Neighbor’s business seen as a blight
Dear Amy: I live
on a busy street. Either because of the type of street or because of the actual people, our block is a “good fences make good neighbors” kind of neighborhood.
The problem is with a neighbor who moved in about two years ago. After spending over a year creating some kind of dirt wall and then planting scrawny, unhealthy, random bushes to complete it and then adding three stone wall “treatments,” our neighbor hung up signs advertising his landscaping business.
The bushes block views of cars traveling around a busy corner, thus making driving and walking on the street a bit more dangerous, and we are only a few blocks from an elementary school. My nextdoor neighbor, who is trying to sell her house, says potential buyers take one look out her front window and head out the back door. I am just glad I have blinds! Any advice?
You could investigate local zoning and safety laws to see whether your neighbor’s business is in compliance. If your neighbor is in compliance, there is likely nothing you can do. He has built his own “fence,” and even if it is not a “good” one, you should try to be a good neighbor.
Dear Amy: There is a kid at school I have become friends with. However, I don’t know if I should be friends with him because a lot of kids hate him (including my best friend). He can sometimes be annoying, and a while ago he smashed my other friend’s pencil sharpener.
In general he is funny and is nice to me, but the way other kids react around him shows me that he is mean to others. Should I be friends with him or not?
Indecisive in Seattle
You should be nice and kind to everyone. You don’t say if you know why your new friend has lashed out at others, but your friendship with him presents you with an opportunity to model kindness and inclusion, and it gives him the opportunity to learn from you how to treat people with respect. This is a challenge, and I give you credit for being willing to try. Dear Amy: I recently heard through the grapevine that a neighbor feels I am “standoffish.” This, despite us having had this neighbor over for numerous dinner parties and celebrations at our house for the first seven of the 20 years we’ve lived here.
Not once during this time have we seen the inside of this neighbor’s home or been invited over, even for a potluck. I stopped inviting this neighbor, who I felt wasn’t interested in cultivating a friendship.
I am not sure how to respond to this person, whom I see at neighborhood events. Do you have ideas?
Takes Two to Tango
By your own description of how this relationship has devolved, it seems (to me, at least) that you ARE standoffish toward this neighbor. And now I am wondering why you care?
When thrown together with this neighbor, you should behave in a way that is “neighborly.” That means inquiring about the family, pets or garden. This does not mean you must attempt again to loop this person into your friendship circle.