Social Question

Seek's avatar

How long would it take before this became annoying? (please see details)

Asked by Seek (34769points) November 26th, 2015

Assume, for a moment, that this scenario happened. I know for many of you it’s unlikely that it ever would, but play along for sake of argument.

A smiling woman in her late 60s is walking down your street. You’ve never seen her before. She notices you, walks up to your fence and introduces herself. Somehow during the conversation she’s ended up joining you on your front porch with glasses of iced tea. She seems nice enough and you’re happy to have a pleasant new neighbor.

The next day – and every day thereafter – she comes knocking. It might be in the early afternoon, it could be 8:00 AM, but she will come by to chat.

Weekends? Yep. Holidays? Absolutely.

When other members of her family attempt to discourage her from bothering people, she’ll brush it off with “Oh, they’re good people and I love them, in my generation we visited each other all the time. You don’t understand.”

So, assuming you made the mistake of inviting the vampire in, how long would it take before you’d do anything to make her stop showing up?

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56 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

A big goddamn fence would probably be my solution. It would get old on day 1 for me. (I am really annoyed by chit chat) When people want to talk about nothing I can’t escape into my own head. It feels like I’m literally being forced into being stupid for that amount of time. If that makes me a jerk then so be it. ..and vampire is the correct description dear god lady, your half hour rant on how the guy at the deli can’t make change is sucking my soul into oblivion Sigh, I have someone in my life like that.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I would be grateful for the friendship, and I would also tell my new friend to call first, so I could tell her if it was a convenient time to visit.

ucme's avatar

Somewhere between immediately & instantly.

jca's avatar

Probably the first time she came knocking at the house door, I would have explained that if I’m on the porch it’s one thing but I’m not always up to having company. Give me a call before you come next time! Good to see you!” and then sent her on her way.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I would not be really bothered by that, unless if she came at my inconvenient time and I gently told her I was busy yet she insisted on talking. Or similarly, if I told her I would be busy for a couple of days but she kept coming on my busy days. In that case, she would look more like she was stalking me.

CunningFox's avatar

My aunt and uncle have a situation similar to this. Ever since they moved into their new house in the country, they’ve had these two neighbors stopping by to chat. Not as frequently as every day, but maybe every few weeks here and there. Nice people, but a little cuckoo in the head, and not to mention my aunt and uncle would really just prefer to not have people randomly coming over either way.
They haven’t dealt with it though, they just keep letting it happen and entertain the conversation.

Which is why I have no clue what I’d do in this situation. I’d like to say I’d call them up and just tell them I enjoy their company, but I would like it if they could decrease the frequency of their visits. However, I think I’d be too afraid of hurting their feelings and probably chicken out.

jca's avatar

@Seek: Is this really happening or totally hypothetical?

longgone's avatar

It depends on whether I feel like I’ve met a neighbour, or made a friend. If it’s the former, I assume the conversations consist of gossip and chit-chat. I’d be annoyed by day two. I would consider it my responsibility to set boundaries, though, not the family’s – on the off chance that you are said family.
If, on the other hand, I share interests with this person, I would be more inclined to enjoy her presence. Her age would not matter, I have friends who are much older than I am. I might still get frustrated at the daily interruption of my cherished time alone – but, with a friend, I would soon feel comfortable enough to request a call prior to visits.

Seek's avatar

This is my mother in law.

It’s 10:00 AM in Florida, on Thanksgiving. She’s already been visiting people.

jca's avatar

I think the reasons I wouldn’t appreciate it are that I sit around in my pajamas until I get ready to leave the house, so I wouldn’t want someone to see me in my jammies, hair messy, etc. Also, I really appreciate my free time at home, to either rest or to be productive, so although I like friends, I like my free time, too.

ragingloli's avatar

5 days, tops.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh @Seek . She must be really lonely.
That would be extremely annoying if I was trying to get something done. I might offer her a broom – or a chainsaw.

JLeslie's avatar

Every day? It would take about 5 days for me to worry it’s never going to stop. By day 8 I’d be over it. I love having friendly neighbors and a quick chat, but if it’s more than a few minutes then it’s too much daily.

Most neighborhoods I have lived in being out front is sort of an invitation to say hello and chat, being in your back yard is usually more private time. It doesn’t vary though, depending on the configuration of the neighborhood. Actually knocking on someone’s door to say hello and come inside without a call first is very rare in my experience, although when there are children in the house the door is sometimes more open so to speak.

Seek's avatar

@LuckyGuy – She didn’t have time to get lonely before this started. And she does it everywhere. Last time she lived with us, our next door neighbor went from close friend to well, not, because of her constant banging on the front door at 7:30 AM. “I know they’re home, why won’t they answer?”

Because they want to be left alone, Debbie.

jca's avatar

@Seek: Does she understand that most people are not up to company at early hours? Does she have dementia?

