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Dear Wendy

Neighbor dispute

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  • #954905 Reply

    It’s not hard if you just assume she probably had a rough day last time and you got her in a bad moment.

    We do a lot of emotional reasoning, where we take a moment and overlay our own emotional responses and assume it’s reality. But we can always counter what we assume to be true with other equally likely explanations.

    You two had a tense moment. That’s true. You are then overlaying that experience with your own emotional reaction, which is that she is angry with you and will be rude to you.

    Another intrepreation that could be just as true is that she had a particularly rough day and this was the straw that broke the camels back, and she’s embarassed about overreacting, and she’ll be so grateful to you for opening the door and giving her a chance to repair your relationship.

    Not being in her head, you don’t actually know which version is true (if either), but if you frame your next interaction assuming the latter interpreation, you’ll be more at ease, and she’ll likely meet you in that space.

    And if she doesn’t, if she does flip out on you, it doesn’t actually kill us to have someone be angry at us. Just say, I can’t have this conversation with you right now, and walk away.

    #954913 Reply

    @saneinca. Eh, I’d agree if this was clearly a regular pattern of behavior on her neighbors part and/or if we weren’t in the middle of a super awful time.

    As it has been the only time they’ve had this kind of interaction, I’d assume it’s a one off until proven otherwise.

    We all have bad moments and sometimes react in ways we regret later, particularly in times of high stress.

    #954944 Reply

    Also, I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m getting on your case bondgirl.

    I used to be very conflict averse. The trick I learned to avoid conflicting while not being a doormat is to…assume there won’t be a conflict. To assume the other person has good intententions, that they want to solve problems too, but they are a person with emotions and miscommunications can happen. That people aren’t looking for fights, so if you go in assumming best intent, and stay calm and emphathetic, people will join you in that space and you can work together to resolve problems.

    Truly, it works most of the time. And when it doesn’t, you just walk away.

    #955431 Reply

    Coming from a completely different angle here. But I was that little girl, and so I’m going to give an answer based on how my neighbors got me to stop similar behavior. I noticed in the first post the lw said they didn’t want the dog coming up and interacting with the kid. It seems that the best way to stop that is not to continue to promote the relationship with the kid and the dog.

    I was absolutely obsessed with the neighbor dogs. I would run up to the fence as soon as I saw a dog at that age. What made me stop was that the adults went in a completely different direction than what is being suggested here. There were no play dates with the dog. The neighbor didn’t let me come into their yard and pet or play with their dog, or feed it. If you feed a dog or play with it a lot and it sees you, it will run up to you – the dog has associated coming up to you with fun and food and other positive reinforcement. You aren’t just training an animal during a training session – you are teaching it what to do constantly.

    If the neighbor saw me, they would put the dog on a leash and come and say hi, but they kept the dog out of my reach and only stayed a couple of minutes. Then they said they were busy and they went to the far side of the yard with the dog. When I called the dog, they would call the dog as well, and use treats to teach the dog that when we were both calling, it was better for the dog to come to them. I didn’t realize at the time that was what was going on, because I was too little to get that sort of thing. Thinking back, I think they also got some type of cheaper fencing for their patio area and if the dog ignored them and came to me they would put it in there. The dog eventually learned that if it came to me it would then get cooped up, so it also had another type of reinforcement not to come to me. It took some time for them to train the dog like that (and it might take yours a bit longer because the girl has fed and played with it already) but the good thing about it was that it didn’t require me to cooperate, they could do it with just themselves and the dog. The dog became indifferent to me. I wasn’t a source of what the dog wanted – play or food – and if it came to me anyway it wouldn’t get to run and play, so it didn’t want to come to me anymore. When I called after the initial couple of minutes, the neighbor kept firmly and consistently bringing the dog physically back to the far side of the yard, with a leash if they had to. Eventually the dog stopped coming, as trained. And that’s when I stopped yelling through the fence – when the dog would ignore me there was no further point in yelling. My yelling didn’t get me what I wanted, so I stopped. And the dog coming up to me didn’t get her what she wanted, so she stopped coming to me.

    This might be a little devious, but my neighbors also mentioned that if I had my own dog I would be able to pet and interact with it whenever I wanted and always repeated that in the couple minutes when they came with the leashed dog and said hi. Which got me to go to my parents after the neighbor and dog went to the far side of the yard and tell my Mom how we should get a dog. Which I then did every time I was able to get near our neighbor’s dog. Which my parents got so sick of that they started to tell me to leave dogs alone just so they wouldn’t then have to hear about how we just had to get one of our own all.the.time.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by AkeathAkeath.
    #956683 Reply

    That sounds bananas to me, but I live in an urban area where dogs are named Margot, Wilma, and Georgina, have their own water bottles, go to day camp, and are treated like little people. If a toddler is interested in my dog, I’ll hold him so he can give her a kissy without knocking her over.

    #956814 Reply

    Regarding the comment about how I would handle things if my kids were little and there was a pandemic, I honestly don’t know. If money were not an issue, things would be much the same. Having financial concerns makes people emotional because they are scared. They often react differently than they would in normal times.

    What I can’t get over is all the drama that was happening even before the pandemic. Frankly I think it stems from the top. People are more rude today and more willing to openly mistreat strangers. I do not have much sympathy for the mother in this situation. Having a young child who misbehaves is no excuse for being so emotional that you go off on a neighbor trying to mind her own business.

    #956855 Reply

    Ah, so you’re admittedly a bit out of touch.

    #956897 Reply

    “If money were not issue, things would be much the same”.

    Um, not to say that the mother’s reaction was great, but here are some ways, outside of financial concerns, that could be making her life particularly hard right now:

    She has two children that are constantly home, both she and her spouse and trying to work from home while also trying to keep them entertained/educated, and there’s no end in sight. No breather on the horizon.

    Her kids are struggling with social isolation and acting out and she’s worried about them.

    She’s struggling with social isolation and depression/anxiety.

    Someone in her household is vulnerable/immunocompromised and she’s terrified someone will get sick and seriously ill, or even die.

    Someone she loves *has* gotten seriously sick or even died and she’s grieving.

    I mean and that’s just off the top of my head.

    I don’t know which of the above apply to her specifically, but certainly I can understand that the pandemic might be creating particular stressors for people that go beyond worrying about their finances.

    That you can’t see that is weird. I don’t even have kids myself, but if I spent two seconds thinking about what it might be like for them right now, they get endless sympathy from me.

    I mean it’s hard being home with my cat 100% of the time, he’s needy and demands attention during the day when I’m trying to work; I can only imagine what it would be like with small children.

    Basically everyone in the world – but especially parents – should get a ton of slack right now, honestly.

    This sh*t is tough.

    #956910 Reply

    It’s funny too that you’ve come on here twice just to say you have no sympathy for a mom in a pandemic, and also to whine about people being unkind 🤪.

    #956930 Reply

    “If money were not an issue, things would be much the same.”

    Are you sh*tting me?

    #956967 Reply

    A four year old wanting to pet a puppy is not misbehaving. JFC.

    #957012 Reply

    Also not for nothing – money in fact might be an issue.

    There’s record unemployment right now and you had better believe that next year budgets at state and local public agencies are going to get cut to the bone, and that’s going to have implications not just for those directly employed in some form of government but also for the many many private firms that have contracts with public agencies.

    It is entirely possible that her household has already lost some income or the writing is pretty clear that they will in the next couple of months.

    Plus all the other stuff I listed.

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