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What Would You Do? February 1, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.

The-Pink-PantherThe Hypothetical:  A neighbor you’ve been friendly with for 6 years has turned decidedly frosty toward you.  You don’t know why.  You’re certain that you did nothing directly to her that should have caused the change of heart.  But whenever you see her and smile or wave, she looks right through you . . . with a frosty glare.

What would you do?

Donald-Duck-MadA.  Angrily confront her and demand an explanation:

“Who the hell do you think you are?  I’ve been nothing but nice to you and you look at me like I’m a “dog deposit” left in the middle of your driveway!”

B. Ignore her back:

“I’ll see your frosty stare.  And raise you a . . . cold shoulder.”

C.  Collapse into a puddle of tears, effectively putting the keys to your happiness in her pocket.

Donald-Duck-BaseballD. Try to open up the channels of communication:

“Hey.  I’ve noticed that you seem a bit frosty towards me in recent interactions.  I can’t think why.  Is it something we should talk about at some point?”

E. Laugh & talk about her behind her back with anyone who will listen:

“OMG!  She is being a total bitch to me.  Every time she gives me her prune face I want to burst out laughing.”

Donald-DirectorF. Nothing.  If she wants to talk about it, let her broach the discussion.

G. Move.

H. Other.  Be as creative as you want here!

So . . . what would you do?


Before deciding ~> Breathe * Relax * Feel * Watch * Allow.

Instead of pushing, pulling, or trying to manipulate the actions of others, we can adopt an attitude of “cheerful indifference” as we allow things to be as they are.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Good Enough (Roxi St. Clair) * Self Acceptance (Find Your Middle Ground)





1. Jill Weatherholt - February 1, 2016

I would say, D. What about you, Nancy?

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

D could be a good bet . . . if she didn’t brush me off before I got the words out.

Or maybe F . . . I don’t care much for high maintenance friends.

Then, again, maybe I would opt for G . . . Move! We’ve been here for 7 years. It’s time to pick up stakes.

Wait! What about H . . . I could write a blog post using the situation as a hypothetical and send her the link . . . so she could read what people think about her giving me the stink eye.

Just kidding!
Wink. Wink. :mrgreen:

Jill Weatherholt - February 1, 2016

Yes! Do H!

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

H it is! 😛

2. Rainee - February 1, 2016

You do like to make us think, Nancy! I would be inclined to ask her if she is OK and if I had done anything to offend her. Then again, if she shows no inclination in being open to me, perhaps I would just let go and be polite if the opportunity arose :-). No easy answer really. We don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives and minds.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

You’re right as rain, Rainee! It’s tough enough to know our own minds (and mind our own business) without trying to climb inside someone else’s head.

I’ll continue to “smile and wave” even if she returns my overtures with stares, glares, and daggers. She’ll either get over “it” (whatever “it” is) or she won’t. Either way, I expect there’s not much I can do unless and until she wants to mend fences.

And it seems pretty obvious that’s not on her current agenda.

3. tlryder - February 1, 2016

H. Let it go. If you’re certain that you did nothing wrong and she’s that upset, that sounds pretty much like irreconcilable differences to me. I’d remain cordial, not engage if not necessary.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

For now, that’s the game plan. I’ll “smile and wave” when I see her to keep the door ajar.

Who knows? Maybe she’ll experience a Spring thaw. 😎

4. Under the Oaks - February 1, 2016

I would continue to smile and wave and if she still was frosty, I would let it go.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

For now, that’s the plan, Pix. We were never uber close, so my life hasn’t changed much as a result of the change in her demeanor toward me. I just find it strange.

As my aunt used to say . . . “It takes all kinds.” :mrgreen:

Under the Oaks - February 1, 2016

G.. ?

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Sure. Maybe we’ll fly a bit further south . . . to Venice! 😎

Under the Oaks - February 1, 2016

You kid, right? We have been talking Punta Gorda. But Venice is always at the top of the list. We are open to look almost any place but Venice would be so nice. Every year I get closer to putting up with the uggy mugginess and have CH happy in his shorts and sandals. Found a perfect house for us and it was gone in three days. You are in the perfect place to look… 🙂

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

To be honest, moving is NOT in the cards at the moment.

That said, we are ALWAYS open to possibilities . . . often introduced when the Universe taps on our shoulders and whispers “PSSSST . . . check this out.”

And we love House Hunting even if we’re just Window Shopping.

For now, we’ll allow the path to unfold before us as we follow the yellow brick road from Here to There . . . wherever “there” may be.

