Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

The Trials of a Shared Driveway

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: We knew going into our new home in an older neighborhood that we shared a driveway with our next-door neighbors. They recently had their half redone in concrete, which we can’t afford to do with our half, which does need some work. Our neighbors tried to talk us into going in with them, but we couldn’t swing it right now, especially since we had to have work done on our roof and plumbing this past summer.

We know it doesn’t look great to have the two different surfaces right next to each other, but there’s nothing we can do about it for now. Our neighbors have been cold shouldering us when we run into them getting into or out of our car. I get they’re disappointed, but you would think that as an older couple, they would understand not everyone has the same amount of ready cash. Why can’t they just get over it? --- HALF A DRIVEWAY OWNER

DEAR HALF A DRIVEWAY OWNER: Even though you were upfront with your neighbors about your inability to match their funds for an entire driveway redo, they may feel their property value is affected by the current appearance of the driveway; or they could be bothered by its aesthetics for their own sake. It might also be they have the perception that you’re just being cheap, which may be the hardest assumption for them to overcome.

It’s never pleasant when there’s tension between near neighbors, and perhaps the best thing you can do is to let it go, at least for a while. Best case, they stop freezing you out; worst case, they continue to give you the cold shoulder, which is something you may just have to get used to.

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