Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good Neighbors Make Good Neighbors

Soon after we moved into the Minty a few years ago, our next door neighbor started chatting with me. I wouldn't talk to her about anything super personal, but we definitely became buddy-buddy. I liked chatting with her, and I thought she liked chatting with me too.

Then, all of a sudden, something changed. A couple of weeks ago, she stopped talking to me. Just...stopped. Total cold shoulder standoffish ignoring me type stuff. Don't have any idea why. All I know is, it really, really bothers me. Not because she and I were on a path to become best friends or anything. But because...because I haven't been treated like this since I was in high school. I haven't had someone obviously and intentionally just, like, ignore me and be rude to me in years. I am still nice to her, and say hi every time I see her. But, I mean, what the hell? We're both adults. What kind of grown-up thinks this is a good strategy?

And - here's the real reason this bugs me so much. You know what? People like me. I'm not trying to brag here, but the majority of the people I meet get along pretty well with me. And I get along well with them too. I like to spend a lot of my time alone. So I kind of need that hit of knowing people like me regularly. And one of the ways I get it is through social interactions, like with the people who live near me. My stupid neighbor is messing with that.

This whole thing actually gave me a new perspective on this story I completed right around the same time, about a guy whose teenage daughter suddenly started avoiding him. After my neighbor started giving me the cold shoulder, I felt an extra level of empathy for the guy. And I appreciated even more what he arrived at - he can't control the way his daughter treats him, no more than I can control how my neighbor treats me. Ultimately, while I'm bummed we don't get to be buds anymore, we only became friendly because of proximity. It's not that big of a loss. My reactions to her being all rude and standoffish are really, really, really all about me and my own need to be liked. So I guess that means I get to just deal with my own silliness around all this. And that means probably not asking her what happened, and why she started ignoring me in the first place. Because if I'm honest with myself, I just want to do that so I can fix whatever and get her to like me again. I don't actually care about whatever she might be going through. I think it's probably best to just let this go, and let her do what she needs to do - even if that means she acts like a teenager. It just doesn't have to affect me. I think that's the lesson.

Stupid neighbor.

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