Dealing with a Nosy Neighbor—Straight-Talk

Dealing with a nosy neighbor

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author Kristen Houghton
author Kristen Houghton

I’m generally a friendly person but I’m also one who is very private. Having a neighbor who lived across the street who was a little too interested in my life was annoying.

Nosy neighbors are one of the worst kinds of neighbors you can have and we have a real doozy of one on our block. I call him the Neighborhood Watch because that’s all he does. He watches, comments, and asks questions about everyone’s life. It can be tough to have a nosey neighbor who is constantly asking personal questions.

One big perk of being an adult who owns your own home is that you don’t have to explain your comings and goings to anyone. It’s difficult to have a neighbor who becomes too invested in your personal life.

Our Neighborhood Watch is a man in his forties with a job where it seems he’s able to come home several times a day. During those times he’s constantly surveying the block from his front yard, sometimes with binoculars! It can be eerie and unsettling.

Our first encounter was the time he saw me get into the passenger side of our SUV. The next day he asked my husband why I didn’t have a license. My husband politely explained that I did indeed have a license and pointed to my car.

“Oh,” said the Neighborhood Watch, “I thought she didn’t have one because this is the second time I saw you driving her.”

That should have been a warning right there but we let it go. But the nosiness got progressively worse.

Whenever my husband or I left the house the Neighborhood Watch would stop us to ask where we were going and when we might be back. If my husband or I were outside in our front yard, he’d come over and, within a few minutes of ordinary chitchat, he’d ask borderline intrusive questions about our lives and what we did during the day. If something had been delivered during the day, he’d bluntly ask what it was and why we got it.

When we went on vacation, he grilled the woman who was cat-sitting for us asking her where we went, how long we were going to be away, and did she think our trip was expensive. This woman is a professional and a dear friend of ours who we felt was being harassed. He was basically—and unfairly—interrogating her about our activities and it was none of his business!

Oh I know—some people will say that he’s ‘just looking out for his neighbors’ keeping the neighborhood safe and all, but it’s really not that at all. His questions border on intrusive behavior. He doesn’t need to know where we go or what we do, nor does he need to know any personal details of our lives.

Forget having anyone over. He would stand outside his house and watch as the people arrived and, after they left, come over, and ask who they were.

It got to a point that, as we were considering selling our house, we asked the realtor to list it as a pocket listing, meaning that though it was for sale no sign would be put up in front of our house. No sign, no nosy questions.

But a day came when I had had enough. The constant barrage of personal questions and prying into our activities had to stop. Just because we live in the same neighborhood didn’t mean that we had to share personal information. The next time he came over to ask questions, I would be ready.

A delivery was placed on our stoop and as I opened the door to retrieve it, the ‘Watch’ came hurrying across the street. “What’d you get? It’s pretty big.”

I put the package inside the house then turned around, smiled and said, “Have a good night.” A couple of days later when I was going out he asked me where I was going. Again I smiled and told him to have a good day.

When he would see us outside and come over to ask intrusive questions, I was ready. I had prepped my husband and so we were on the same page. Once the questions started, I told him I was uncomfortable being asked personal things. When he persisted my husband said the same thing.

It wasn’t easy but eventually he stopped interrogating us even though he does still watch our activities and comings and goings. I can deal with that but I refuse to have him question us about our lives.

Most nosy people don’t mean any harm but, they do not need to make your life miserable. Just remember you don’t owe an explanation for wanting to keep your activities private. It is your life.  Let your own Neighborhood Watch know that your life has boundaries.

© copyright 2021 Kristen Houghton all rights reserved

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