Chatty Neighbor Driving Me Crazy

By Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith
is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.
October 27, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My neighbor is a very nice woman but she calls constantly and I can’t get her off the phone when she does. She calls me at least once a day. Sometimes she calls two or three times. It’s driving me crazy.

     Her kids are grown and she’s home all day. I know she’s bored and lonely. I’ve suggested all kinds of things for her to get involved in but she doesn’t take my advice.

     I try to be patient with her and explain that I’m not a phone person but she doesn’t get it and she calls all the time anyway. I snapped at her yesterday and felt bad about it afterwards. I’m losing my patience and I don’t know what to do.

Stressed Out

 

Dear Friend,

     Stop picking up the phone. Period. Every time that you pick up the phone and speak to her, you positively reinforce her behavior.

     Let her get used to the sound of your voicemail or the phone ringing and ringing. I guarantee that it won’t be long before she “gets it” and calls someone else. 

     When you run into her in the neighborhood and she brings it up, you can explain that you’re just too busy to talk on the phone. She’ll stop calling – guaranteed. 

     Once your stress level recedes, you can invite her over for a cup of coffee every so often. It’s much more neighborly to speak to her when you decide you really want her company than feeling like a phone hostage. Good boundaries are a gift to both ourselves and those with whom we set them. Choose how much time you want to give her and give it with your whole heart!

 

All my best,

Kathy

Readers, please send your letters to AskKathyMFT@gmail.com!  

is a licensed marriage and family therapist as well as a gifted divorce mediator in NYC. She is a former high school English teacher and college counselor with a passion for enhancing the lives of others. Additionally, Katherine has extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples, family systems, and group therapy. Readers can contact her at AskKathyMFT@gmail.com.