very depressed

happygrlJuly 5, 2011

Happygrl is my user name, but I'm so depressed I could cry. We moved into our home 3 yrs ago. The limited interaction we had will our sellers was never good. They sold the house to us for aprox $60K less than their original asking price. The house was overpriced...old kitchen, old baths, old everthing. The only thing it had going for it was that it was in a great neighborhood, which was our top priority since we have 2 small children.

There were many concerns on our part...they had extension cords snaked through walls...and a lot of electrical issues. We had an electrician go in to take a look and he came back and said he found about $800 worth of things that should be repaired. I'm sure he was jacking up the price and I wasn't even asking that they pay this amount or reduce the house price...I justed wanted it to be safe.

Let's fast forward to the closing...they gave us dirty looks, yelled profanities, and basically made everyone in the room uncomfortable. I wanted to walk away from the deal right then and there and lose our binder, but I also didn't want to get sued by them. So, we sat there and signed as quickly as possible to get out of there. The lawyers and REA apologized to us in the parking lot for their behavior, but we were just glad it was over.

Our sellers lived on this block for 20 they knew a lot of people. It seems we've been 'iced' out from the block. Nobody says hello, not a wave...not a smile. New people have moved in after us and are quickly embraced into the neighborhood and invited to BBQs...and we still remain on the 'pay no mind' list.

Honestly...if it were just my husband and me...I wouldn't be that bothered by it. But I cry for my kids. We live on a block where NO ONE will talk to us or engage my kids. My heart is breaking over this and I feel silly because I shouldn't want to be 'friends' with people who would behave like this. I just feel they killed our dream of establishing roots and enjoying our first home.

Sorry to take up so much space. My husband thinks I'm nuts and says. 'who needs them?'. But again, I want my kids to grow up in a friendly, warm, and inviting place. It seems this block has that in spades...just not for us.

If I move...we'll lose about 50K if we move now. I don't want to put my family in financial distress over this, but how do I get past this???

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I understand why you're depressed. That is sad. Why did the sellers get so nasty? Is it just that they felt they were selling it for less than it was worth? Did you negoiate the price down after the inital contract (like after inspections)? It is not like they HAD to sell it to you. So I don't get why you're the bad guy especially to the neighbors.

If I were you, I would try approaching a neighbor about this. Maybe start with a generic question/statement about not feeling welcomed and ask if you did something wrong? You could ask one of the new neighbors too about what they may have heard.

I'm just wondering if there is something else going on here or what the sellers may have told their old neighbors.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 8:50AM
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I understand your problem, but I'd just be very friendly not obnoxious, but just nice to everyone. You know kill them with kindness, don't mention your feelings to anyone. You will appear to be a whiner, maybe making it worse. I really find it hard to believe EVERYONE does not want to be friendly, I understand some people are not nice or friendly there is that in every neighborhood, but for NO ONE o be just nice is unbelievable, Maybe you just haven't met the nice ones yet. Also don't every discuss the PO's, just be nice positive and friendly, no negative conversations.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:31AM
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Have you had a barbeque? Invite the whole block over for free food and beer. Feathers will be smoothed in no time. Don't mention the POs unless someone brings it up. Clarify and clear it up if anything gets mentioned.

If they still ignore you, consider yourself blessed - they're obviously not worth your time and energy if they can't see past whatever the POs may have told them. Neighbors aren't all they're cracked up to be anymore anyway - too much hustle and bustle of modern life. Most of my neighborhood is never home enough to do anything other than wave at each other as we come and go.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:11AM
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Don't take it personally. Relationships with neighbors are not what they used to be. These days, many/most keep to themselves and about the only communication to neighbors is a wave, if that. They often don't know the names of other neighbors, don't know where they work, where they are from, and DON'T CARE.

Not a bad thing, and not bad people. But society has changed. People keep to themselves. They have the internet for "social" interaction. They move often and don't set down roots like many years ago.

The #1 issue, IMO, is folks are just too busy with work. Both parents work, their kids have all kinds of activities. This is all they can do to keep up with their busy lives and then come home and sleep and eat. No time for neighbors, friends.

If you had a BBQ, most probably would not show up...just because they are too busy. They might not want to become friends with neighbors, as they know they have no time to commit to a friendship, just not a minute to spare.

I bet most of these neighbors didn't even know the former owners of your home. Things are just different these days.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Regardless what indeed happened, or even in perception what had happened, it was over. Remember, the seller is history, now you are the new neighbors; this is a new chapter for the neighborhood.

