Neighbors: Friend or Foe?

I am fortunate enough to live in a great neighborhood with a lot of friendly people, however, I am not a friendly person. This tends to be a problem so I decided to look into what being a good neighbor really entails. What is the etiquette for being neighborly? I feel like as a young person living alone it should be obvious that I don’t want to socialize. My community is unofficially 55+ so they come from an era before Resting Bitch Face, iPhones, and Instagram. They lived in a time before Snapchats were a form of communication. I wanted to know if I could be friendly. It turns out, I cannot.

I decided to start small and simply wave when I drive by people walking their dogs. Well, I’m not sure if people were super excited that I decided to be nice, or they’re always super crazy happy, but the first lady waved back and mouthed “How are you?” Too far. I was driving… I mean I was only going 20mph, but I was still driving. What did you expect, woman? Did you really think I was going to stop and tell you about my day? So I smiled and continued driving. I then looked in the mirror to see just how my “neighborhood smile” looks and it turns out I wasn’t smiling at all. I thought I was putting a lot of effort into this intense smile, but if anything my face looked forced neutral.

The next day I was lying on my couch binge watching Netflix without a bra or real pants, as one does on a Sunday, when my doorbell rang. I live in a gated community that requires me to approve a guest list and security alerts me when a pre-approved guest enters so I know it wasn’t a friend. I debated for a few minutes and did a swift army crawl to my room, careful to avoid windows or making sounds. I threw on real pants and a hooded sweatshirt. I opened the door and she was still on my lanai. This woman decided to talk to me forever about power washing my lanai, the three weeds in my garden, and the amount of geckos on my lanai. She then basically told me her life story. As she told me all about her life story I realized just how hot it was outside. I was in a full on sweat suit and sweat was dripping down my brow and back. I think she saw the sweat or saw me slowly backing away, or she could tell I was mentally checked out. By the time we parted I had actually planned my breakfast, lunch, dinner, outfit for the next day, and the names of my future cats.

So now that I know to stay far away from my immediate left neighbor I have decided that being friendly is really hard. I was trying to figure out what my next move would be while backing out of my garage. My other neighbor happened to be at the sidewalk towards the end of my driveway. She saw me reversing and stopped. She waved so I waved back. I looked forward to ensure my garage door was shut and turned back around. She had picked up her dog and waved her dog’s paw when I looked back at them. So I waved… to a dog. She then let go of the dog’s paw and waved back. At this point I have waved to the same woman twice. That’s my limit. I figured she would be done, she’d cross my driveway and move on. She definitely didn’t. She picked up her dog’s paw and WAVED again. Why me? I then pretended to get a phone call and looked forward. I talked to myself and said “never again” out loud.

Waving to a crazy dog lady was my limit. I decided right then and there to never be friendly to my neighbors again. I am totally fine with being THAT lady that never talks to anyone else and gets her mail in the middle of the night. Who needs to be friends with their neighbors? There may come a day when I need a cup of sugar from them, but that’s a chance I am willing to take.

Kimberly Sides
Kimberly Sides

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