Ask Kari: How can I stop my neighbor from coming over every day after work?

Dear Kari,

My neighbor comes over almost everyday when I get home from work. I am barely in the door when he rings the doorbell to talk about nothing important. I have tried to act disinterested in talking with him, I have even tried telling him that I need to do something like make dinner, etc. but he doesn’t pick up on the hints that I am sending his way. I need to decompress after my workday, not discuss the weather. How can I stop him from coming over?

In Need of Quiet Time

Dear In Need of Quiet Time,

You do not disclose the age of your neighbor and or whether he is retired or not. But, I am guessing that he has fewer responsibilities then you do at this point in his life and he is lonely for human interaction. Your neighbor seems to be in need of support, and he may even feel that his checking in on you each day benefits you (you get someone asking about your day). I recommended that you tell him in a gentle manner that you need to decompress after work and will not be answering the door in the future, no matter who shows up. Then, if you choose to do so, maybe suggest that you two can watch a sporting event or have a bite to eat sometime in the future. And remember, it’s usually not a bad thing to have someone looking out for us each day like your neighbor does; you just need to establish some timing boundaries with him.


As published in the August 2013 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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