Nosy neighbors - we all have at least one don’t we? It seems that every time you go outside to check the mail, there they are pretending to prune hedges that do not need pruning. Have friends over for dinner and you can be sure that they will be sitting somewhere within earshot, listening in on your private conversations. So how can you deal with a neighbor that just doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘privacy’?
As a first step, it would be wise to try to deal with a nosy neighbor delicately; after all you do have to live next door to this person. Try sending them an anonymous letter explaining that you do not appreciate the unwanted attention that they are paying you. Don’t worry about being caught out, chances are that you are not the only person they have been annoying.
If their nosy behavior continues, drop hints in conversation. Bring up something you saw on the ‘news’. For example – ‘I saw this interesting report on the news today that over 60% of all homeowners have problems with neighbors invading their privacy.’ You are not being rude or confrontational, you are just letting them know that they need to mind their own business.
Some nosy neighbors just thrive on the attention that you give them. If they can see their actions have an effect on you, they will keep trying to get under your skin. The best way to deal with these kinds of people is to simply ignore them. You will be surprised to find that many nosy neighbors will get bored and look for someone else to annoy.
Block Their View
A fence is a great way to shield your property from unwanted attention. However, your local authorities may have regulations prohibiting you from building a fence above a certain height, so make sure you aren’t breaching any laws before you start building.
Planting a row of tall trees will have the same effect as a fence. Better still, trees are much nicer to look at and they don’t require council approval to plant.
You should only confront your neighbor as a last resort. If you have dropped several hints, blocked their view, ignored them and they simply don’t get the message then it’s time to confront them. The most important thing to keep in mind is to not get aggressive; tell them ‘I don’t appreciate being watched 24/7. Mind your own business or I WILL file a restraining order’. There’s a time to be polite, but when somebody crosses your boundaries it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy!
Put on a Show!
If you are the adventurous type, you can give your neighbor the show of a lifetime! Start playing bongo drums in your backyard, tap dance in your living room, dress up in a panda suit and attempt to have an ordinary conversation with your nosy neighbor. After a stunt like this your neighbor will be too embarrassed to meet your eye. Just don’t get too crazy, you don’t want the police knocking on your door!
These are only five suggestions for dealing with nosy neighbors. If you have any additional tips that were not mentioned in this article, feel free to mention them in the comments section below.
More Articles By James Touleron:
The Logician from now on on April 05, 2016:
Good advice James! You should write some more.
Here is something you can add to your hubpage
Tina Powell on December 31, 2015:
I feel a lot of you with the nosy neighbours mine is video taping us and looking in our windows I want to put up privacy window stuff but the bf wont let me so I have resorted to walking around naked trust me i'm not that small LOL hope she gets a good look and if it's video taped at any time it's called voyeurism and is a punishable offence here in Canada
Jene Betterton on June 03, 2015:
I have a neighbor that cut up my clothes with a knife. My clothes blew over the fence and she put them in front of my back gate. She put about two hundred cockroaches in my yard, she called the cops about ten times on us for nothing. We were never sited for anything, and she killed my cat. I saw her. The cops around here have done nothing to her!! We just found out that she spends three months a year in a mental institution. When I get my way, she will be there PERMANATELY!!!!!!!
James on October 02, 2014:
It is pathetic that all these nosy neighbors have nothing better to do with their time than gossip about a neighbor who does not bother them. They should take a look at themselves and their surroundings and wonder what's missing in their own life that they are busying themselves with someone else's life. People who are victims of these stalking Peeping Toms who invade the peace and privacy of others should get tough and check out the violations they can slam these oddballs with, maybe then they will stop looking in your windows and into your yard and commenting to others how they think your home should look. GET A LIFE ! IM sure you are Not perfect. Some of us work all day or have other obligations beside our lawns, we are not OBSESSED with mowing the lawn every other day. Mind your own business, keep your mouth shut about other people who don't keep their place the way you think it should be, we are not here for you and we don't care about your opinion. Believe it or not, there are things you do too that other people don't like but we are not immature or so silly that we go around telling others. Grow up!
Cathy on September 24, 2014:
I have a 6' privacy fence up that covers my entire yard and the nosy neighbor behind me looks into my yard from his upstairs room and then tells other neighbors if I have anything that he considers junk in my yard. He exaggerates and he is a troublemaker, he is badmouthing us to other neighbors and I am considering legal action. His place is not perfect, it never has been. I never had anything illegal or harmful to others in my yard. As long as I don't have anything harmful to anyone there, it is none of his or anyone else's business.
