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Dealing with Bullying Nosy Neighbours

Nosy interfering, bullying nosy neighbours can make our lives miserable.

Many of us have been subjected to nosy neighbours. Criticising our home, our life, our beliefs or even our diets.

Are they bullies or are they just miserable individuals that are unhappy in their own lives? Jealous of your life, health, social standing?

How do we handle the situation? How do we just ignore, if the comments are really getting to us?

As a young mother I was harassed and stressed out by one particular neighbour who seemed to have me under attack daily. She made my life and my home dismal.

Her home and garden was joined to mine and every time I set foot outside of my back door I was repeatedly plagued with negativity on her part.  She would make stupid, hurtful comments about the lateness that I would hang out the washing on the line. Or about the fact we were having a Chinese meal for Sunday lunch instead of the traditional Sunday roast. I know now that these things are trivial and that it was none of her business but I was brought up to respect my elders and I took everyone of her venomous words and kept them in my head. I still feel a slight panic if I haven’t got my washing on the line by eight in the morning even now.

Although she was a bully… yes, I would definitely class her as a bully but she was also extremely unhappy. She had one married son who also had a son but she had driven them away. They hardly ever came to visit but on the rare occasion they did it would end up with her arguing with the sons wife. I don’t know why this older woman had a problem with other women but it seemed she did. She talked about women on the street behind their backs and never had a good word to say about anyone.

She did have a husband, a meek, mild man who had obviously learnt to keep his mouth shut when it came to opinions.

After quite a few years of this slaughter from her and me bowing and apologising for being such a troublesome individual, I found out she had developed skin cancer. When she came out of hospital after surgery I went around to her home with gifts and flowers. She was weak, we talked, and I took control of the relationship and made it a better one. From then on she never bullied me again, I am not sure if she had come to her senses. I had always been polite and courteous, never rude or telling her where she could stick her comments, I rode the waves of the relationship and it worked out. So I guess empathising with someone who is giving you trouble will eventually work in both your favours.  

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  1. Christine Ramsay

    On February 23, 2011 at 4:25 am


    I am glad you were able to overcome the situation. Inconsiderate neighbours can make life so miserable. An inspiring piece.

  2. tanny15

    On February 23, 2011 at 4:25 am


    Great post and tips. Thanx

  3. bhaswati

    On February 23, 2011 at 4:31 am


    This is something that we all face in some phase of our lives. It might be a nosy neighbour, a pestering colleague or a friend who doesn’t know the boundaries of friendship. Sometimes it is better to firmly take the matter into your hands like you did. Well written piece.

  4. alvinwriter

    On February 23, 2011 at 4:34 am


    This is a very good story we can all learn from. Thank you.

  5. gaby7

    On February 23, 2011 at 4:45 am


    I keep nosy neighbors at bay! My relationship with them is courteous but very superficial!

  6. CHIPMUNK

    On February 23, 2011 at 4:46 am


    great work on this one too, glad you could write about it

  7. Jay Banzon

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:01 am


    nice share

  8. dloriginal

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:11 am


    It is very hard to take hurtful remarks every day, but, you made it through to a good place. Good for you. Great work on this article and problem.

  9. dloriginal

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:12 am


    It is very hard to take hurtful remarks every day, but you made it through to a good place. Good for you. Great work on this article and problem.

  10. dloriginal

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:14 am


    It is very hard to take hurtful remarks every day. Good for you. Great work on this article and problem.

  11. dloriginal

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:16 am


    We can all learn by this article. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  12. Emancipation

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:16 am


    I’ve experienced this with neighbours in the past. Glad you overcame this, Lilly and got through. Great work.

  13. anndavey650

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:17 am


    Now that’s something to be proud of. I’m not sure I’d have been as benevolent. I’d have also thrown some sarcasm over the back fence too… but you’re right… bullies are horrible… but they are people with problems. Shouting and name calling won’t make it any better and if you can turn the situation around, as you did, you are an inspiration to others. Memo to Ann… must try harder to be nicer…

  14. Emancipation

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:18 am


    I\\\’ve experienced this with neighbours in the past. Glad you overcame this, Lilly and got through. Great work.

  15. anndavey650

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:22 am


    Now that\’s something to be proud of. I\’m not sure I\’d have been as benevolent. I\’d have also thrown some sarcasm over the back fence too… but you\’re right… bullies are horrible… but they are people with problems. Shouting and name calling won\’t make it any better and if you can turn the situation around, as you did, you are an inspiration to others. Memo to Ann… must try harder to be nicer…

  16. anndavey650

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:23 am


    Now that\\\’s something to be proud of. I\\\’m not sure I\\\’d have been as benevolent. I\\\’d have also thrown some sarcasm over the back fence too… but you\\\’re right… bullies are horrible… but they are people with problems. Shouting and name calling won\\\’t make it any better and if you can turn the situation around, as you did, you are an inspiration to others. Memo to Ann… must try harder to be nicer…

  17. Francois Hagnere

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:50 am


    You gave us a lesson of life. You have been brave, Lilly, and overcame the situation with your kindness. Nosy neighbours can make our life so miserable. I’m glad everything went back to normal. Sometimes terrible events, like illness can make people closer. A great write, sister. Cheer up, Lilly!

