The author has dealt with some unfortunate neighbors and is here to share advice for rising above the situation.
How to Deal With Toxic Neighbors: Rude, Intimidating Neighbors 101
Taking the high road when people are stirring strife and causing drama is a challenge. At first, you think everything is ok; you're having a great time, then, wham! Out of nowhere, you find yourself stunned in disbelief as people in your neighborhood peer through their curtains at you, talk behind your back, point their finger at you from the frozen goods at the local supermarket, and exclude you from the neighborhood yard sale.
What do these people want? Why are they laughing at you behind your back? Here are six essential tips to help you overcome your frustration and rise above and beyond your toxic neighbors' negativity.
What to Do About Toxic, Intimidating Neighbors: 6 Helpful Tips
- Make Peace With Yourself First
- Go About Your Day
- Do Your Best Every Day
- Remember, the Best Revenge Is Living Well
- Avoid Them Like the Plague
- Don't React in Any Way
1. Make Peace With Yourself First
Think back to see if there's anything you could have possibly done to warrant this awful behavior from the busybodies in your neighborhood.
Did you, could you, or even would you have stooped so low as to upset any of them? If so, it's ok to forgive yourself. Perhaps you should bring a freshly baked lemon meringue over to the pioneer who started the rumor-mongering and apologize. But if you genuinely can't figure out why everyone is so upset, don't give it another thought.
These people want to absorb your energy and effort. They want you to think something is wrong with you or you have done something to cause this catastrophic upset.
Be yourself, and know that you did nothing wrong—ignore them. When they get tired of you, they'll move on to their next victim. Let's hope that person is as smart as you are and doesn't give them an ounce of their attention.
2. Go About Your Day
It's possible that they just don't like you. As hard as that will be for those who cannot possibly believe that someone could not like them, believe me, it will become easier as your days go on. Obsessing about this will only give them what they want—they want to control you, bring you down, and make you stoop to their level.
Most people I've encountered who take pleasure in bringing others down are miserable themselves. Maybe they never had a flower garden, and yours is blooming out of control. Perhaps they could never eat ice cream, and they see you in a cute polka-dot dress happily strolling over to the truck every day to eat to your heart's content.
Who knows! Whatever the reason, there is no cause for you to give it another moment of your time. It's their problem; let it stay with them.
3. Do Your Best Every Day
No one can ask a thing of you. You are your own person. If you work for an employer, you are an employee and therefore must comply with the office rules. But in real life, when you are in your car, your home, or a coffee shop waiting for your pumpkin-flavored latte with hot, steamy cream (the way you like it), no one has the right to tell you it's not right until it's their way.
As you go through your life, you will begin to gain confidence and trust that your decisions are the best ones you can make because you made them. No one can take your right to choose away from you.
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Therefore, you can choose to do your best every day. If it's not good enough for someone else or it's not their way, who cares? All that really matters is that it's good enough for you!
4. Remember, the Best Revenge Is Living Well
Living well doesn't mean you don't get the occasional cold and have to call out of work sick, or you aren't behind one month on the electric bill and need to get on a payment plan. It also doesn't mean that you are not living up to anyone's expectations because your car broke down, so you walked to work.
Living well means you are happy with who you are. It doesn't matter what anyone else says about you. You, yourself, define your happiness. And that, my friends, cannot be taken away—ever!
5. Avoid Them Like the Plague
Avoiding someone doesn't mean you need to be rude or shun them at the Friday night high school football game. It does mean that you don't have to seek that person out to figure out why they don't like you!
If a person honestly doesn't like you, why on earth would you want to try to be their pal anyway? Many people have a hard time understanding this concept. Why? Because people love to be accepted by others. Being rejected is emotionally challenging.
Take it from someone who understands this on a deep and personal level—when you are rejected by your mother at birth; one can't possibly be much more rejected in life after that!
So, don't make a habit of trying to suck up to everyone who has rejected you or treats you like you should be ashamed of yourself. No way! Don't ever back down from being who you are. You are unique because you are you! Once you understand that, you won't need other people so much or at all.
7 Quick Tips for Finding Peace in a No-Win Situation
- Start a journal.
- Make a list of the attributes you like in each of your neighbors.
- If someone has added you to their blocked list in life, avoid them.
- When you hit it off with someone down the street, make it known that you appreciate them.
- Overcome rumors with truth. Don't fear people because of the latest lie told about you at the corner market.
- Be true to who you are, and stand your ground against unwarranted complaints.
- Find it in yourself to shut the door, close the curtains, turn off your phone, and just live your life.
6. Don't React in Any Way
Finally, after all else, the battle will not be won without you at the wheel of your own ship! Follow these critical steps:
- Don't look at them.
- Don't breathe in their direction.
- Do not react to anything they say or do.
I don't know why some people pick a person off the street and use them as the latest bait for a fish fry on Walnut Street of life. My only guess is that people are simply unhappy with themselves.
Don't Let an Energy Thief Get the Better of You
An energy thief is a person who will drain you of all your energy. They want what you have; they want your secrets for living so well.
That's right! It isn't a mistake; they are after something that you have. Often, they are just waiting for the opportunity to pounce next time you meet in the crowded produce aisle at the supermarket.
Why? Because they have something to say to you within earshot of your neighbors. They want to make sure everyone there knows who they think you really are (which is never on the complimentary spectrum), and they take immense pleasure in watching everyone scurry away from you. Upsetting you brings them enjoyment.
A Few Words for the Weary
After coming home from a long day of work, grocery shopping, babysitting, mowing lawns, or whatever it is that you have accomplished, don't let any negativity on the part of your neighbors get the better of you.
So what if they are using walkie-talkies to report your every move to each other? Who cares if they are posting on Facebook to all of their friends that you are the world's worst person because you forgot to recycle your last milk carton?
Here are some tips for rising above:
- Unlock your door and step inside.
- Lock your door.
- Shut your curtains.
- Turn out the lights to really spook them.
- Pour yourself a beverage, hot chocolate, cup of tea, hot steamy cappuccino, or whatever you drink to relax after a hard day.
- Turn off your phone.
- Sit down.
- Turn on your favorite music to drown out the noise from outside.
- Think about what you are going to do tomorrow.
I don't care if there is an endless wave of gossipers standing on your front porch threatening to burn down your Easter Bunny lawn ornament in the middle of July! Remember, they will get bored. No response is necessary!
I hope these tips have helped you; good luck dealing with your toxic neighbors!