Based on what you said, it seems the previous owners were obnoxious. May be the neighbors are so afraid of the new owners (you) would be same horrible that they would rather stay away. Similar situation happened to us. The previous owner of our current house and the next door neighbor took each other to court. It took a while for the next door neighbors warmed up to us.

If I were you, I would proactively being very friendly with everyone in the neighborhood. You should have some amount of experience being a "new kid on the block" while growing up. You have small kids; it would open all kinds of opportunities, such as setting up play dates for kids, inviting their parents over for coffee; picking up their kids from schools or activities when the parents are not available..etc.

You can also volunteer to watch for neighbors houses, pick their mails and newspapers while they are away, tons of things you can do.

Have you welcome the neighbors who moved in after you? It takes a good neighbor to make good neighbors.

As cmarline20 suggested, don�t even mentioned your feeling. It is only your feeling, there is no proof. Once you are friends with neighbors, you would learn about all kind of "secrets".

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:39PM
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Can you make friends outside of this little enclave? Can you volunteer outside of your immediate area where you can make friends? Word will filter back that you're worth knowing.

I wonder if you are reading this situation right. Might the realtor who sold you the house have insight? Do you have a religious affiliation where you could ask for help? Do your children attend school with neighbor children? Does the school have a social worker?

I agree that you need to find out WHY other newcomers are welcomed as you have not been. Perhaps another 'newcomer' would be willing to say what she knows of a bias against your family. Otherwise, which resident is the 'dominant force'? You may have to confront him or her with your question. (After all, how could it HURT?)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:50PM
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My advice would be to get outside and be more visible so you can meet more neighbors. Put your dog on a lease and walk him around. Ride bikes or walk with your kids. Visit all of the garage sales and buy a little something. Work in your flower beds. Wash the cars. Wave when people drive by. We've moved a few times. I've found that other people who haven't lived in the area forever tend to be more receptive to making new friends. Locals who have lived there their entire lives already have family and routines so they don't seem to want to make friends as much. Eventually, we make friends with them too.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:31PM
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I agree with the posts above, and make sure you are super friendly to newer neighbors, have them over for BBQs, etc.

Most of the time people aren't completely different in a situation like the closing, so I would be surprised if the previous owners weren't a bit obnoxious in other situations.

I feel sorry for your predicament.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:40PM
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Thank you all for your comments. I can only guess what the POs may have told the neighbors, but I can tell you this with 100% confidence we did not mistreat these people at any point. Yes we had the electrical issues looked at, which they weren't happy with and yes we negotiated the price down...but once the house was inspected, we did not try to negotiate the price down again. We asked that a pipe that was hanging down from the ceiling in the garage be raised to the ceiling (baseboard heating for a 'room' that used to be in the garage). During our walk-through, the pipe was still hanging there...when we asked the REA about it...she almost seemed scared to mention it to the POs...she did say they felt like between the minor electrical fix ($250) and this pipe (maybe $200) they felt like we were asking too much.

I was a bit flabbergasted because here I thought we were the naive new homeowners getting taken advantage of and not negotiating enough.

In hindsight, I should have just left these things alone. I think the price drop of the house alone...killed them and they didn't want to do anything else. The house had been on the market for a while and a previous deal had fallen through.

When we first moved in...I didn't know the neighbors were holding a grudge against us until after waving and saying hello several times was met with blank stares. It didn't take too long for me to realize they were purposely NOT waving or saying hello (these neighbors are directly next door to us and POs good friends).

Also, walking with my daughter one day...I bumped into a few other moms with their little ones and they said hello and engaged in brief conversation, but no warm and fuzzy welcome or 'let's get the kids together. I think they felt like they HAD to say hello and chat for 2 min because I approached them.

If I had a BBQ...they would most certainly not come. We're well beyond that ever happening. And we've never once been invited to anything. There are a couple of friendly neighbors. Two to be exact...they're both a bit older than us, but I'm grateful that they are always kind.

When a new family moved in across the street...I bought a 'welcome' card and a box of cookies from a local bakery. I knocked on their door and said hello, introduced myself and said I just wanted to welcome them and good luck! Now, I may be just reading into things...but both husband and wife stood there and looked at me like I three heads. And they seemed a bit standoffish to me. The first thing I thought was...can it be that in the few weeks they've been here that someone has already said to them...stay away from those people. And what the heck can these people be saying. I'm really concerned that something minor has been turned into stories that are not even true.

I never spoke to those new people again. I've seen them outside their house doing yard work or when I'm driving by and they never wave, etc. Honestly, I've given up. I feel like these 'adults' all with children, should be ashamed of their behavior. I'd be happy just with a friendship. They've made a point to make us not feel welcome and the message has been received loud and clear.

