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Reflections: Handling A Nasty Neighbor…

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“The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves. The self-respecting individual will try to be as tolerant of his neighbor’s shortcomings as he is of his own.” Eric Hoffer

Reflections: Handling A Nasty Neighbor... sometimes takes a surprising turn...

When I was in Graduate school, I lived in a community of students from around the world. Our huge dorm in the middle of Harlem was a great place to hang out and have both intellectually stimulating conversations and fun chats about everything under the sun.   When I first moved into my dorm, I lived in a suite and had my own room. It was a fairly large suite and the best part was that we kept different schedules; so everyone found alone time during the day. All went well the first year… We were civil neighbors.

“The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say to him, “What are you going through?” Simone Weil

Reflections: Handling A Nasty Neighbor... they come in all forms... WI Person by Paul Klee

The following year, I had the option to move into a single on another floor and I loved the idea.  A few of my friends were on the new floor and I loved the idea of connecting with a larger group of students in a single room arrangement. We had a huge common kitchen/sitting area and we would throw occasional potluck parties and  invite friends from the area, other students around us,  and other people in our dorms. Things were going well until a new student moved in next door to me…. To protect the innocent, I will leave her personal details out… But things turned nasty. More below 😉

“Love thy neighbor as thyself: Do not to others what thou wouldn’t not wish be done to thyself: Forgive injuries. Forgive thy enemy, be reconciled to him, give him assistance, invoke God in his behalf.” Confucius

Reflections: Handling A Nasty Neighbor... A typical dorm room.

One day, when I got back to my room from a class, I found nasty things at my front door; garbage, food bits and what looked like spit.  I called my friends to come see and then proceeded to file a report. Everyone was shocked.  It was a diverse community and we had had no problems. Someone asked about the new girl, and I said she was quiet and seemed alright. I had said hello a few times and while she wasn’t warm, she didn’t seem hostile. She also lived in her dorm room with a boyfriend/hubby. He was American, she wasn’t.

“Do I advise you to love the neighbor? I suggest rather to escape from the neighbor and to love those who are the farthest away from you. Higher than the love for the neighbor is the love for the man who is distant and has still to come.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Reflections: Handling A Nasty Neighbor... Nasty neighbors are to be handled firmly...

As  time went by, the droppings and spit grew. It was quite disgusting and even a notice to my floor from the  residence halls  office yielded no clues. One night, I was lying in my room quietly with the lights off. I came back early because I felt I could catch the culprit if they thought I wasn’t around. Sure enough, the culprit came to my door, paused, hacked up a big whack of stuff, kicked some crap at my door, muttered some incomprehensible curse at my head and, at that moment, I dashed for the door,  pulled it open, and there was my neighbor — the new girl. She was so shocked to see me  that she screamed, running to her room. I yelled out to everyone and a few people gathered. Her boyfriend came out of the room and we told him what she had been doing. He was flabbergasted and full of apologies. “She’s pregnant and having a hard time adjusting to the USA, ” he said. Okay but…

He was embarrassed and so was she. However, she refused to come out of her room or to apologize. Everyone was baffled at the behavior. The next day, I let the school know and within 48 hours she had moved out of the dorm. I felt sorry for her and her hubby but I am convinced that she learned a simple lesson. Nasty neighbors don’t last… they get caught.   What are your thoughts? Have you ever had a nasty neighbor? How would you handle an unpleasant neighbor? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop: Describe a situation that forced you to confront a neighbor.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Neighborhood, Person by Paul Klee, Dormroom, via Wikipedia. Nasty by TaxiCabs via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

35 Comments leave one →
  1. 30/08/2011 12:39 am

    Kudos to you for having the courage to face this “nasty neighbor”…yes, we have had one or two…but fortunately, most over the years have been lovely. It can make life a living hell, that’s for sure, when we need to live in proximity to sad, mad, bitter people. There is such a thing as karma, however, and they will get their just desserts…and I don’t mean an ice-cream sundae. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this great story, Eliz!