  18. SharifaMcFarlane

    On February 23, 2011 at 5:59 am


    Some people get ill and still don’t change. Maybe she felt ashamed.
    I think we all have to handle the situation in the way we think is best. Some people have no regard for others.

  19. Sourav

    On February 23, 2011 at 6:05 am


    It’s a good way to handle the situation. I liked how you took control and made it a better relationship with the human touch. Very well written article.

  20. Marie Milton

    On February 23, 2011 at 6:36 am


    My dear, Lisa :) this was such a heartfelt piece. It was nice to hear that the two of you became friends, but it is a shame, on the woman’s part, that it took her to get ill just to make it happen.
    I am happy for her that you took her under your wing regardless of how she had treated you throughout the years :)

    I have heard and read many times that cancer in the body, before it is found, can make a person irritable, bullying and, in a way, a nasty person. It’s a shame really.

    Good on you, Lisa :) Well done!

  21. Larry Fish

    On February 23, 2011 at 7:58 am


    Nice story, for your sake I’m glad it turned out well.

  22. Atanacio

    On February 23, 2011 at 8:45 am


    I dunno Lilyrose, but I’ve been living in this same house for over 10 years and there are only four houses on my street and I’ve never met any of my neighbors– give me one Nosey neighbor–ONE! LOL

  23. Wizard Brown

    On February 23, 2011 at 9:16 am


    Fascinating story. Perhaps she was bullying you to make herself feel better about her own life. It was nice that you didn’t hold that against her when she took ill.

  24. lillyrose

    On February 23, 2011 at 9:25 am


    Thank you for all the lovely comments. This happened over eleven years ago. We moved away from there and I haven’t seen her since, she may even be dead but I still often think of her and the way she treated me and the life lesson she taught me too.

    No matter how bad someone treats you look for a reason before you act.

  25. Jimmy Shilaho

    On February 23, 2011 at 9:39 am


    Such neighbors are very disgusting.

  26. wonder

    On February 23, 2011 at 10:19 am


    It takes a strong handling to be patient to such things.Yours worked out well in the end at least you won’t be guilty for her misfortune.Anybody else would have blurted out.

  27. Starpisces

    On February 23, 2011 at 11:35 am


    sometimes neighbours can be so irritating that I feel like staying in bungalows instead…lol..
    Yah, they can be so irritating, but at times we need them to be around. Sometimes I hope to change another batch of neighbours by shifting house.
    Feel sorry for her illness,by the way.

  28. LoveDoctor

    On February 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm


    That was very nice of you to do especially after the way she treated you. That just comes to show that you are the better person and have more class than she does. I can relate to this article so much because in my neighborhood there are a lot of nosy neighbors. They’ve been our neighbors since I was a child. Well, anytime I am outside the lady next door decides to step outside too. She is either picking up the mail or watering the plants. Then, she starts asking all types of questions. If my dad goes outside, same thing she will start bragging about how much fun she had in Europe and how her daughter just bought a mansion in an expensive area in Miami. Who cares! So pretty much anytime I go outside I just look at my window just to make sure that she is not there. Then again, she might arrive in her brand new merceded benz as I am leaving.

  29. Will Dee

    On February 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm


    Wonderful story and the way you handle the situation

  30. Mark Gordon Brown

    On February 23, 2011 at 8:36 pm


    my immeadiate nighbours are great people has not always been that way and others down the road are not so goo byut I am grateful for my across the road nighbours hope this helps people who aren\\\’t so lucky

  31. oldster

    On February 24, 2011 at 6:01 pm


    Well I hope the ex-lax chocs and cat’s pee flowers did the trick Lilly – ‘ Revenge is best served cold! ‘ hehe.
    Good lesson in life there girl – now about the neighbour the other side who you bullied continuously ;-)

  32. tiffi

    On February 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm


    Luckily I live in a place full of nice neighbors ;) Great share!

  33. Steve Weitzner

    On February 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm


    Good topic to write about.

  34. STEVE666

    On February 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm


    I have great neighbours. Unfortunately for THEM, they have ME!

  35. happydoodlegirl

    On March 16, 2011 at 3:48 am


    A very good discussion…thnks!

  36. Phoenix Montoya

    On March 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm


    You know Lisa? When people are rude, I used to think that they hate me, but getting matured I realized that it was never me, its really them because they have problems. My father when he was living, he was scary. He always shouts and sees the bad side in me. When I was in college, he was always visiting me and there was always silence. Ignoring my fear for him, I started offering him breakfast and lunch until we got close. Then I understood him, what he really is- that he is always scared and worried about us.

    I guess, this goes with people, irritating neighbors, terrible people- they should be given a chance like what you did. Thank you for the read, reminded me of something :)

  37. lolontka

    On March 23, 2011 at 8:11 am


    You handled this situation very well. I think this neighbour learned an important life lesson from you. Well done.

  38. gvgatchalian

    On March 29, 2011 at 11:39 am


    Being nice usually pays off. I admire your patience. This is inspiring and a very nice read!

