Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Boorish Neighbor Lacks Boundaries

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a neighbor who is annoying, to say the least. She talks too much and is extremely loud and intrusive. I am a loner and rarely have company. She will ring my bell at all hours of the day and night and barge in because she wants somebody to talk to, or she wants a drink and is all out at her apartment. I don't want to have to let her in, but she is insistent. Sometimes she will bang on the door until it disturbs the other neighbors if I don't answer.

How can I get her to respect my boundaries? I don't want to nix her completely, but she can't just come over whenever she feels like it. -- INTRUSIVE NEIGHBOR

DEAR INTRUSIVE NEIGHBOR: What an awkward situation! When people live near those who have no sense of boundaries, it can be extremely uncomfortable for them to create space around themselves. It is going to take you being uncomfortable for a bit in order to get comfortable for the long term.

The best thing you can do is to speak to her directly and tell her that she is disturbing your peace. Tell her that she can no longer visit you uninvited. If she tries to get around your decision, tell her you will no longer answer the door.

You must accept a reality: You do not need to answer your door just because someone knocks on it. You can simply not answer. As uncomfortable as that seems, you can do it. If your neighbor gets loud and surrounding neighbors get upset, one of them may chime in to ask this person to stop or go home. You can also speak to her through the door and let her know that it is not a good time for her to visit. If she gets completely out of control, you can call the police, though I would leave police involvement to the most extreme of circumstances. You can report a noise violation by calling 311.