Dear Vitamin C –
Lately my next-door neighbor has been acting cold towards me. In the past we have had a very friendly relationship and as far as I know nothing has happened to warrant this change in behavior. Most of the time she just ignores me and if I say Hi she seems expressionless or acts like she doesn’t hear me. The other day she waved and said “Hi!” as if nothing ever happened, which felt a little crazy making. I’ve decided to just ignore her altogether but I am curious to hear what you think is the best way to handle my not so friendly neighbor?
Dealing with “Not so friendly neighbor”
Dear Dealing with…
If you enjoy being a friendly person you shouldn’t give that up based on another’s not so friendly treatment of you. Lowering your standards based on others can leave you feeling bad about yourself. Feeling good about how you are moving through life particularly handling yourself well in an awkward situation can significantly increase your self-esteem. Also, you may be mistaken in assuming your neighbor’s sudden aloofness is about you. She may just be distracted, lost in thought or facing challenges of her own that is resulting in her not being so friendly. (I have been guilty of this myself and I consider myself a very friendly neighbor). Checking out the reason for her behavior before acting on a story you may have made up for explaining her behavior is a more thoughtful way to proceed with your neighbor – or anyone else in your life.
A good resource discussing why we make up stories and the benefits of checking them out rather than acting on them is “Rising Strong” by Brené Brown.
Yours, Vitamin C