A privacy fence is just that, it is supposed to be private. I feel like I am being
Stalked by the weirdos in this neighborhood who have nothing better to do than look at my home and then blab to anyone who will listen about it. There is nothing in my yard and this man needs to get a life. Now that I know I am being watched and so is my family, I am no longer comfortable living here.
I am seriously considering moving.
Laura on June 19, 2014:
I think your neighbor is mentally ill. Especially when repeating herself about the 'supposed' animal abuse she's hinting at. ..PLUS she has (way) too much time on her hands. ..this woman needs to GET A LIFE. ..you have my sincere sympathy.
Rebekah on May 29, 2014:
I have a nosy neighbor who lives two houses down from me. She is an old lady who lives with her dog. She never puts her blinds down all the way on her window; she always leaves a little room so she can look out the window. On more than one occasion I have gotten a taxi home because it was winter and the sidewalks were never ploughed so I did not feel safe walking on the road. She would go tell my mom that I have been getting taxis (I'm 20 years old for *** sakes, I only live with family because it's close to college) and asking why I do that. If mom can't drive me then I have no choice, and this neighbor has never offered to give me a ride, so why should she ask what my reason is for getting taxis if she is not going to help me out by at least offering me a ride?
Last night was the worst experience ever. My cat got outside (he only goes outside when he is on his leash) and I saw the nosy neighbor and asked her to help me find my cat, she found him under someone's shed (he was not hiding in any of his usual hiding spots). I thanked her but she then said if I hurt my cat she will call the Humane Society and report me for animal abuse. WTF???? I said that I have had this cat since 2009 and she should know that I have never once hurt that cat (especially since she has seen him out on his leash many times and he is not afraid of me, if I did abuse him he would be afraid of me and not like me at all, animals are afraid of and don't like people who abuse him, and my cat loves me and is always purring and cuddling me, even in front of her) and she should also know that I don't abuse animals. She repeated herself after I said this, she said once again that if I abuse my cat she will call the Humane Society and report me for animal abuse. I then looked at her and snapped that she watches everything that I do so she should know by now that I am not an animal abuser. She then left and I closed my door.
I tried calling her a short while later, but she just snapped that she has heard me yell at my cat before (when he has been bad I have yelled at him, for example, if he starts clawing at the couch - this has happened in the summer and I have had the window open and of course she would be out and listen to everything) and hung up on me.
What I have started doing is taking pictures of people who are nosy and today, while she was gone, I took a picture of her house. When she returns I will take a picture of her car (while she is gone for a walk with her dog and not home) and later, take a picture of her, I don't care what she says, she has video cameras around her house and is ALWAYS looking out her window (I guess nothing good ever comes on TV) and I won't be sharing the picture with anyone except for one person (a friend). This might be immature, but I have tried ignoring and that doesn't work, for some stupid reason the court won't give me a peace order, and she shows video surveillance to her friends (not just about me, of everyone that she sees on video). I don't mean to be stooping down to her level but I don't know what else to do.
People who are nosy are my pet peeve and it's time I fought back.
Ang on May 09, 2014:
My neighbors have made it there business to call up and asked stupid questions like who's car is that in your front yard. Dude its my wife`s car and other just dumb stuff, he has called up and said I noticed your son has been sick more like my daughter noticed, yeah right, just your bored and you have no boundies. I just put a sign outside that says leave us alone and I also dance around in my house listening to loud music and driving around on my drive way in funny ways. I say they can kiss my ass.
denise on May 01, 2014:
HI. I have a neighbour who constantly leaves her back door open to listen to what iam going to do in the house ,i said once i was going to get a range cooker next thing whooops she has one and has the kitchen the same as me i buy things shes looking in and guess what !! yep she has the same a few days later banging music screaming and watching my every move ...now getting a trellis up out the front 24/7 watching who comes in and out upstairs she goes to watch me in the garden .....harrassment order next
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on April 03, 2014:
I hate neighbors like that Shan. Maybe your boyfriend will have a word with him.
\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\shan on April 03, 2014:
My neighbor is a piece of crap listening all day and night. He does not listen to tv or anything - his entertainment is anticipating me next door. My botfriend is moving home tomorrow and wont like that douche at all
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2013:
Hi James, funny but true hub. Yes we have all had at least one neighbour like this. Check out my own hub Nosy Neighbors, a poem I wrote very similar to this.
