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Why Your Neighbors Don't Say Hi

Too cool for you? Why your neighbors don't say hi.

Too cool for you? Why your neighbors don't say hi.

While you are sweeping your front steps, your neighbor starts to walk down the street. You eagerly say hi when she passes your property because you are a friendly person. Your neighbor, in return, basically ignores you and just keeps walking on. You are positive she saw you. There are many reasons why your neighbors don't say hello.

Why Your Neighbors Don't Say Hi

  • They aren't looking to make connections in their neighborhood. You would be surprised at the number of people who do not want to bother with their neighbors. People like this often fear having their problems or your problems becoming intertwined in each other's lives, and just making things plain out too complicated for them to give cues of approachability.
  • 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 down dirt patches on their lawn. Maybe your husband is a high-paid CEO and her husband was just laid-off. No matter what, being green with envy often makes people want to ignore 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 well appearances reflect on them. It is always a good idea to to keep up maintenance and 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 boil over 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 back to you. Many people have been motivated by competition their whole life, and if they feel they have accomplished something that takes them to a higher socio-economic or social level than you, their lack of friendliness is sometimes how it will show. Little do they know that money and status only takes 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 motivated by shallowness and thus do not have an inkling that saying hi isn't beneath them.
  • They are zoned out. Sometimes people have not had enough sleep, are late to work, are sad about a death in the family, or are worried about things such as a bad medical diagnosis. These heavy thoughts or 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. In these modern ages, a lot of people are simply not taught social graces. They know someone has said hello to them, but they just don't have the training to know it is rude to not return the greeting.
  • They are young. People who are younger than you, outside of your social circle, will often not know how to respond. They will sometimes feel awkward around outsiders. And in an age of rampant social media, if your hello isn't prompted by a beep on their cell phone, a lot of them will just not acknowledge your presence.
  • They are hard of hearing. If you say hello without waving, people with hearing disabilities might not actually realize you said hello.
  • They are just plain unfriendly all the time. 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 barely speak English. Your neighbor might know how to say hello but are not able to carry a conversation much further than that. In this case, speaking to you might cause them to waste 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.


What You Can Do When Your Neighbor Doesn't Return Your Greeting

  • Do not feel bad about it. Factors as to whether people 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 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 the people on your accounts know your unfriendly neighbor.
  • Focus on the good relationships or gestures you share with other neighbors. We usually cannot choose our neighbors, and many of us simply don't like the people in the house that our home sits next to. 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.

© 2014 Stove And Home


Stove And Home (author) on September 04, 2018:

I agree. A lot of things are different now. People did know each other more back then it seems.

Wearsunscreen on September 03, 2018:

When I grew up EVERYBODY knew each other. We had block parties, the kids played together and the moms all socialized. When my daughter was little I had a small group of friends in the neighborhood. It was nice. Everybody is terrified today.

Stove And Home (author) on January 14, 2015:

Peachpurple, I would hope they would still be friendly to you. It is expensive to renovate a house.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 14, 2015:

my neighbor don't say I because I didn't renovate my house. The rest of my neighbors did renovated their houses. That is the reason?

Larisa on December 24, 2014:

Have you ever considered crieatng an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would value your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

Stove And Home (author) on December 01, 2014:

It's okay. I think some of my neighbors hate my overdecorating for Christmas. I have lights in their faces all night!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 01, 2014:

i have a neighbor who doesn't return my greetings when I nod my had, smile or say hi.

I think he is angry about my jungle garden. It is full of weeds and tall grass

dashingscorpio from Chicago on October 15, 2014:

Depending on where one lives (privacy) is something most people want. Most people in this era do not want their neighbors knowing very much about them. They already have their friends, family, and co-workers.

When they come home they just want to relax and enjoy not being interrupted with gossip and innuendo. They see their home as a "safe zone". If you don't know your neighbors you don't care what they think. They're not going to just drop by, borrow things, or snoop around. Whomever invented the (fence) must have believed in boundaries. I love not knowing my neighbors! :)

Arco Hess from Kansas City, Kansas on October 15, 2014:

Good article. I have had many neighbors who didn't bother to say hi but I've also had many that after I said hi would start rumors right after our conversation. I can imagine many people simply not wanting rumors spread about them.

Stove And Home (author) on October 15, 2014:

Arco and Hess, both very valid points. People do not want anyone ruining their safety zone or talking about them. Thank you.