I've never communicated any of this to anybody on the block, nor will I ever. I sound whiny, I know. And I'm an adult...I shouldn't care. But like I mentioned in my previous post...because I have children, it bothers me. My daughter starts school in September and I'm hoping I'll meet some nice people from the neighborhood when I become more active in school activities. Until then, I'll just worry about my 75x150 space.

Thanks for listening to my very long story and letting me complain a bit :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:07PM
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Some information is missing here. Why were the former owners so mad at you, enough that they were cursing at you at closing? Have you reached out and tried to talk to the neighbors?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:09PM
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If everyone on your block, including the new people, seem to get along great together but don't want to be around you..... I'm sorry, it isn't them, it's you.

Unless you live in a bizarro universe, your neighbors don't rush out and tell anyone who moves in that you are horrible and that they should shun you. You brought them cookies and they "seemed a bit standoffish", so you never spoke to them again? And they are the childish ones?

You've bumped into other moms - ok... They talked to you, but had the gall to not immediately make a play-date? That means they hate you?

If you want to be friends with your neighbors, make an effort. Smile, wave, talk to them. Definitely get involved with the school so their kids will get to know you. Relationships take time to develop, but they usually don't just happen on their own

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:44PM
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Hi Bill...everything you're saying about me, I've said myself. I've been living here for 3 years now...and I have tried to do all the things you mentioned. At some point though, I think I have to get the hint. I'm never unfriendly. I see a neighbor...I wave. I think I'm being way too sensitive...true. I don't feel like people need to jump to schedule play dates, etc. Nor do I think because I bought someone some cookies...that they should fall at my feet and be my friend. I only mention these things to cite a few examples that I have been trying.

I'm definitely going to get involved when school starts. It's much harder when the young ones are not in school. Also, I work full time, so my children are in daycare and we're not home all day to get out and try to mingle with everyone on the block during the day.

thanks for your honesty.

Also, when I say the 'whole block', I'm talking about a group of 5 or 6 houses of our immediate neighbors...they are a tight-knit group. So, I kind of get it. Maybe people are just not into socializing. Or maybe it is me.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:00PM
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Do you have other friends? Hang out with them instead.

You say your kids are in daycare, don't they have friends there? Socialize with their friends' parents.

You seem to be attached to being 'friends' with these people whose only common thread with you (possibly) is that you live in close proximity. Whoopee. Join a club, take a class. Meet other people.

It's entirely possible that the previous owners feel that you wronged them and turned everyone against you. Are the neighbors poisoning your animals or your plants? Threatening legal action? Harassing you or your family in any other way? As long as the neighbors aren't actively taking it out on you, who gives a rat's a**? There are so many bigger and better things to spend your time on than those people. Seriously.

You feel bad for your kids, but it's a good lesson for them. Welcome to the world, kiddos, not everyone is nice, sometimes through no fault of your own people are mean to you, and the best you can teach them is how to rise above it and not stoop to that level.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:16PM
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Beware, below! I'm painting with a broad brush and making some sweeping generalization. Ymmv.

Something is not adding up, so I have to ask:

What size city/town are we talking about? Where (approx) in the country are you?

Did you move into this place from elsewhere?

I ask because, while it's a shrinking planet, parts of the country are still pretty small-minded. If you're not from "around here", people can take years, even decades, to warm up to you. My mom moved to my (small) hometown when she married my dad 35 years ago, and she's still an 'outsider'. I now live in a much larger city, but people are still wary of new folks. We Midwesterners are like that sometimes.

Since you haven't volunteered, I won't even speculate if there's other prejudices going on. (Race, religion, class, etc.) No one wants to admit it, but it's all still going strong in our fabulous nation.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:23PM
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We do have lots of friends (from different towns and through work) that are lifelong friends. I guess I had high expectations of what being a new homeowner would be like. I hoo for me.

I have socialized with parents from daycare, but our daycare is approx 20 miles from home (near work)...and most of the families we've met live around that area...but we do attend parties and try to set up play dates when we can.

Nobody is poisoning animals or plants. I should be grateful that the only thing they are doing is ignoring us. No harassing going on.

I live on Long Island (Nassau County). LI is no different than the midwest. In many towns, mine included, people are born, raised, educated, married, kids, etc all in the same town. So, although I'm from NY...i'm not originally from this town, so I am an outsider. I didn't go to HS or college with all these maybe it will take more work and more time...maybe forever!