Cruiser's avatar

Rescue a Pitbull and leash it to the front gate.

Coloma's avatar

I kinda have had this experience before but not in the way you describe as feeling pressured to actually chat or visit. I had an older neighbor that I once invited to bring her little 3–4 yr. old grand daughter over t see my pet geese. After the first visit, all of a sudden I would look out my kitchen window and see them at the top of my driveway and they would just come on down to the goose corral and linger, feeding them bread for about 15 minutes at a time. Then, it escalated to the women and child just making themselves at home sitting on a bench at the top of my front yard having a little picnic and hanging out for like an hour. haha

I never confronted her, as I wasn’t being coerced into having to actually visit, but, it was annoying for that very reason, there were times I just wanted to go out in my yard but waited until they left so I wouldn’t have to chit chat. Sometimes I closed and chained my ranch gate at the top of the driveway and she wouldn’t come through, but that was annoying too because then I had to get out of my car and open the gate when leaving.
Had the women actually been accosting me at random and taking me hostage I would have spoken up and told her that I was busy and couldn’t visit.

ucme's avatar

I knew an old lady who swallowed a fly
I don’t know why she swallowed a fly
Perhaps she’ll die…mwaaahhhhh!!

stanleybmanly's avatar

I take it you no longer tolerate “the treatment” yourself. Pest people rarely respond to polite hints regarding their stalking behavior. The blunt and direct approach is the remedy that you will either arrive at or have forced upon you.

Jeruba's avatar

Five, @ragingloli? I think you must be mellowing.

It would bother me on day 1.

ragingloli's avatar

oh, worry not. it just means the rage is building up over the 5 days and the 6th will be bloodbath

Jeruba's avatar

<Whew> Semblance of order restored to the universe.

Seek's avatar

She has spent most of the day with neighbors, returning only to eat half a plate of food from my massive spread, and then later to bring me a plate of leftovers from one of the neighbors’ houses, “in case we needed the food”.

I can’t decide whether her insults are out of ignorance or maleficence.

Haleth's avatar

She probably has no idea that she’s annoying you. You should tell her kindly but firmly that you have a busy schedule and don’t have time for people to drop in unannounced.

Jeruba's avatar

@Seek It sounds like her brain just isn’t working quite right. Is there alcohol or perhaps prescription meds in this picture?

It also sounds like she’s of an age to have been raised by parents who weathered the Depression. That experience left a permanent mark on people and affected the next generation. Seeking free handouts, collecting food, and saving it for later might be part of that behavior. Does she have a disaster mentality about other things too?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Honestly, I start finding reasons to turn her away, politely, quickly and firmly, just like I do the Jehova’s Witnesses.

Jeruba's avatar

You guys, I think she lives with Seek. She can’t turn her away. The woman perpetrates these annoyances on Seek’s neighbors and won’t be deterred. (Seek, did I get that right?)

jerv's avatar

It might take me almost three minutes, but odds are that I’d be annoyed considerably before then. Of course, that low tolerance leads to the sort of behavior that makes people disinclined to do that sort of thing with me anyways, rendering it practically moot.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re right @Jeruba. From what I’ve heard, I think the woman has dementia onset. :(

stanleybmanly's avatar

I get it now. You suspect she’s wandering the neighborhood, barging in on neighbors’ Thanksgiving celebrations to spite you! She filled up on the neighbors’ fare as well as returned with evidence to taunt you. Then there’s the imagery in your neighbors’ heads of a geriatric Cinderella turning up on their doorstep on THANKSGIVING DAY, the wicked daughter in law at home either depriving her of food or so harshly dealing with her that she would prefer begging elsewhere. Can the woman actually resent you THAT much? What does your husband think of this? My bet is that the neighbors are probably more than a bit confused by the bizarre goings on. Is your mother in law unaware that crashing someone’s Thanksgiving dinner is in extremely poor taste? Even obtuse cranky lifelong bachelors and pimple faced college boys know that you need to wheedle an invitation. The bottom line is that whether her behavior is deliberate malevolence aimed your way or just an eccentric tic, the episode is at best a clear cut example of failure in judgement, and you, your family and the neighbors should confer on how you plan to deal with it in the upcoming holidays.

Seek's avatar

Funny you should post now.

She just spent an hour or better berating me, calling me a moron, a bitch, evil, a devil (oh yeah, she found Jesus. Yay.), saying my kid is going to have mental problems because of me, that she wished I’d find some rich man and leave her son, blah blah blah.

You’ll note I did not take the opportunity to repeatedly stab her in the face with a crochet hook, and I want cookies.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Okay. There’s no longer a question of intent. It sounds like there are some pronounced wiring problems that must be addressed. What’s the take from the rest of the family?

Seek's avatar

She’s batshit insane and no one else wants to deal with her. That’s why she’s here, with us.

lucky me.