    • 30/08/2011 12:46 am

      Hi Viv,
      The story came back to me when I read the prompt from Mamakat’s. This is why I do love the various WP, Plinky and other prompts we get because they help shake free those funny, old stories… I was too shocked to be mad at her. When I informed the school, it was simply to let them know the situation had been resolved. The hubby was sincere and contrite and i accepted his apology. I think she was going through some terrible mind stuff and needed help. I think they moved out of embarrassment… I sometimes wonder what became of her too. Karma works. TY! 🙂

  2. 30/08/2011 2:56 am

    Hi Eliz

    I think you’re right. Sounds like she was under strain. All behaviour happens for a reason.

    A saying that I remind myself of frequently…

    “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” (anonymous)

    • 30/08/2011 6:48 am

      Exactly, and that was what I felt about her mental state. She was alone with a foreign husband, out of her element, probably her family in her native country didn’t approve, and it was a hot mess. I was someone odd to her… She’d not been around anyone like me and she lost it a little… It was all so sad. 🙁 TY for your feedback…

      • 30/08/2011 7:27 am

        I hope she got the treatment and support she clearly needed, and all went well with the bub.

      • 30/08/2011 7:44 am

        I wonder too … and hope she did eventually. TY 🙂

  3. 30/08/2011 3:10 am

    What strange behaviour; certainly not normal. I’m glad it didn’t get any worse for you.

    • 30/08/2011 6:51 am

      No, there was nowhere else to go from there for her. Once caught, she had to change and instead they moved out… It was a great dorm and we were from every country; everyone worked hard to get along… The whole thing was an anomaly… TY! 🙂

  4. 30/08/2011 3:10 am

    “Do I advise you to love the neighbor? I suggest rather to escape from the neighbor and to love your blogger contacts!” Frizz & Nietzsche

    • 30/08/2011 6:52 am

      LOL Frizztext! Yes, I loved that line too and added it for the realness of Nietzsche and how he likes to cut to the chase…. I moved on and so did she… It’s still a great story. 😆

  5. 30/08/2011 3:57 am

    You did exactly the right thing.
    But what puzzles me is why when she was discovered did she never tell you why she was doing it! There had to be some reason, it is not the way that people would normally act.
    Maybe she was so depressed and it was coming out like that.. In a way I feel sorry for her but without her co-operation there was no way that you could l have made matters any different….

    • 30/08/2011 6:59 am

      Oh, she was hugely embarrassed and because what she was doing was so low and dirty, in an educational environment, she couldn’t face me… Plus, as I was discussing above with Hakea, she probably was under some mental health strains, and the cultural adjustment to the USA, away from her family on the other side of the planet, might have been too much.
      She was a doctoral student in the sciences and she was pregnant and living with a hubby in a single dorm room. I added a sample picture above of a typical room. They are comfortable but not for 2 people with a 3rd on the way… I felt sorry for her too… She was a nasty neighbor but I felt compassion for her situation. TY for your insights. 🙂

  6. 30/08/2011 8:20 am

    It’s sad that she picked you as the object of with her frustration. She was definitely not contrite — she never apologized even after she got caught red handed. That’s what gets me. Pregnant or not, foreign country or not, new boyfriend or not, that’s not how ‘normal’ people behave. She was just evil and mean. I’d bet my bottom dollar that they’re no longer together.
    You took the right steps.

    • 01/09/2011 8:57 pm

      Yes, it was sad that she never apologized but i think she had mental health issues… and you know, she moved on and so did I. TY! 🙂

  7. 30/08/2011 10:39 am

    It sounds like mental illness to me. It’s not rational to develop an intense hatred for a virtual stranger, or to build one out of nothing. Very sad.