Sorry...also, we're all the same race, class (i think?) and religion...not sure of, but I believe most are Christian and so are we.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:34PM
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Before we went to contract we asked that two things be addressed 1) extension cords which were snaked though walls be removed and several sockets were missing the guts and wires were just hanging out 2) a baseboard heating unit (two pipes with heating unit attached) were hanging down from the ceiling in our garage in the middle of the room. We asked that the pipes be raised up off the ground.

Fast forward to day of closing and our walk through. Electrical stuff done. Pipes still hanging from the ceiling. REA said we should just let it go. Which we should have. I didn't know what that the lady of the house would flip her lid when she heard we wanted this fixed.

She was in the parking lot cursing saying she was not coming in to closing and asking what more do these people want from me? She finally came in, but was rude and obnoxious the whole time. Her husband was very polite and tried to calm her down several times...even telling her to 'shut up!' at one point.

So, if asking for those two things was two things too much...then I'm guilty. We're dummies for not listening and should have just let it go. Believe me...I wish we had.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:40PM
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You weren't dumb. I would have insisted those items be fixed or I would have walked away. The woman sounds like a nut-job.

If these neighbors are her friends, you don't need them. Move on...


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 5:05PM
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I think Badgergirl nailed it. If you aren't from there you are and always will be an outsider. We ran into that in IL. We never met any of our neighbors till it was time for us to move and then they only came by cause they wanted to know who we sold the house to.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 5:42PM
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Oh man...if it weren't for this damn real estate market we'd be gone! Looks like times will be tough for years and years to I may be stuck for a while.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:01PM
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I don't see that times will be tough. So you don't have any close neighbors as friends. Big deal! It's only a problem if you make it one. Remember you can't change anyone else, but you can and should change your expectations and reactions. At least they aren't actively trying to make your life miserable.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:08PM
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I think you want to model positive behavior for your kids. Make sure they have plenty of good interactions with other people who aren't from the neighborhood. And for yourself, put on a smile and find people outside of the neighborhood clique. Living well is the best revenge and more to the point, it's living well. When you're really getting enjoyment out of life, things don't bug as badly.

If it's really really eating you up, it might not hurt to talk to a therapist. Some outside validation and being coached past this might be helpful.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:16PM
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You're not talking about hell here, your'e talking heaven!I've lived next door to the neighbor who sits in her yard watching all of the coming's and going and knew more about some families social life than they did. I've also lived in a Peyton Place kind of drama hood where affairs were going on right and left and the constant subject of gossip. Then there were the way too friendly bikers who lived at the end of the street where my college girlfriends and I rented a big old house together. I wish we had had the money to break that lease! Neighbor friendliness is way over rated.

And, I have to say that you are being MUCH too senstive over this. (Which kinda makes me wonder if that's the issue, because lots of folks are creeped out by someone who's hypersensitive and socially awkward) As long as you have other friends to spend time with or worthwhile activities to fill your time, who cares that they don't wave. They're not calling the cops on you every time you listen to the radio or firebombing your garage, so count your blessings.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:41PM
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...yes, I'd rather this than Peyton Place, so for that, I'm very grateful!

I probably am being sensitive. Before I had kids, I wouldn't give a rats a$$ about something like this...but I kind of wanted my kids to friends on our block that they might have through school, etc. yes, my expectations are high. When I was a kid, all the kids on my block were friends...I'm still friends with them to this day. I know they'll meet kids at school - so, that will have to do. I don't think I'm socially awkward or need to see a therapist, but I really do appreciate everyone's candor.

Sometimes you need to just vent and feel sorry for yourself (like I'm doing on this board) and have someone say...'get over it' (like you're all doing for me) :)

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 9:37PM
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And...are they still your friends? (Maybe you're one of the few folks who is still friends with people they've known since they were three?)

I don't think it matters whether the kids your kids play with/are friends with live next door or they know them from preschool. As long as they have some, they'll be fine.

I *had* to play with the neighbor kids and invite them to my bd parties,etc., and hated. Every. Single. Minute. Of. It.

Yeah, I'd say get over it. As someone else said, they're not worth it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Hi Happygrl...

I'm from Upstate NY and can tell you things aren't much different here than there (or many other places).

I do think in general every neighborhood has a "tone". You may or may not have accurately identified yours. The question is how will you deal with it.

Three years ago we moved out of the largest development in the largest suburb in the County. I'm convinced The art of nosy neighbors was born and raised there and would drive most crazy. It was horrible for anyone who did not want to become a part of it (us). I also think the breed of parent who thought their kid could do no wrong was born there as well....

We lived there 10 years and saw many people come in after us and join the clique. At the same time we saw many people come in after us and leave within a few years because of the clique.

