Neigh­bor’s busi­ness seen as a blight

The Washington Post Sunday - - DIVERSIONS - AMY DICKINSON Amy’s col­umn ap­pears seven days a week at www.wash­ing­ton­post.com/ ad­vice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribpub.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tri­bune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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?

Blin­ders On

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.

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