How to Make Your Neighbor Stop Coming Over

Keep neighbor relationships amicable with a little friendly conversation.
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If your social butterfly neighbor is stopping by on a regular basis, interfering with the tranquility of your private sanctuary, and you’re finding her unannounced visits rather intrusive to your day, you don't have to stay quiet to avoid offending her. Address the issue tactfully, and with some planning and forethought, and you’ll be able to explain that you don’t have an open-door policy while maintaining a cordial -- and neighborly -- relationship.

Plan a conversation with your neighbor, since talking it out is likely the only way you’re going to be able to get the message through. Diving for cover every time he knocks on the door will only work for so long. Determine what you hope to accomplish with the conversation, whether that is letting him know you would like him to call before stopping by, rather than just dropping in, or that your schedule doesn’t allow for lengthy, unplanned social calls at all. Your neighbor might not be deliberately obnoxious but simply unaware of how his dropping by interrupts your already hectic schedule.

Ask your neighbor to get together for tea, coffee or lunch. The meeting can be at your home or a nearby coffee shop or diner if you prefer. The purpose is to have an allotted time where you can be relatively certain your conversation will be free of interruptions.

Talk about the problem, using as many “I” instead of “you” statements as much as possible. For example, don’t say to your neighbor, “You drop by too often,” but instead say, “My schedule has been very hectic lately and, as much as I enjoy your company, I would really appreciate it if you could give me a call first before stopping by for a visit,” or “I really enjoy your company but life is so crazy right now that I really don’t have time for a social life right now. Why don’t we schedule a time to get together that fits into your schedule, too?” You can go on to explain that any changes in your chaotic day make you very panicky. Now you’ve explained that your neighbor’s unplanned visits are not welcome without offending her.

Stay strong and stick to it. If your neighbor continues to drop by, let him know at the door that you’re very busy with a task or about to run an errand and you’ll give him a call as soon as you’re free. When you do have a few moments you can spare comfortably, try to remember to follow through, and at least make the phone call.

  • If the kind and calm approach to the situation is ineffective, you can restate your position firmly. If your neighbor persists, consider looking to a mediator for help or contacting local law enforcement if your neighbor is violating trespassing legislation or making you feel uncomfortable in your home.

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.