5. francisguenette - February 1, 2016

I hope I would go with D but with a more soft approach – hey, you’re quiet lately. Is something up? Wouldn’t want to box the person into a corner with the assumption that what I am perceiving (i.e. frosty) is what she is meaning to be. That would be me on a good day. On a bad day, I’d probably examine myself endlessly for what I’d done wrong. Most times, the direct approach is better.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Her “about face” (from warm to C~O~L~D) is as obvious as an iceberg. I’ve seen her with others. She’s the same old “Bertha,” so I’m sure her frostiness is aimed at me and not “the world.”

BFF and I put our heads together to see if we could come up with something we’d done to flip the switch. We came up dry ~> Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

So I’m oscillating between D and F . . . but open to other ideas.

6. Kate Crimmins - February 1, 2016

I agree with Rainee. I would ask if I offended her and apologize if I did. If that doesn’t work, you move on. Someone may have said something to her about you that is coloring her opinion. It happens.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

That’s our working hypothesis, Kate ~> that she overheard something at the local “watering hole” that colored her opinion & caused her to substitute someone else’s judgment for her own

If so, I’ll let her go. I tend to do better with people who think for themselves rather than listening to the rest of the herd.

7. BunKaryudo - February 1, 2016

The sensible answer seems to be be D, but as some other people have already noted, the phrasing would have to be thought through carefully.

You might also try asking her to help you with something. Asking someone for a small, easy to give favor can sometimes make them see us in a more positive light. I know it may sound odd, but it’s apparently true,

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

That’s an excellent suggestion, Bun.

Some people need to be needed ~> maybe I have not been “needy” enough to suit her. 🙄

BunKaryudo - February 2, 2016

I was quite surprised when I read this fact for the first time, but apparently researchers discovered it has to do with cognitive dissonance. If the favor is small, the person feels obliged to do for social reasons. This then means, though, that they have helped someone who they regard as an enemy. The brain resolves the dilemma by simply reclassifying the person as a friend.

It sounds very strange to me, and I’m not sure that I entirely buy it, but apparently it’s a phenomenon that has been properly researched by university psychologists. I’ve never really tried it myself, though, so who knows if it really works outside of some lab somewhere?

nrhatch - February 2, 2016

I expect it would work on some of the people, some of the time. Especially if, once the favor was performed, appropriate thanks was given. Other people might comply with the request while resenting having been asked, thus fueling their ire.

Either way, I might feel a bit Machiavellian as I set out to choose just the right favor. :mrgreen:

8. Hariod Brawn - February 1, 2016

H: Buy her a cake. Seriously.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Sweet idea, Hariod!
Unless she accuses me of trying to “butter her up” . . .

Hariod Brawn - February 1, 2016

Just leave it on the doorstep with a simple note.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

I’ll give your idea some thought . . . perhaps the next time she’s back in the ‘hood I’ll drop off a sweet treat for her and her husband to enjoy.

9. suzicate - February 1, 2016

I say F, continue to be polite but don’t inquire. I had a friend not return my calls or texts for a while. On occasion, I’d send her a text to check in, and finally answered, ended up she had been in a bit of depression and hadn’t felt like talking to anyone. I don’t like to push people. I figure if they’re upset with me and I don’t know why they will tell me.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

I’m the same, Suzi. If someone wants to be left alone, I rarely try to push my way past their defenses.

For now, F seems to be the easiest course of action . . . just adopt a “wait and see” attitude. Not hard to do since we were never “close friends” (or “bosom buddies”).

10. L. Marie - February 1, 2016

I would say D, then F if she still gives you the cold shoulder. What a sad situation though. If she can’t be honest and say why she’s mad, then she’s the one with the problem.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Thanks, Linda. I agree. Our interactions went from “warm and pleasant” to “withering looks” with no warning. Quite odd. If the opportunity presents itself, I may give D a shot ~ but only if there is no “audience” around to fuel her ire. In the meantime, I’ll just be “neighborly” by continuing to smile and wave.

11. Eileen - February 1, 2016

Depends on how much I value our previous relationship. If I care I’d do D. If not, I’d just go on like nothing happened.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

I agree, Eileen. If she had been a “close friend,” I would proceed immediately to D to see if we could resolve matters between us. Instead, we’ve been more like passing acquaintances.

We’re here full time and she comes and goes b/c her husband is still working up north. When they were “in residence” our conversations were warm and friendly. When they left, our communications ceased until they returned for their next visit. So I’ll probably just “lay low” until I see which way the Spring winds blow.

12. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - February 1, 2016

After reading through the comments, all I have to say is that your intuition is probably spot on, and I think you’ve decided on the right course of action for you, for now, and that you’ll know if that action should change in the future. 🙂

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Thanks, Kate. I prefer to “get on” with people, if possible. But I tired of “high maintenance relationships” long ago ~> they’re exhausting! If there’s a problem, I’ll let them speak their peace, but I don’t want to have to ferret it out on my own.

This street is somewhat “high school-ish” with cliques and clacks and mutterings behind others’ backs. Behavior more suited to teens than “Golden Girls.” :mrgreen:

Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - February 2, 2016

I was laughing the other day, I was over at my neighbors house, and our across the street neighbor walked over, and I introduced myself, he’s lived here like 3 years and I just now met him!! 🙂
And, I agree with your overall assessment of life, if they want to be grown up and discuss an issue, great, but I’m not wasting my time chasing you down! 🙂 Good luck though!

nrhatch - February 2, 2016

Glad to hear you’ve met your across the street neighbor . . . at last!

In high school, I played those games. No more. Now, I’ll just adopt an attitude of “cheerful indifference” and wait to see if there is a Spring Thaw.

13. diannegray - February 1, 2016

I’d try D first, Nancy and if that didn’t work I’d throw rocks through her window (just kidding) 😉

We can’t control what people think (thank goodness). so (as my son would say) – let fools be fools 😀

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Ooh . . . rocks!
That’s the ticket!

You rock, Dianne! 😛

Since I first noticed her frosty glare and icy stare, it’s been a toss up between saying something to “clear the air” and leaving well enough alone. Or, as your son might say, letting fools be fools.

14. Val Boyko - February 1, 2016

I immediately went to D … and I would ask her sincerely if she is doing okay. Is there anything the matter?
Then if she becomes the angry monkey, I’d let her be.
I like the idea of being kind, but its best to test the water first. … She may take offense with the cake. After all, you told the other neighbor that you think she’s fat right?!? 😉

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Haha! Good point. If I present her with a cake, she might get angry and assume I’m trying to fatten her up! :mrgreen:

I’ve tried starting a conversation 3x so far . . . no luck. So I’m not sure I’ll have time to get the words out before she shuts me down. Ah, well, life goes on either way.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

Your latest post is perfect for this and similar situations ~> maintaining an attitude of “cheerful indifference” while allowing things to be as they are. _/!\_


Thanks, Val!

Val Boyko - February 2, 2016

It has taken me through many a tough time. Letting go of attachment and finding that non judgmental place is really helpful in finding balance. Thanks Nancy!

nrhatch - February 2, 2016

When I’ve used the technique, I’ve referred to it as stepping into the role of “detached observer.” After watching the video on BRFWA, I’ve decided to adopt the Taoist lingo of “cheerful indifference” while accepting the “what is” as it is.

Embrace all with Joy, anything can be a Gift of Gold in disguise!

15. NancyTex - February 1, 2016

If you care (and it seems you do, since you’re soliciting advice on the matter), I think option D makes a lot of sense. That said, I’d probably soften the outreach a bit. Instead of

“Hey. I’ve noticed that you seem a bit frosty towards me in recent interactions. I can’t think why. Is it something we should talk about at some point?”

perhaps something that doesn’t put neighbor on the defensive right out of the gate. I might try something like this:

“Hi X, it feels like we haven’t spoke in forever. Is anything wrong?”

If she is Frosty McFrostyPants, then you just move on – knowing you gave it your best shot at resolution in a non-confrontational way.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

I like that approach, NT. She’s gone now, but when she gets back, I might just give it go. Thus far, she’s rebuffed my efforts to engage her in non-confrontational conversation.

I asked about her mother. “She’s fine. Thanks for asking.”
I asked about a garden project. “It’s going fine. Thanks.”
And, at an HOA meeting, I asked how she was doing. “I’m fine.”

Each time, her clipped tones discouraged further outreach.

So, at this point, I care . . . without being too attached to any specific outcome. If she comes around, great. If not, I’ll probably continue to Smile and Wave to keep the door ajar.