My wife tried the "welcome" thing with new neighbors and it failed in all but one case.

Our new neighborhood is much more reserved and many people don't look or wave either. I don't see many cliques, but there are a couple. Most people keep to themselves - including and especially the people with young kids.

Example... Our nearest neighbors drive into their garage and shut the door before getting out of the car. They won't make eye contact when we are both out cutting grass either. At the same time they keep their place respectable, are very quiet and bother no one. I hate to say this but in my view they are the perfect neighbor. Not that it matters but they do not have kids.

Our daughter would not of had friends in the old neighborhood and in all likelihood won't here either unless someone moves in.

I don't know what our next neighborhood will bring but in way of neighbors and friendliness, in all honesty, as long as the neighborhood is safe and decent - I've learned that I don't really care.

In all probability our daughter (and perhaps your children) will make friends in school with kids in different neighborhoods. The immediate neighbors may or may not impact her social life.

As already stated, in many cases, people don't have time for much more than a wave and sometimes would just rather keep to themselves (i.e. not make eye contact & wave) as not to ever have the risk of ruffling feathers. The litigious society we live in may or may not have something to do with that.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 6:56AM
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It is interesting reading more about the details. Our neighborhood is very anti-social. I think because nearly everyone works outside the home. When one neighbor moved in about 6 years ago, they tried very hard to establish relationships. For awhile, I tried too (to be friendly with them) but I was just too busy and my priorities didn't involve the neighbors (even though they were nice people). I think they are mad at me now. What is really sad is the neighbors on the other side of us - are just like us. We're near the same age and we both have two young boys. Our boys have played together one time. The other mom and I both comment on how we should do more together but we don't.

Anway...I think it will get better once your child starts school.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 7:57AM
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I'm sorry things are not up to your expectations. I'm guessing that may be part of the key - the expectations you had. They may still come to be, but will probably take some time and may not be with those people you think it should be. Keep doing what you've done etc, but don't expect people to all respond. We all have different personalities.

As have been mentioned here there are so many different reasons for people acting the way they are. You may need to stop thinking about taking it personally as it is very likely it is not. Could be that the feeling you think is there is coming through when you interact with people and it is picked up on unconciously by people so they respond to that.

I know it is hard when you've got this nagging feeling, but give it a try to let go of that feeling. May just be your personality is different than others, different interests, different schedules, and another million different things.

I'm guessing if these neighbor houses that you're mentioning were friends of the other couple and with the way the woman acted it doesn't sound like she has all skrews in the right place as to appropriate behavior. Are you sure if they were friends you really want to be friends with them?

Also if it were true that the previous owners of your house did say something to these people, I doubt that I'd want close minded friends like that anyways that will just go by what somebody else says and not find out for their self, so it may be that you have been spared from dealing with something you didn't want.

Start looking for new and open doors as there is likely a good reason the closed ones are closed, but you may never find out why, or you may and then realize that it was a good thing they were.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:00AM
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A lot of what you have written seems to be about what other people have or have not done to you. What I am not hearing is all the things you have done in an attempt to facilitate relationships. I'd be willing to bet what you view as being "iced out" is just that everyone is sorta in their own rut/schedule, and until there is an overlap with you of some sort, you are not in the forefront of their minds.

My recommendation:

Take the initiative.

Set up play-dates for your kids. Have the parents over for coffee / beer while they play. Better yet, offer to watch their kids so they can go out on a "date night".

Invite another house over for dinner (next door neighbors would be a good start).

Better yet, make dinner for another household; no strings attached. We started doing this and it turned into a neighborhood thing where we all end up making dinners for each other, just to break us out of our normal routine and try new things. This is especially true when new neighbors come in or if someone has a baby (though you might want to wait a week or two). You might want to ask them first if there is anything they do not like.

Speaking of new neighbors, be sure to welcome them personally. On their first days make sure they know who you are and how to contact you if they need anything. When it comes to unpacking, sometimes it is easier to borrow something than mount a search through a mountain of boxes.

Host a neighborhood happy hour or party.

You may not become best buds with everyone, but I am fairly sure you will develop the relationships that you are looking for.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 9:15PM
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You poor thing! I can imagine how you feel! You brought your neighbors cookies and they looked at you like you had three heads. I brought my neighbors cookies and they brought me back a homemade birdhouse to thank me. I can see you're trying. And I understand why you'd be upset. You move into a neighborhood, especially your first place, and you have all these happily ever after dreams about what it's going to be like--the kids riding bicycles down the sidewalk, mothers chatting over a backyard fence, husbands borrowing tools.... That's a wonderful thing that you envision and dream about!

