How do I handle a neighbour getting too comfortable in my apartment?

Aneesa - posted on 02/26/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I moved into an apartment about a year ago and it so happens that the neighbour's 2 girls are the same age as my 2. Initially I was thankful that my 4 year old could play with someone her own age and not be so bored during the cold season.

Since the beginning of winter, she has been coming over with her kids from 5pm right until 9pm almost every evening. But then I noticed that she would just help herself to yoghurts, smoothies, fruit and whatever I was cooking for dinner. She would open my fridge and then just ask her daughters if they wanted something and then proceed to open the package and give them.

I tried hinting by saying that I am going to BJ's tomorrow and if she wanted a pack of Danimals smoothies then I could get it for her since I found it cheapest there. She then exclaims "Oh it has too much of sugar". So I don't understand why she would even offer it to them in the first place if that was the reason why she wasn't buying it. Thankfully after that she stopped opening my fridge and helping herself to dairy snacks.

But she still helps herself to fruit or whatever is on the kitchen counter. I usually give the kids snacks while I am preparing dinner. She would walk in and immediately her kids attack whatever is left in the bowl.... raisins, cheese crackers, fruit etc.

I have realised since that she never ever cooks (don't know what her husband eats when he gets home from work!). I am a SAHM and she is a WAHM who has a nanny looking after her kids while she is working so I am pretty budget conscious but at the same time make sure that my fridge and grocery cupboards are adequately stocked. As soon as her nanny leaves, she is here at my door with her hungry kids!

As soon as I go to her place with my kids, she would quickly make an excuse and come over to my apartment. Last night I made fries and steak with corn and her daughters were getting ready to sit and eat dinner. She then proceeds to take out some fries for them as though it was her dinner table. I had to tell them its our dinner time and family time since she decided to make herself comfortable in the living room and read a book to her kids while we ate dinner.

If her kids are having a nap she would stop my daughter from entering her home yet if my little one is napping she just wouldn't leave my place even if I inform her that she is asleep.

She has no qualms about telling us to leave in less than 10 minutes when we try to go over to her place.

She constantly hovers over me while I am cooking asking silly questions like how to cook corn or make an egg! All the while she just wants me to offer her some of what I am making.

Apologies for the long rant but I have no idea how to handle someone that is so stingy to feed her own kids and comes over for a free meal every day!

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Chet - posted on 03/06/2014

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If she has no problem telling you to leave I imagine that she assumes you would reciprocate, and would tell her to leave if you wanted her to go. It really sounds like she is more of a direct person, and that you're expecting her to pick up on hints when that's not how she communicates.

Do you really think she is stingy and mooching, or is it possible she enjoys the company and assumes that you don't mind (since you haven't told her otherwise)?

Michelle - posted on 02/26/2014

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Have you spoken to her about it?
Maybe she doesn't know how to cook. Let her know that you can't have her over every night, tell her only on weekends or a couple of nights that suit you. Also let her know that you would like her to go home when you serve dinner as it's family time. I know you have told her about family time but it doesn't sound like you have asked her to leave.

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