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While you are sweeping your front steps, your neighbor walks down the street. You eagerly say "hi" when she passes, because you are a friendly person. She, in return, basically ignores you and just keeps walking on. You are positive she saw you. Why would she do that?
Reasons Why Your Neighbors Don't Say "Hi"
There are many reasons why your neighbors don't say hello.
- They aren't looking to make connections in the neighborhood. You would be surprised at the number of people who do not want to bother with their neighbors. People are often fearful of their problems and your problems becoming intertwined, which makes things too complicated for them.
- They are jealous of what you have. Maybe you own your house and they rent. Maybe your garden is full of flowers and they are fighting dirt patches on their lawn. Maybe your husband is a high-paid CEO and hers was just laid off. No matter what, being green with envy often makes people want to avoid the people that make them feel this way.
- You are not taking care of your property. Most people who have mortgages are sensitive to drops in value on their property and how the neighborhood's appearance reflects on them. It is always a good idea to maintain the appearance of your home and lawn. Your neighbors could be frustrated by your lack of upkeep yet realize they do not have a right to tell you how to take care of your property. In this case, a neighbor might ignore you because speaking to you might rile their emotions and cause them to be nasty to you.
- They have a superiority complex. There are people who feel they are just too cool to say hello. Many have been motivated by competition their whole life, and if they feel they have accomplished something that takes them to a higher level than you, socioeconomically or socially, so their lack of friendliness makes sense to them. Little do they know that money and status only take people so far. When they need their neighbors in an emergency or for support, these same people might find they don't have it as a result of their rude behavior.
- They are zoned out. Sometimes people have not had enough sleep, are late to work, are sad about a recent event, or are worried about something like a bad medical diagnosis. These heavy thoughts and the lack of the ability to concentrate on anything else will often make a person oblivious to what is going on around them.
- They never learned manners. These days, a lot of people are simply not taught social graces. They know someone has said hello to them, but they just never learned that it is rude to not return the greeting.
- They are young. People who are younger than you will often not know how to respond. They will sometimes feel awkward around other generations. And this time of rampant social media, if your hello isn't accompanied by a beep on their cell phone, a lot of them will just not register your presence.
- They are hard of hearing. If you greet them without waving, people with hearing disabilities might not realize you said hello.
- They are just plain unfriendly. The town grump that always scowls or the angry teenager down the street is likely to have issues that prohibit them from showing any gestures of friendliness to anyone.
- They don't speak English. In a multi-cultural society, it is not difficult to find people that don't speak English. Your neighbor might know how to say hello but is not able to carry a conversation much further than that. In this case, they might believe that speaking to you wastes both of your time, since communication will not be understandable. Some people try to avoid this situation by not saying hello in the first place.
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What to Do When Your Neighbor Doesn't Return Your Greeting
- Do not feel bad about it. Factors that influence people to choose to return our greetings are, for the most part, out of our control. So just turn your thoughts to more worthy causes.
- Do not attempt to greet them again unless they do so first. As friendly as you are, they are just not inclined to engage, and they might never be.
- Do not gossip about it. It is normal to talk to family members or friends on the phone about the slight, but it is best not to tell other neighbors about it. That is the point where your life becomes negatively intertwined with someone else's and it can become a real issue or tit-for-tat, all for something minor. Also, leave social media out of it if any of your connections know your unfriendly neighbor.
- Focus on the good relationships and interactions you share with other neighbors. We usually cannot choose our neighbors, and many of us simply don't like the people in the house next door. Be thankful for your good neighbors. They surely are thankful for you too.
Rude Neighbor Comedy
Questions & Answers
Question: If a neighbor says "Hi" to me, I will respond, but honestly, I want to be left alone. My home is my castle. I want to come home and unwind not talk to some stranger about their day. Why is this considered rude?
Answer: Returning a greeting is not rude, neither is staying in your home and enjoying yourself.
Question: A neighbor asked my grandmother why don't I ever speak but she never acknowledges me when she talks to my grandmother. She only makes eye contact with her to say hello but not me. Even though she does not speak to me I will smile politely at her. So why does she expect for me to speak to her when she does not speak to me?
Answer: She could be doing this now as a reaction to what she perceives as you already not speaking to her. People's wires get crossed all the time in terms of communication. You could try to find some excuse to knock on her door and talk to her about something. That could break the tension. In addition, if she is an older person, sometimes older people will acknowledge other older people but not go out of their way to talk to younger people.
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