DEAR ABBY: I have lived in my apartment for nine years. When I moved in, I met a woman who moved in about the same time. We became friendly, and I enjoyed talking to her at the pool and mailbox -- until I got to know her better. She has alienated all the other neighbors and kids in the complex with her attitude. She butts into conversations and asks personal questions, despite claiming to "mind her business and keep to herself." Abby, I was raised to be forgiving and understanding. I have reached out to her and taken her to the store and medical appointments, but then she freaks out, swears and demands that I speed up, take her to thrift stores, etc. She asks why I don't take the freeway instead of surface streets with traffic lights.
I finally quit taking her places, but now she has started walking into my apartment, sitting down and asking me questions. She also gets mad when she sees I went to the store without her. How do I politely, but firmly, tell her to leave me alone and I no longer want to have anything to do with her? She makes me anxious and drives me crazy. I understand she's lonely, but she's a miserable person to be around. -- DOORMAT GUY OUT WEST
DEAR DOORMAT GUY: If you know someone will walk into your apartment uninvited, for heaven's sake, lock your door! If this neighbor rings the bell or knocks, tell her you are busy and cannot entertain her and shut the door. If she corners you and rants about you having gone to the store without her, tell her in plain English why you stopped doing it. That said, I think it would be more hurtful than helpful to point out the other reasons she has made herself a social pariah.