I don't think you're imagining the cold shoulder. When I moved from a place one time, my neighbors loved me so much that they never accepted the new neighbors who moved in. That was about nine years ago and when I talk to my old neighbors, to this day, they still make remarks about the new people. The "new" people! The new people have been living there longer than I did! Neighborhoods can become like families and it's almost like a divorce when people come and go, especially if there was anything negative involved. Hey, you did the right thing asking for those things to be fixed if you wanted them fixed but you can't blame the sellers for complaining about it because buyers and sellers are on different sides, so to speak. Also, neighborhoods can be like gangs. There's always a dominant one and a low-man on the totem pole. I think you've been categorized. Like the kid who gets ignored or picked-on in school. BUT I don't think you should give up! Don't let anyone put you in that category! I would keep trying to kill them with kindness.

Is your property clean? One of the things my old neighbors hate about those "new" people is they don't take care of the place as well as I did. It's not bad, but it's not like how I kept it. People can be real sticklers about that.

Here, if this makes you feel any better: a few years ago I moved to a place next door to people who were known as "the Evils." They vandalized us, robbed us, harassed us, spread rumors about us, poisoned our dogs, and the husband assaulted me with a hammer. It's been five years and I am still sick over it.

You can get through this. Pick a couple of people who seem like they will be most receptive and work on them. I can tell you're a nice person and they will too.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:32PM
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BTW, I missed the part about the cookies above. So you are trying. Keep at it.

There are only a few things I can add.

One, moving forward you might need to reset your current attitude. I'm not saying "attitude" as a negative, but I think you need a fresh start. You need to assume and believe that you are not black-balled by your neighbors and act accordingly. If you expect that you are going to be treated poorly by a person, they may pick up on this fear and, unconsciously, treat you exactly as you fear they would. When talking with your neighbors, think "clean slate".

Second, maybe it would be best to work on ideas that require a response. For example, instead of bringing something over, ask a neighbor to come over for dinner / kids playdate / etc.

As an aside, it took 5 years for us to start integrating with our neighborhood. Not out of malice and whatnot ... it just took that long for things to start to "click". Now we are doing things together all the time. Heck, we will soon be going on vacation with a bunch of neighbors!

Good luck and hang in there.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 12:39AM
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You have neighbors who speak English, like you do? Wow. If my dog gets loose and I am driving around the neighborhood looking for him, and I stop and ask someone out in his yard if he has seen a brown dog on the loose, all I ever get in reply is a friendly shrug, two hands turned up toward the sky and "sorry, no English."

Really, though, I know what you would like in a neighborhood. We had something like that in our last place. We had 7 or 8 houses who all got along, met twice a year for a celebration (summer barbecue at Paul or Stephanie's house, Holiday party at Ed and Joanne's), watched out for each other, snow-blowed our whole end of the block for each other, borrowed tools, chopped down trees together, and chatted outside when doing gardening. We ranged in age from young families with infants, newly married young couples, single middle aged lady (with whatever boyfriend she had at the time), two middle aged couples with no kids, and three houses with retired people who lived in their houses since they were built in the 1950s. We had about 5 good years together before divorces, people moving out of state or across town, and foreclosures ruined everything. It was nice while it lasted.

Here, across town in the land of Babel, we are okay with not knowing many people. I am looking forward to meeting the new neighbors across the street. They are Asian and I hope someone there has English so that I can at least welcome them. It is so cool to see folks wearing turbans, flowing cotton robes, saris, and women all in black with scarves covering their hair walking in our neighborhood. Often, younger women are walking with their older mothers or mothers-in-law. A Chinese couple walk by early each morning. African American teens walk by, and little kids from all cultures ride past on bikes or skateboards. Young men of every culture hang out in the driveways shooting hoops. We actually have a sari store at the corner shopping center three blocks away. You can get food from any continent in our town. The variety of houses of worship boggles the mind. If you hold a garage sale or have any construction going on at your house, neighbors will stop and talk for a few minutes. People are generally friendly, but not close-knit. It is nice.

