You might not be able to identify your nosy neighbor at first. You're new to the neighborhood, meeting people and getting acquainted. You share information about where you and your spouse work, ages of your children and normal conversational topics.
Your first nosy-neighbor red flag is that every time you're outside your house, this neighbor appears. Next are the intrusive questions, like, "So how much do they pay you at that engineering firm?" Yikes! Now he's gone beyond being just an unwelcome shadow.
Nosy Neighbor Deflection Techniques
Try these techniques for how to deal with nosy neighbors to get them to bug off.
- Don't answer invasive questions. Change the subject and redirect the conversation.
- Be very direct. Nicely tell him that you really don't want to get into that topic.
- Hide out. Okay, this is kind of wimpy and inconvenient, but sometimes you may resort to avoiding Mr. Nosy.
- Define boundaries. The first few techniques may not work. Some people simply don't have healthy boundaries and see nothing wrong with being in your business, no matter how intrusive. You may need to tell him you think he's being nosy and that you don't care to interact with him anymore.
Beyond Nosy: What If He's Spying on Me?
Suppose one day you see this nosy neighbor in his house looking toward your home with binoculars or a telescope. He could be an avid bird watcher or amateur astronomer, but chances are he's spying. One day you catch him tiptoeing over, cupping his hands to your windows and looking directly into your home. Your neighbor has gone from "nosy" to the "spying on you" category, and you need to do something about it.
If this is an annoying but moderate case of the overly curious, here are two defensive techniques you can try:
- Close your drapes and blinds. You'll have less light, but you may deter the spying.
- Do some strategic planting. Again, you might be sacrificing some of your view, but taller plants like shrubs will block your spying neighbor's line of sight.
What If It's More Serious?
If your spy is doing the same thing to other neighbors, it's a neighborhood issue. But if you feel like you're the target of spying on the level of invading your privacy, call the authorities. This could become a matter of your family's safety. If you don't have a home security system, install one immediately.
Some signs to look for in your nosy neighbor are:
- You're missing mail or this person brings you pieces of mail he says were delivered to him by accident.
- If any of your doors or windows look like they've been tampered with, call the police immediately. If this neighbor has tried to break into your house, he may be trying to steal from you. He could also be dangerous and may intend to cause you and your family harm.