NancyTex - February 2, 2016

Sounds like a sound approach.

nrhatch - February 1, 2016

From Val’s latest post:

Here’s to maintaining an attitude of “cheerful indifference” while allowing things to be as they are. _/!\_

16. Debra - February 1, 2016

I like the answer “move.” That tickled me. I think for me the key to this is it’s a sticky situation with a neighbor. With someone I’ve really considered a friend I’d go to more lengths perhaps, but a formerly friendly neighbor can have her attitude. I admit it would bother me, but probably not for long. I wouldn’t want to get into it with her and if I had a bit more skill in this area maybe I’d investigate, but I think it would take a lot for me to go further than to just continue to be civil. I do love reading everyone’s comments on this fascinating question, Nancy!

nrhatch - February 2, 2016

Thanks, Debra! I believe in examining ALL options. :mrgreen:

Although moving due to a neighborhood tiff might be extreme, it’s good to toss it into the mix to gain perspective on whether a neighbor’s frosty attitude is a B~I~G problem (that will matter a year from now) or just a small dot on the radar.

My initial reaction mirrored yours. I was surprised when I noticed the change and pondered possible causes. When both BFF and I came up with nothing, we concluded her attitude was her problem, not ours. We decided to be civil and see if she thawed on her own.

Then we saw her at an HOA meeting last week and she was just so peculiar that BFF and I spent the ride home joking about ways to handle the situation from confronting her to moving. And, well, a blog post was born.

I have enjoyed the comments on this post. As is often the case, there are options open to us that we had not yet considered ~ from baking her a cake, to asking her for a favor, to throwing rocks, to adopting an attitude of “cheerful indifference” about the situation.

Thanks for weighing in!

17. Carol Ferenc - February 2, 2016

Definitely D and if that doesn’t work, F. I’ve resorted to F more than once myself. Some people you just can’t figure out. Interesting post, Nancy!

nrhatch - February 2, 2016

Thanks, Carol. D and F definitely are the front runners. For now, I’ll adopt an attitude of “cheerful indifference” while allowing things to be as they are. No pushing or pulling required.

18. Behind the Story - February 3, 2016

I’d probably give her some time. In the meantime, I’d watch and listen, trying to figure out what was wrong. I’d be warm and courteous without being pushy. Sometimes thing blow over; sometimes the parties need to word things out. Also, sometimes friendships run their course. I wouldn’t want to live next door to someone I was feuding with, even a quietly smoldering feud, so I’d at least want to get back to cordial.

nrhatch - February 3, 2016

Thanks, Nicki. I feel the same. I want to “get on” with my neighbors and be cordial even if we aren’t “besties.”

That said, there are 100 homes on this street, and 700 in the community, with regular social gatherings, clubs, exercise groups, etc. Instead of expending further time and energy attempting to discern this particular neighbor’s preferences for how I am supposed to be, perhaps I should spend time with those who enjoy my company “as is.” It’s just easier.

Behind the Story - February 3, 2016

It sounds like your community is rich in social resources. If your neighbor continues her “chill,” it’s just her loss.

nrhatch - February 3, 2016

Thanks, Nicki! I expect that she and I might be “wasted” on each other.

From Roxi’s post Good Enough (link above):

“There is only one thing that will fill your heart and spirit, and that is to risk being authentic and letting ‘human nature’ take its due course. Those who do not respect your authentic self are not worth investing energy on. Those who are attracted to your uniqueness and authenticity, will gravitate toward you. This is how it should be.”

19. livelytwist - February 5, 2016

D or F depending on my mood and how much the ‘friendship’ means to me. These things happen, then all of a sudden the neighbour changes and starts being friendly again…

nrhatch - February 5, 2016

Thanks for weighing in, Timi. And good point. Not trying to control the situation (by pushing or pulling) gives the situation time to resolve/ dissolve on its own.

In the meantime, I’ll strive to maintain an attitude of “cheerful indifference.” Que sera, sera.

20. beeblu - February 7, 2016

It depends on how important the relationship is to you, but I’d suggest going with D (via a letter in her mailbox), and if she doesn’t respond, too bad for her.

nrhatch - February 7, 2016

Our relationship was cordial, not close. So her decision to give me the “cold shoulder” is just a *blip* on the radar screen. But I do find her behavior “curious.”

21. jannatwrites - February 25, 2016

I would probably just continue to wave. I’m not sure if I would ask them about it because I’ve found many people will lie/avoid answering anyway. If the person was a close friend, of course I’d investigate though. I wouldn’t move- I just did that and I swear I’m not sure if I’ll recover! I’d give her a card for a local realtor though, haha

nrhatch - February 25, 2016

Your last comment is brilliant! And she’s a realtor so I could give her her own card!

As it turns out, I did nothing and the apple cart righted itself. She’s back to smiling, waving and chatting when we see each other. Yay! I love problems that sort themselves out.

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