It’s time for another session with our resident agony aunt, L K Jay. Whatever the problem, you can rest assured that L K will give you an honest and direct answer that will point you in the right direction. This time, we’re dealing with a neighbour dispute. Let’s hear from our reader…
I have a problem with my neighbours. Well, it’s just one in particular who is being passive-aggressive and bitchy towards myself and my husband for no apparent reason. He’s been spreading gossip around the village about us. We saw it on the community Facebook page, plain as day. Firstly, he was complaining that we are neglecting our caring duties for an elderly neighbour in his 90s. We are not his family and care for him as best we can, but we can’t be there 24/7 and are frequently woken during the night by the police when he presses his community alarm to get him to open his door. Another time, he was hinting that we leave dog mess behind and don’t pick it up, which is simply untrue. It can never be proven because it has never happened. The final straw came tonight when I noticed he was complaining about me playing my music too loud in my garden. I can’t deny that I do play music and so long as it’s during daylight hours, I don’t see the problem. It’s not any louder than, for example, a conversation or a laugh.
Part of me thinks I should continue to ignore this silliness and rise above it. Part of me wants to tell him to fuck right off and stop being so malicious. I can’t think of any reason why he would be like this. In fact, we’ve always been pretty kind to him and I even rescued a cat from his garden last year to save his plants from being shit on. I don’t think I’ve been anything but a model neighbour. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
Now the first mistake you are making here is by having neighbours in the first place. I manage to live without them quite happily and find the isolation and solitude most refreshing. But that’s because I live in the Fens and generally, people don’t speak to you unless you can trace your family back to William the Conqueror and even if they did speak to you, you probably wouldn’t understand them or want to listen to them anyway. However, you do not live in the Fens and have to share your space with actual human beings, in the loosest sense of the word.
There is a term I like to use to describe this type of man: a complete and utter bell-end. He’s a gossip, attention seeking back stabber, and I suggest having nothing to do with him whatsoever. This means no communication in any form, not even grunts when directly addressed. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Even on the community Facebook page, which is normally populated by fascists, gossips and cute pictures of disabled puppies that the fascists go all gooey over.
Another tactic sure to drive him to the brink of madness is called, ‘kill them with kindness’ and I’ve used it before with bullies. Whenever you see him give a cheery, ‘Good morning, beautiful weather!’ or ‘Hello, how are the chickens?’ or even, ‘Good afternoon, I love your curtains, they’re really stylish!’ Watch his face contort as he has to force himself to return the greeting; it has been known to see a malicious gossip’s face actually implode at the horror of being dragged into a civilised conversation. It’s hilarious and please do post a picture on here if you manage it.
Meanwhile, gather evidence. Make a paper record of all the slander on Facebook, any conversations you have and any disturbance he makes yourself. You could either pass on this information to the local council and see if an antisocial behaviour order could be installed, particularly in the case of the shitting chickens, or a solicitor’s letter telling him to legally fuck off.
There will be a time when you decide to move. Then I might suggest taking a dump in his front garden. You can then confirm that your dog has never pooed on his property and that definitely isn’t dog excrement on his lawn.
Please do keep us posted, as I feel this might go on for a while….