure and decided to ignore her completely. Again, she yelled, “Good morning”! I still did not respond.

She kept trying to get my attention in this manner for several more weeks, until she finally realized that I was not going to acknowledge her in any way, shape or form. This may not have been a nice thing to do, but I saw this method as the only way to rid myself of this woman once and for all! Luckily, she got the message and has not bothered me since then. It has been about 7 months since this occurred so, I’m confident that she knows I want nothing to do with her.

For that, I am grateful to God, because now I am free to work outside in peace and my sanity has been restored.

To get back at me, she began giving my brother the cold shoulder when he has tried to greet her. Once, she just gave him a blank stare when he gave her a friendly wave. Also, he told me she went out of her way to run and hide in her backyard when she saw him coming home. He has done nothing to offend her, and did not deserve this. This lets me know she is obviously not the friendly and sweet old lady she wants everyone to believe she is. Most likely, she has spoken negatively about me and family to other residents. Not that I give damn. I don’t know these people anyway. Even if I did, so what?

Ironically, now they (neighbors) seem to repel her for some reason, and she comes outdoors and goes to church alot less than she used to. As outgoing as her personality is, she has no close friends or family besides her nephew, that come to spend time with her regularly. There are a couple of people that come by to pick her up and take her shopping etc. when her nephew obviously can’t, but after they drop her off, they don’t stick around. To me, this speaks volumes about what others may find bothersome about her ways.

My main objective is to find out if anyone has ever experienced a situation similar to this one? If so, what was the outcome?

Boris Knot replies- What do you think readers? A well handled situation?

11 Responses to Old and in the Way

  • Donna says:

    No, I think the writer made many assumptions about her neighbor–a laundry list of assumptions, if you read it carefully, including the assumption that the exercise comment was an insult–and the writer is now the “rude neighbor.”

    • Antisocial says:

      It’s very easy for someone to make a comment like yours unless they’ve dealt with a situation similar to this one.

      This old woman became too friendly, overbearing and refused to take a hint.

      It’s not a good feeling to be sought after by someone you’re not interested in being close friends with.

  • C says:

    This lady is far from stalking or harassing you. She seems lonely …and maybe a little anti social. I am speechless after reading some of your insults towards her. Saying hello to you while you are sweeping makes you feel stalked?? Coming over with NO gifts wow!!! And I love how you have to throw your sexual orientation and God into your post…. I would much rather have her as my neighbor then a mean spirited person like yourself!!!

    • G says:

      You have some nerve saying that the writer is mean spirited!!!!!!

      Unless you have been through a similar situation, you have no clue what it’s like to deal with a neighbor who is a plain nuisance!!!!!!

      Just because this old woman is lonely, it’s not her neighbor’s responsibility to keep her entertained!!!!!

      You must be a little old, lonely and miserable person like that lady!!!!! Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so incredibly offended by what the writer conveyed about this old annoying woman!!!!!!!!

      I guess all MISFITS stick together!!!!!!!

    • Shanna says:

      That takes us up to the next level. Great pogints.

  • HC says:

    This old woman obviously overstepped her boundaries due to feeling lonely. Although the writer may not have handled the situation in a humane manner, the old lady’s socially awkward behavior is not normal and may have been enough to make her seem, “CREEPY”.

    I think DONNA and C are being way too judgemental toward the writer. This sounds like something the writer had never experienced before, and was taken by surprise because of the old woman’s clingy and needy behavior. who knows, the lady may have a slight case of Dementia.

    If you actually take the time to read carefully, the writer was simply trying to be neighborly and friendly to a lonely old woman she felt sorry for, not actually become this woman’s friend. There’s a huge difference!

    Also, the writer did say that she was asking whether or not anyone had ever experienced this type of situation and what the outcome was. She isn’t asking for anyone’s advice!

    Please read posts carefully before commenting with such rudeness, and try to put yourself in the writer’s shoes. If a situation is new, you never know how you will react.

    The old lady may not seem to be a “Rude Neighbor” to most people, however, she did overstep her boundaries and readily assumed that the writer wanted to be close friends with her. The lady saw what she wanted to see.


  • Echo1 says:

    I think the writer may have unknowingly placed herself in a situation that she was not equipped to handle. I also think the neighbor was so lonesome, she became overjoyed by the kindness being shown to her by the writer.

    The writer should have kept things simple by just simply waving and saying, “Hello” to the little old lady. Nothing extra. This way, the woman wouldn’t have expected anything more.

    It sounds like two people crossed paths with totally different ideas about friendliness.

    Kind of amusing if you think about it. Could be a script for a new television series.

  • NJ says:

    It took her a year to talk to you and when she did, she invited you into her home and showed you pictures of her FAMILY and friends, most as you state have passed away. How many family and friends will you have when you’re 73?
    She asks you to call her by her first name, walks over to thank you for your gift and chat. She asks you how you are doing, all she wanted to do was talk to you. And all you do is complain about her and turn away. How dare she inconvenience you for 20 minutes!
    She says hello to you, you turn your back and continue what you’re doing. “She had no choice except to walk away looking and feeling silly after being ignored.” Did that make you feel good about yourself? That’s not something I would ever be proud of!
    She waved at you and asked…”How are you doing?” and you wanted to say something harsh and disrespectful but decided to be the friendly neighbor and just ignore her. You need to look up the word respectful because you clearly don’t know what that entails.
    You invited her in, “Only because I felt obligated to do so,” and she seemed uncomfortable and acted disinterested! I’m guessing anyone would feel that way in your home! I’m quite sure she picked-up the vibe that she was unwelcome! She wouldn’t be friendly to your brother! I wouldn’t wave or be friendly to you or anyone else even going near your house after your behaviour, she probably thought if she waved back, you’d burn her house down! Your double standards are nauseating.
    I hope that when you are 73 years old, all your friends and family are gone and you are all alone and someone treats you as cruelly as you’ve been to her! You mock her for not having any friends or family. You don’t know her story or what happened in her life, but you judge her anyway! It’s people like you who give the human race a bad name. If I were your mother, I’d be deeply ashamed. Because she’s 73 and you’re 37 you say you have nothing in common, I couldn’t agree more. You clearly don’t have the intellect to relate with anyone, no matter their age. Maybe she could do what your mother failed at and teach you some manners!
    All she tired to do was be friendly to you and maybe she did try too hard because she’s lonely, that doesn’t make her a bad person. And you’re delusional if you think she was trying to be your BFF. I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror, if I were you, when she passes away! You’re single…GET USED TO IT!
    I believe in this thing called karma, I’ve seen it work its magic far too many times, and after this…IT’S COMING STRAIGHT FOR YOU!
    You are heartless, cold and void of any humanity at all! AND IT’S YOU THAT’S IN THE WAY!

  • Hates hypocrites says:

    What cracks me up is the writer gets mad when the neighbor avoids her brother- yet this hyprocrite does the same thing to the neighbor. Maybe now you know how she feels.

    She probably realizes you don’t like her, so why should she be cordial withyour brother.

  • Lacie says:

    The lady is old and alone. She didn’t fixate on you she saw you were willing to show her attention and she’s alone …the elderly bereft of familial attention will wither away from starvation of affection. You were within your rights to set boundaries but you could have handled it so much better.

  • Gigi says:

    Lacie, that is a fair statement. At least you were not as harsh as others.

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