Neighbor’s kids get too chummy
Dear Amy: We have new neighbors. We really like them, but lately they seem to be making themselves too comfortable in our home.
They will drop by while we are having dinner, sometimes walking right into our house, and when their daughter looks at the dinner my girls are eating, she will say that she wants some. Then the friend will start eating off of their plates, while the parents stand there!
Another time they came over and when I took my girls to the bathroom, I came back to find that the three pieces of chicken I had left on my counter on a covered plate were being eaten by the mother and her two girls — with no apology, and no asking beforehand!
The father opens our cupboard to help himself to whatever snacks he or his kids want. When we are at their house, their pantry is off-limits.
Amy, we aren’t strapped for money and while we don’t mind sharing, we don’t like this behavior. We don’t think they have issues with money either.
We tried making humorous comments that this isn’t acceptable, hoping they would take the hint — to no avail.
We installed a camera doorbell so we can stop them from walking in at dinnertime. Do we need to install locks on our pantry? What do we say to set boundaries without compromising this friendship? — At a Loss
Dear At a Loss: When I was a kid, my mother came down the stairs one morning to find a neighbor, uninvited, drinking coffee at the kitchen table.
I’m not certain how my mother reacted — but she made sure it was a one-time occurrence.
In your case, merely reacting naturally might have delivered the message you are struggling with now.
For instance, when you were surprised by your neighbors scarfing your chicken. You might have said, “Oh no ! That chicken was for our dinner tomorrow.”
At this point, you will have to say (to the parents), “I’ve tried hinting about it and joking about it, but now I’ll just have to tell you: I really don’t like it when you guys help yourselves to our food without asking. I would never do that at your house.”