DEAR ABBY: I'm a stay-at-home mom with a 10-year-old daughter. We live in a complex that houses about 250 people.
I'm a naturally friendly person, but also very private. When the weather is warm, I love having my shades up and my windows open. My daughter enjoys the fresh air, so she's out in the yard often. Because of this, some of my neighbors -- possibly bored -- take it upon themselves to "pop in" for a visit when they see we're home. I don't invite them over, and I don't want company. This happens more than once a day with the same people.
I have tried making excuses ("I'm in the middle of something," "I'm cooking dinner," "I have company"), but it doesn't work. I have also said, "We're just getting ready to leave," but it soon becomes obvious that we weren't going anywhere. People have gotten mad and they now label me a "snob" -- among other things.
I don't want to spend my life in the house hiding with my daughter, but I also don't want to entertain people who come over uninvited. Abby, I am not a snob. I just love doing whatever I'm doing uninterrupted -- even if what I'm doing is nothing at all. Please help. -- NICE, PRIVATE LADY IN ILLINOIS
DEAR NICE, PRIVATE LADY: I don't know what etiquette book your neighbors have read, but they have a lot of nerve dropping by unannounced and expecting you to drop whatever you are doing to entertain them.
It is not rude or snobbish to defend your privacy. You were too nice to them to begin with by making excuses. What you should have said was, "I'm not up for company right now. Please call to see if I'm free before dropping over next time."