• Handling Breakups

How To End A Friendship With A Neighbor

Published: January 3, 2022 | Last Updated: January 3, 2022 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading

​​A woman doesn’t know how to end a friendship with a neighbor she can’t stand and worries about the anger likely to ensue.  

QUESTION

Hi,

About eight months ago I moved into an apartment after years of living in a house. After a couple of months, I became friends with a neighbor across the street (same complex) against my better judgment. 

She complains about everyone and doesn’t talk to her family anymore…she’s literally mad at everyone and I hate being around her. I can’t escape her because she sees me all the time. 

I am actually a little afraid of her and want to end the friendship but I am worried about how she will react. And, moving isn’t an option since I have a lease. I spent months debating the move to the apartment for this very reason but needed to downsize because of financial reasons. 

I know it’s been a short friendship but I honestly don’t know how to handle her. BTW, we are both 60 so this seems silly but any advice would help. Or perhaps one of your blogs, etc.? Getting exhausted making up reasons to avoid her. Thanks!

Signed, Teri

ANSWER

Hi Teri,

Your question isn’t silly at all. It is one that comes up often among women of all ages.

It is far easier to end a friendship with someone in another city than it is to end a friendship with a neighbor who lives across the street. You’re likely to see this person all the time or run into her around the neighborhood. In addition, because you live in the same development, you may have common friends/acquaintances.

For both reasons, you do want to be cautious and make it as comfortable as you can for both of you.

  • I don’t think there is any reason to tell her outright that you want to end the friendship, especially if you see her as an angry, volatile person whom you are afraid of and who is likely to badmouth you. 
  • This woman sounds like someone who has difficulty taking No for an answer since you’ve made up a number of excuses already. So you do want to be firm in conveying your decision to not spend time together. You also should take ownership of the decision rather than blame her.
  • You could tell her that you are a loner type and want more time for yourself. Or, this is one time that you might be able to use the pandemic to your benefit. Would you feel comfortable telling her that because of COVID, you are limiting your socializing for the time being? The “white lie” would probably hold for quite some time and your neighbor wouldn’t be likely to take it personally.
  • If you do see her outside, act cordially. Greet her and say hello without making any further conversation. 
  • Try to set aside any guilt about putting distance between you. My hunch is that this woman will, or already has, “glomped” onto someone else. Friendships are voluntary relationships that have to be rewarding for both people. Although it can be uncomfortable, you are entitled to end a friendship.

Don’t beat yourself up for your mistake. It’s a natural instinct to befriend a neighbor: You already have something in common with that person (living close by) and the relationship might have been both convenient and mutually supportive. However, one lesson from your experience might be to give yourself more time to see if someone is friend-worthy before you “commit,” especially a neighbor.

This is a tough quandary with no perfect solution.

My best,

Irene


Previously on The Friendship Blog:

Getting Over A Friendship With A Next-Door Neighbor

Getting Over A Friendship With A Next-Door Neighbor

READ MORE


 

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Category: HANDLING BREAKUPS, How to break up

Comments (4)

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  1. Tanita says:

    It’s so hard to avoid the aggressive person who demands friendship from you. One of the best things I ever learned is that you are not obligated to be anyone’s friend. You can be civil but distant. When she starts talking to you cut her off with “I’d love to talk but I’m very busy today” and look at your watch. Don’t worry about being polite, just start walking off when she starts blabbering. If she is not sensitive to your discomfort with her negativity you do not need to be sensitive to her needs. She probably has very little insight into her behavior.

  2. Lynn Yoder says:

    Hello there, both Terri and Jennie,

    I am experiencing a dope at my local gym who just won’t leave me alone. He is poorly mannered and gets angry when i don’t give him a big hello and come over to talk with him. I tried to get to know him long ago when we both went to a former gym in town which went out of business. Now we both go to another gym, but he seems to think that I am being rude or unkind for not treating him like an old friend. I can’t stand talking to him and won’t do. Also I can’t even stand when he waves at me and if he continues to bother me I will tell the manager that he is bothering me. He acts like he’s a child and even has complained to other men that I’m not friendly with him!! I’m now going to ignore him in every way.

    So annoying.

  3. Jennie B. says:

    This post hit home, as I had a similar issue with a new neighbor too. In fact, she sounds a lot like the annoying neighbor discussed in this post. At first she seemed nice too — but once I got to know my new neighbor, I discovered that she’s constantly complaining or gossiping, and is not the sort of person I want to hang out with. I should point out that the real problem, for me, is that my new neighbor is also into “conspiracy theories” and claims the coronavirus is “fake news.” She refuses to get the Covid vaccine and totally ignores social distancing and mask wearing.

    Ours is a friendly neighborhood, and unfortunately, just before the pandemic started, another neighbor invited this woman to join our weekly coffee group, which made it hard to avoid her. Luckily, the coffee group doesn’t get together now that it’s winter and the omicron variant makes indoor meetings risky. Regardless of that, the new neighbor has all our phone numbers. She’s very lonely, so she spends way too much time on her phone. Last year, she often called me to chat, or gossip, or complain about something. It was so tiresome, I could no longer find the energy to answer her calls, so I started ignoring her calls.

    She tried to come to my house and visit, but since she’s not vaccinated, I told her honestly that I was not allowing unvaccinated people into my home since I often visit elderly friends and relatives, and can’t afford to be careless about virus exposure. This neighbor was persistent but I didn’t give in and she finally backed off. I’m truly relieved to say I don’t hear from her now, and she has, as Dr. Irene noted in her response, attached herself to other women in the neighborhood who can tolerate her.

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