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Dear Annie: Neighborhood watch: Too friendly and not friendly enough

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: Recently, we had new neighbors move in beside us. They are extremely nice people, and we like them very much. However, there is one problem: They drop in unannounced.

I don’t know how to tell them that if they would just call first, then I would have enough time to tidy up a bit or could tell them it wasn’t a good time to visit. When someone shows up at the door, a whole family of five, and the father leads with, “Is this a good time?” it’s very difficult to say, “No, this isn’t a good time because I’d like to tidy up first.”

I thought us eating dinner would be sufficient for them to realize it wasn’t a good time, but the father just said, “Oh, go ahead and eat, don’t mind us.”

It has happened often enough now that it’s apparent on my face. I think that they know something is wrong, and I’m afraid it’s that they think I don’t like them, which is not the case. So now, upon arrival, the father profusely says: “Is this a good time? I hate to bother you… blah, blah, blah.” I’m writing to you in hopes that he will read your column and you can tell him for me. – Please Call First

Dear Please Call First: Instead of showing your dismay through your facial expressions, just say that you don’t like it when people show up unannounced. You can tell them that you love them as neighbors, and you are thrilled that they live next door, but it’s just one of your pet peeves. Then, request that they call first. If they don’t take the hint, and continue showing up unannounced, hand them a piece of paper with your phone number and maybe a smiley face on it. Remember, keep it light, but also keep your boundaries clear.

Dear Annie: I’m hoping you can give me some sound advice. I live in a safe neighborhood and get along with my neighbors. My next-door neighbor is a heavy smoker and also chews tobacco. Recently, my husband and I noticed stains on the siding of our house. We realized that our neighbor has been spitting tobacco juice from his attic onto our house.

We are positive it is him. When we asked him about it, he denied it and blamed it on bird droppings. After the discussion we had with him, it stopped. It has now started again, and we don’t know what to do. Should we confront him again? Please help! – Annoyed Neighbor

Dear Annoyed Neighbor: Yes, you should talk with him again. Sadly, sometimes people need to be reminded twice. Now, if the second time doesn’t work, I would suggest installing a camera. They are not very expensive. There is also the remote possibility that it really is bird droppings. With video, you will know for sure. Good luck.

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