  39. LoveDoctor

    On July 7, 2011 at 12:14 am


    I think you handled the situation with class, however, I do believe that bullies should be confronted once. If the behavior does continue after confronting them, then you just ignore it or take action. You know the cliche: misery loves company. I just realized that I had posted a comment on this one.

  40. Cassle Tang

    On July 10, 2011 at 12:46 am


    You are so kind and lovely person, if I were you, maybe I might shout back to her from the first time. But you managed to pass through it and finally achieve a better relationship with her. Great job!

  41. asd668768

    On July 28, 2011 at 2:43 am


  42. Vinaya says good bye

    On March 7, 2012 at 9:46 am


    You have handled the situation nicely. But I usually do not connect with insolent people and do not have to worry about getting away from noisy people.

  43. Sharmila S. Meena

    On March 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm


    Are my neighbors nosy? How do I find out? Whenever I get parcels for which the payment option is Cash on Delivery, my neighbors (returned from Dubai to Mumbai) come out and ask the courier person where they are from, how they can order the same stuff, etc. Once they event went to the extent of calling the courier person inside their house after I had shut the door and asked for my order history and that even they would like to order stuff for themselves. I found out they did this, when I was going toward the tower elevator and saw and heard them talking about my orders to the courier person and was extremely shocked. This is clearly an invasion of my privacy for me, even if my mother does not agree, saying that they are only asking for themselves. Furthermore, they once wanted to “see” the dryer supplied by our tower office, whereas the same item is supplied to all the flats in our towers. I did not allow her to step inside my house for 2 valid reasons: Firstly, I do not want people snooping around my house. Secondly, if the manufacturer of the dryer has given us a defective piece, then he will not dispute with us, stating that we opened the package and that he will not replace it. My neighbor then asked me whether she can “measure” our door video phone. They are also going to get the exact same piece. Then why “measure” ours? I do not understand what the deal is with my neighbors. She gets angry and the next day on, we get letters in my name, but with our flat number canceled and theirs written on my letters till I wrote an online review. My neighbors never even invited us for their housewarming party, but they sure know where to go for “help” or “information” when they need them – to our door. What kind of neighbors are these? Are they dangerous? One night, I was about to sleep. There was a lot of noise outside our house. I switched on the door camera to see who is there at 11:00 p.m. – an unearthly hour. Our neighbor, who is dressed like a terrorist in white cloth, covering her face comes out and peeps into our video camera. It was ridiculous. We do not know what the deal with these people really is. Then yesterday, another neighbor asks us about why the head of my family is not staying here for very long, to which my father replied that he has to take care of his sick sister and is staying away for sometime. How did they come to know that the head of the family is not around? Do they keep spying on us all the time? We do not even know what our neighbors are like, what their lifestyle is, etc. We do not even bother to find out, because we are not nosy and we do not like nosy people. How did this happen then? Questions cloaked as concerns – one of the signs mentioned in articles that give signs of how to detect a nosy neighbor that is spying on us. How do we solve this problem? Do we approach the police? Why do I get the feeling that I am being watched over all the time? Furthermore, my father told me yesterday when I asked him who had come inquiring about why he is not around. My dad says it’s not nice to ask that and that we have to be “sociable.” I mean what are the limits to being sociable? Isn’t this question from my other neighbor invasive? I do not understand how to tackle this and am at my wits ends. Trust me, I am. Not only are my neighbors nosy, but difficult to handle. They know I do not like their snooping on me, but they continue to ignore me and do it like I am crazy or something. Even my parents defend my neighbors saying we have to be sociable or we cannot live here and stuff like that. It just drives me nuts. I need solutions. I am just tired.

  44. Sharmila S. Meena

    On May 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm


    My neighbors have taken nosy to a new level – the nosy with an i – Noisy. Since the past three weeks, my neighbors have been bringing guests to their place. I don’t object to that, but what I really object to is their invasion of public space by having extremely noisy guests that do not seem to mind screaming and shouting right outside our door in such a way at 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. in the morning, such that we are disturbed. They are causing public nuisance and they are behaving unethically and immorally. Another example of them being a major nuisance to us is that their door is hitting ours (the towers where we live have small lobbies) and they have done nothing about it. We asked them to fit their door entrance in such a way that it opens the other way around without hitting our door, but it seems they don’t want to do that. We have even given written complaints, but it seems they are determined to break our door. Moreover, they have fitted their door video camera in such a way that it faces our house, so that they could conveniently spy on us. We even approached the police, but nothing has been done about it. Moreover, our neighbors bring in loud guests in the middle of the night and they stand right outside the open door of our neighbors and make such noise to show they are excited while talking. It is actually a legal violation – there should be no disturbance to anyone after 10 p.m. here in Mumbai. Furthermore, my neighbors have fitted a huge Ganesha idol with lighting for the same to show that they are affluent; whereas they have done so on a public wall (on the exterior of their house). Hey! We have paid for our house, but we have not violated the use of public property. The only place, where we have stuck an extremely small Ganesha is just above our door headway. My neighbors are however so competitive, they have fitted a huge Ganesha idol on a stand. I really hate my neighbors and would keep complaining to the police unless and until they stop misbehaving with us. They are just crossing their limits with us.

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