In my experience, it is good to have a friendly atmosphere, and I commend you for trying to make that happen for you. For whatever reason, it did not work for you where you live. Remember that a cold shoulder is at least not malicious. Close-knit neighbors have more opportunity for socializing, but you also have more opportunity for anger at each other, which is far worse than indifference. In our old neighborhood I watched the wife from the third young couple throwing her self at the husband of the second young couple (after his wife left), and I hear that the bachelor who moved in after the husband of the second couple was transferred to Tennessee ended up living with the wife of the first young couple after she and her husband broke up. She is now married to someone I don't know, and is hanging out and drinking at the house where couple #2 and (after them) the bachelor lived before his house was foreclosed on. The couple now in that house have very bad manners and have engines roaring and music blaring late at night, according to my renters. Our older widow next door is in Assisted Living, the older couple's husband died last winter (the Christmas party folks), and the single middle aged lady lost her house to foreclosure. It was a fleeting moment in time, our little happy neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 12:29AM
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Happygirl, it's not you. I have to disagree a little bit with some of the other posts, just a bit anyway. If you bring over a card and cookies to a new neighbor, and you are met by a rude stare and silence, that tells you right there that someone has put the word out on you. The thing is, I've lived all over the country, and you run into places like this. It could be the old neighbors were part of the local congregation, or their kids were popular in sports, or the mom was the favorite member of the PTA. Whatever it is, the neighbors now regard you and yours as interlopers. Deep down, the neighbors probably have some issues that the old neighbors understood better - or were party to. As the poet put it - "The mortal sickness of a mind too unhappy to be kind".

Kudos to you for trying to fit in, but after being rebuffed repeatedly, you no longer bear any obligation to try again. Join a club, get the kids involved in karate or something, and leave your neighbors to drown in the morass of their own pettiness.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 4:16AM
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Happygirl, sorry for your trouble. The former owners of your house seem so nasty, I can't believe they would have many friends. Anyway, it seems like they left their house in a state of disrepair, so if you lived in my neighborhood, I would be thrilled that a young family moved in who would fix up the house.

I currently have a lot of older people on the block and despite the huge tax break they get, there are a few of them that just let their house go (except for cutting the lawn).

Don't worry about your kids-I didn't see many kids in the neighborhood when my son was born 10 years ago. Now, after having lived here that long, there is a boy 1 year younger than him a half a block away, a group of kids a little older than him another half block away, and he has friends from school within a short driving distance.

My 6 year old daughter is starting to make more friends now that she has started school in the neighborhoold as well.

When they were younger, I would take them to classes at the park district, free classes at the library, a lot of parks in the summer, etc. My point is don't worry too much about finding friends for them--kids seem to be more outgoing now, and will find their own.

Now, back to the cold reception you've gotten, it seems like something out of a bad Lifetime movie. Have you googled the previous owners and found out anything about them and/or the house? I would find out as much as I can.
Did the house have a mysterious past?

Also, maybe ask a neighbor for a recommnedation on an electrician, painter, etc. People seem to always know someone to recommend for home improvement.

Like others have said, neighborhoods are not like before. I grew up with a bunch of kids, no one more than 5 years apart. We played outside all summer (to the conseternation of the older neighbors). This was before all the activities and computers and videogames took over.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 7:20AM
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"killing them with kindness" does seem to work in this situation, but I find that very difficult to do - especially if you never did anything to them and they are actually holding a grudge against you.

You can always try this. I have a neighbor that lives about 4 houses away, and they would drive past my house while I was out working in the yard. I would always wave at them, and they never waved back. First I thought they just didn't see me. Then I realized they were just too lazy or too unfriendly to wave.

So you know what I did? The next time they drove past, I actually flipped them off and had a big smile on my face. Haha! They about broke their necks looking back at me as they drove past. The next time I saw them, I waved, and they quickly waved back! We have been waving to each other ever since! We still don't hang out or know anything about each other, but at least we have the friendly waves. I just find it really funny the way it came about.

I'm sure that wasn't the best approach, but in this case it worked. If they had confronted me about it, I would have said something like, "well, you didn't respond to a friendly wave, I figured you might want to be flipped off instead".

All you can do is be yourself. There are a lot of people out there who live in their own little world, and they could care less about you. Their "unfriendliness" may not be directed at you at all - it may be the way they treat everyone - so don't take it so personally. I hope you can make a few friends there and you can find more enjoyment from your neighborhood.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 9:36AM
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Dragontree wrote: If you bring over a card and cookies to a new neighbor, and you are met by a rude stare and silence,

But this is what the OP said about bringing the cookies to the new neighbors:
When a new family moved in across the street...I bought a 'welcome' card and a box of cookies from a local bakery. I knocked on their door and said hello, introduced myself and said I just wanted to welcome them and good luck! Now, I may be just reading into things...but both husband and wife stood there and looked at me like I three heads. And they seemed a bit standoffish to me.

Also, about the encounter with other mothers and children: Also, walking with my daughter one day...I bumped into a few other moms with their little ones and they said hello and engaged in brief conversation, but no warm and fuzzy welcome or 'let's get the kids together. I think they felt like they HAD to say hello and chat for 2 min because I approached them.

