Needy Neighbor: When they ask for too many favors

by EPI Staff on July 12, 2010

Q: My neighbor always asks for favors when she is away. I like lending a hand, but she benefits more from my help than I do from hers. Is it OK to decline now and then?

A: Of course! Tell her, “I won’t have time to help this week, and I’d hate to forgot to water your plants.” Then suggest that she hire someone, perhaps a neighborhood teen. It’ll remind her that people often pay for these sorts of “favors”- with money or a favor in kind.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen July 12, 2010 at 8:31 am

I would offer the number of your kennel, babysitter, repair person and house sitter. This would be a polite way of saying: we don’t use our neighbors for these services. Perhaps they will get the hint and ask a family member to come over and lend them a hand or actually hire someone! Also, if they have become used to using your services, let them know that you will have company that week or be out of town.

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Gloria July 18, 2010 at 11:16 am

In this case, I think a little white lie is necessary. You can simply say: “Oh, I wish I could help, but I am going to be so busy that week, that I just can commit myself to you. Would you like me to ask around to get some phone numbers for you to hire someone in to help you?” Then, even if she says no, get a list together, put it in an envelope and leave it at her door while she is gone. She will get the hint!

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Gloria July 18, 2010 at 11:18 am

CORRECTION! In my comment, I MEANT to say: “…that I just CANNOT commit myself to you…” Apologies for confusing anyone!

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