    • 01/09/2011 9:01 pm

      Yes, you are correct and the behavior was so bizarre that it begged questioning her stability. She mad a lot of effort to leave that crap at my door… truly weird. TY! 🙂

  8. 30/08/2011 10:48 am

    Weird story. I’ve never heard anything like this and I’m glad it hasn’t happened to me. Do you have any idea as to why she did this?

    • 01/09/2011 9:02 pm

      I have no idea other than she was not very well … TY! 🙂

  9. 30/08/2011 1:54 pm

    How bizarre. Her embarrassment demonstrates that she knew what she was doing was “wrong,” and yet she still did it Odd.

    Silly rabbit.

    • 01/09/2011 9:03 pm

      Yes, quite the silly rabbit girl…and you know, I had to feel sorry for her over it. You just can’t fathom this behavior without feeling sad for the other human involved. TY! 😆

  10. 30/08/2011 4:07 pm

    Oh, I have had some nasty neighbors!
    blessings, and great post, as always

    • 01/09/2011 9:05 pm

      TY Jane and I’m glad you’re back on track. I have had my share of the usual nasty ones but this was unique in the nature of her behavior and that’s why I shared it… I’m glad I remembered the story because ti happened years ago. TY! 🙂

  11. 30/08/2011 9:43 pm

    Great story. You wonder what goes through people’s heads to do that sort of thing. Pregnant women aren’t that weird. We eat weird, not go off our rockers. Good job taking care of it.

    • 01/09/2011 9:06 pm

      TY Jacqui! Her hubby claimed it was her pregnancy; she didn’t respond and then they moved… so I’ll never get to the bottom of it… I wish them all the best. 🙂

  12. 31/08/2011 5:46 pm

    Anger is fear turned inside out. I wonder what your neighbor was so fearful of?
    James –

    • 01/09/2011 9:07 pm

      I had no idea then and won’t ever find out at this point… Life goes on with the rest of us. TY! 🙂

  13. 01/09/2011 5:38 am

    When my first husband and I were young and living in our first house with our young children, we had VERY strange neighbours. While not exactly nasty to us personally, as your neighbour most clearly was (I gather you never found out why?) they were difficult to live beside. We were in a terrace house (adjoining walls) and they would have crazy domestic rows at 3 and 4 am.

    One day she locked herself out of the house and needing to go to the toilet she did so in her front yard in full view of the children.

    *sigh* we were quite glad to see her move out.

    • 01/09/2011 9:10 pm

      Good grief… what a nightmare! Nothing can ruin peace and joy of home living more than when you have bad neighbors. It is threatening and very frightening. Thankfully, we have been blessed with temporary episodes of them and then they move on or we do… TY! 🙂

  14. 01/09/2011 8:00 pm

    I have heard of people not liking their neighbors but that was just incredibly NASTY of her to do to anyone! I’m glad you put a stop to it…there’s no excuse for such behavior!

    • 01/09/2011 9:12 pm

      No excuse for sure… and it did stop. I remain flabbergasted by the incident because it was so gross and disgusting, and that she made extra effort to do it made it the more bizarre. Thankfully, that was all and nothing more. TY! 🙂

  15. 01/09/2011 10:24 pm

    Why was she choosing to take it out on you? That is just so bizzare. It is funny what set people off and what happens when they “snap”. Weird.

    • 03/09/2011 12:15 pm

      I have no idea… I think she had issues that were unresolved… I moved on. 🙂

  16. 01/09/2011 11:15 pm

    Ugh… that must’ve been irritating. It’s a good thing she got caught.

    • 03/09/2011 12:17 pm

      It was disturbing but ended on a good note. I’m glad she got caught… as it put a stop to such behavior. 🙂

  17. Corinne & Kirsty 🌸 (@corinnekirsty) permalink
    21/05/2017 1:34 pm

    I don’t think I ever had a nasty neighbor… I had some dirty and nasty flatmates though. Like never cleaning after them. But a nasty neighbor? My parents neighbor aren’t the nicest people… They called the police on my birthday party coz they thought we were too loud (while tbh, we were not). xx Corinne

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