What I am reading is that the neighbor's reactions don't live up to the OP's expectations of how they should act. I don't think that the neighbors are being particularly rude. She may have caught the new neighbors off guard when she came over with the cookies. She has no idea what they were doing before she knocked on the door. Maybe they were in the middle of an argument. Maybe they had just received a phone call with bad news.

I think that the OP just has to let go of all of her expectations of how her neighbors should behave and just accept the situation for how it is.
I have a daughter that really strugges with people and events not living up to her expectations. She could never relax and enjoy her birthday parties, because she had high expectations of how her guests would act towards her, and it never lived up to her expectations. She is almost 25 now, and has really learned to lighten up and enjoy life more as it comes, but she is a planner, and it's hard to make other people act according to her plan.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 12:16PM
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Hi Happygirl, I am so sorry you are dealing with such jerks. If I had brought over a welcoming card and cookies and the people stared at me like I had 3 heads, I think I would have wanted to disappear. That is incredibly rude and thoughtless.

The fact that they invite new neighbors to BBQs and don't associate with your kids tells you everything you need to know, THEY ARE RUDE, and avoiding you. I don't think you are being too sensitive or imagining it. You live there, and I am sure your feelings are more accurate than our guesses.

I say leave the jerks alone. Don't talk to any of them. Put a few plastic flamingoes out on the front lawn, and see if they come talk to you. And when you can move, sell to the biggest family of noisy kids, slobs, or hoodlums you can find.

Seriously, I've lived with neighbors like this once. The only thing you can do is stay away from them, they won't change and aren't likely to respond to your attempts to be nicer. I tried once myself, and all I got was an increasingly cold shoulder. We sent out BBQ invites, the neighbors wouldn't come. I volunteered at the school, and got ignored. Finally word got back to us that since we "weren't from around here", we were not their kind of folks. When we left that neighborhood, we offered the buyer move in assistance (and a lower price) so that a single mom (a street minister) with fourteen kids and foster children was able to move in.

When the neighbors got wind of the sale they formed a committee to ask us to stay. It was the first time in two years we'd been there they had talked to us. Of course, it was too late.

The minister told us they don't like her or her kids, either. But her kids all play together, so who needs the neighbors?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 8:54PM
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Cas66ragtop, that is the funniest thing! I love it!

Sarasava, that's a good one too. Serves them right!

Where is Happygirl?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 11:46PM
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beachlily z9a

To the OP--I do understand your problem!

Probably nine years ago my next door neighbor moved into their new home. I went over maybe 2 weeks later with a hot tray of home-made cinnamon rolls. The lady told me to set them down so she could show me the Christmas tree decorations they had gotten from their Michigan friends. Never said a word about the cinnamon rolls, and never a thank you. Nine years later, we speak when we see each other, but we don't socialize and don't visit each others home. I find it odd, but what do I know?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 9:36AM
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I am laughing so hard at some of these responses, I hope the OP is too.

One more thought. On the face of it, it seems strange that the previous owners could be such jerks and also be popular with the neighborhood. But the more I think about it, I've seen similar situations at work. Bullies are often popular, especially if they're outgoing and some people with a strong bully streak are very good at hiding it until crossed. It wouldn't surprise me if that's what's going on.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 11:12AM
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I think terriks' points are good ones. Move on with your life. You have a life, you do not have to socialize with the 5 or 6 neighbors who've chosen not do do so with you. Life is too short. Don't get hung up on these people. Be polite, do not make things worse.

Make new friends with different people, maybe the next block over or whatever. Hang out with your lifelong or adult life friends.

When your kids get to school they will be exposed to many other children than the few on your immediate block.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 6:59PM
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I can't relate because I do not live in a neighborhood. When we first moved and my now 21 yr. DD was born, I wanted to live in one so badly. DH would not. We have a large wooded property, 2 semi-neighbors. Everyone waves, we do not BBQ together or anything else together. We do watch out if another's pet is loose. However, the point is my worry that DD would have no one to play with was met with a very reasonable and extremely valid point by DH. We chose who DD hung out with for as long as she had to be driven to a play date. She didn't suffer, she had many play dates with kids of families we met through the school, etc. Best decision I've ever not made was not to live in a "neighborhood"! LOL DH made the decision and I am so thankful he did!

We have loads of friends, but our neighbors are just people who happen to live on properties near ours, as we are all living on 3 or more acre lots. We can't even really see one another's homes in the summer when the trees are full of leaves!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 7:11PM
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