We’d ship her off to the loony bin, but they don’t have those anymore. The next step is nursing home, but we’re legitimately afraid she’d cause problems there, too, and be blacklisted by the time she actually needs to be there.

And she’s always hated me, since the day I met her. Woman’s fucked up.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Does the abuse extend to your husband & children or do you think this is a case of “no one’s good enough for my little boy”?

Seek's avatar

A little of both.

Except he hasn’t been “her little boy” in forever. She sold his childhood home and all his stuff and moved in with her boyfriend while he was away at boot camp. Then he moved to Florida (they’re from Illinois).

And she treats him like shit, too. Demanding, degrading. The neighbors always have better stuff, better food, better houses, better furniture. She looks at my artwork and talks about how one of the neighbors paints “the loveliest pictures”, we get a new thing and mentions how her sister “always had the finest whatever

And when she was living with the perfect sister, she did the same shit to her.

She’s never happy, no matter where she is she wants to be elsewhere.

What she ultimately wants is a crowd of adoring followers just waiting for her to show them exactly which couch cushion to sit on, and hear whether they should wear blue jeans or cloth shorts based on her interpretation of the weather report.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Cookies are ALWAYS a good idea and a profound requisite to good mental health!

stanleybmanly's avatar

Sounds like she wants to to be doted on and fussed over. So, I would normally suggest a pet to fawn over her, except I remember that hubby has severe allergies.

Seek's avatar

As far as my son: We made the mistake of letting her babysit.

During the two hours she was gone, she stole a bottle of wine, brought it and him over to a neighbor’s house – which was expressly forbidden – and got drunk and smoked pot with them.

Today, Ian was trying to teach her to play a video game, and she kept calling him names, like you would hear at a 10-year-old’s LAN party. Jason told her not to call him those names. She continued. I told her not to say those names. She goes “Oh, I’m only joking”. I insisted that I do not care, in no universe is it OK for a grandmother to call her grandchild a “stupid butthole”, and she is to stop. She threw the controller, stormed out of the house, and slammed the door, and skipped off to a neighbor’s house to talk shit about me.

And because she is no longer allowed to be alone with my son, I am a horrible mother

When she has pets she locks them in closets. That is not happening.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I think you should put yourself in her shoes and pay attention to what she SAYS. Did you notice that for all of your flaws, she finds you capable of walking out the door and landing a rich husband? You’re, young, smart, pretty and capable. It’s probably an intimidating experience to be around for someone insecure.

Seek's avatar


stanleybmanly's avatar

The question boils down to how you plan to deal with it. She doesn’t have the sense to appreciate that she’s not going to win. Smother her with kindness and flatter the shit out of her.

stanleybmanly's avatar

And bake the cookies. Better yet, ask her to bake the cookies.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I didn’t read your last post til now. The screen on this phone only holds the immediate doings. That behavior shows that you have 3 kids in the household, and one of them is severely maladjusted. You and hubby MUST set your mind to a remedy. I don’t know what she contributes to the household, but it’s hard to imagine that whatever it is overrides the shortcomings of her being there.

Seek's avatar

I was all ready to be nice… Jason made it my final decision whether to let her move in or not. I said “Of course, she’s your mom, blah blah”.

The day she got here I was away on a camping trip. She lost my dog. It took me four days to find him and bail him out of the shelter, and he was sick for weeks afterward.

Time with her has gone downhill since then.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Well from the sound of it, you have a brutal decision to make. Objectively, does the woman have any redeeming traits at all?

Seek's avatar

She is very nice to people she doesn’t live with.

stanleybmanly's avatar

What do you think would become of her if you threw her out?

Seek's avatar

Well, that’s not an option. She’d have to be placed with a new permanent caregiver. She has epilepsy. Jason’s sister categorically does not want her. Neither does anyone else. We have to start looking into assisted living, but I know the headache that’s going to be, too.

There’s no good option.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I swear I should know better than to start down this road. I have to leave the house now, and I would much prefer the image of you and the kids baking cookies.

Seek's avatar

One kid – just Ian. And Russell, if you count the dog.

We had hot chocolate – with way too much whipped cream

Seek's avatar

And thank you for letting me rant in your general direction. It was incredibly therapeutic, and I feel much less like watching American Psycho and tapping my fingers in the dark.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seriously…..she needs to go to a nursing home. People know how to deal with that shit. She just sounds like a mean, thoughtless, almost dangerous person, and it’s only getting worse as her wiring discriminates.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh! I LOVE those mugs, Seek!

ragingloli's avatar


Coloma's avatar

Jesus @Seek you have the patience of a saint, I’d have throttled your nut case MIL long ago. Seriously, you must get this toxic women out of your life. calling your son names like that…shit, this women sounds beyond impossible! Good luck figuring out how to get rid of her. Hey, we’re pouring a new concrete floor in the shop here, bring her over. haha

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