Michael on July 23, 2013:
An how do you neutralise an elderly Jewish homebound mother-in-law's pesterings? Nearby neighbour.
I have had this problem for over 22 years.
Any tactful practical suggestions welcome. Thanks.
John Harper from Malaga, Spain on June 12, 2013:
Change your windows for mirror glass that reflect his image back at him but still allow you to see out?
Cindy on June 09, 2013:
My neighbor is the worlds worse! He watches the time I come and go, calls any one he can think of to file reports against me, video tapes and snaps photos. Looks over fence and watches us or hides behind the fence and listens to us. Goes upstairs and watches out his bathroom window than yells stupid stuff out at us. He has called the cops three times, humane society three times, Social security office launching fraud complaints against me, which was not true, talks to investigators and calls DSHS. He had a dog dog jump the fence for checking for drugs and uses third person in conversions with my adult kids. He invades my privacy by drive bys looking in my windows day or night. This is just a few of things he does!
After 12 years.....I bought a three by four foot white board.....wrote in big block letters " MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS GET A LIFE" and stuck the sign in the front of my house. Every day I write a different stay out of my business sign for the last four days. I went and bought a black vinyl privacy screen with stakes in it every so many feet apart and screwed it to the top of my six foot wood fence he looks over snooping on me. I'm using it as a divider between us and now I'm thinking of requesting the court to issue an anti harassment order against him. I'm buying my home and he rents. He was in his apartment next door before I moved in her to buy my house. I figure he can leave easier than I can. I've tried to ignore the guy but it isn't working. He is the worse neighbor in the world! I've never been turned into so many complaints or reports in my life until being next to his living apartment.
Anne on May 28, 2013:
One day while an overly nosy, attention seeking, loud, bozo neighbour had a noisy conversation on a loud speaker phone in their backyard (which was punctuated by belches and shirtless sunbathing) my husband started to sing (at top volume) full Broadway musicals to them. That shut them right up. I gave him a standing ovation.
epost65 on January 28, 2013:
I have had a nosy neighbor for years. She is a real estate agent. Real estate agents tend to be in your face, positive aka phony. They are like method actors; they are still on the job when off. She keeps tabs on everything I do. The moment she moved in she asked to buy my place from me. Is that sickening? To say, hey, I am here, and I want you gone now! I said no. Ever since then she has made it her mission to spy and snoop and trespass. She keeps her window open and watches everything I do. I have nothing to hide, but I'm different and I don't want to find myself filmed and all over youtube. I wish I could stick thumb tacks all over my lawn to puncture her prissy little heels when she barges over.
Anthony (UK) on September 26, 2012:
We've had nosy neighbours for 6 years. They are an old couple who have retired and have nothing better to do. My partner and I have tried to be polite and tolerate their obvious attempts to know our business but they won't let it go. We ignore them now as the softly-softly approach hasn't worked. They probably think we are being rude, but the flip-side to the coin is that they are far ruder in the fact they just don't know how to mind their own business and respect other peoples' privacy!
Timmy on September 11, 2012:
I have nosey upstairs neighbors. i couldn't believe that people could hear their downstairs neighbors, but apparently it's possible in our complex. I started having fun with these people, and actually have made remarks on several occasions about how nosey people don't have a life of their own, and live vicariously through the lives of others. I've noticed that every time I've made a comment, there's been a bang on the floor(I don't hear banging any other time). People really do need to get their own lives.
Anonymous Lady on August 25, 2012:
When they are sleeping sneak over and slit their hose long ways so the cut won't be noticed. Cover their sidewalk or driveway in a sticky substance or animal poop. When they go to wash it away they won't be able to. They'll be so busy trying to clean up the mess that they won't have time to snoop on you.
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Jean Bakula from New Jersey on March 30, 2011:
I think your hub is funny and good. It's a problem many of us face. I find that if my crazy neighbor "acts up" we all turn up the CD players in our cars and announce, "Hi, I'm home" really loudly late at night!
jburley from Florida on March 30, 2011:
Who hasn't had nosy neighbors. I once had a nosy landlord, that would make up reasons to come in my place to see if I had guests who slept over. I tried to not be confrontational, after all, it was within her right, I guess? Anyway, good piece James, I enjoyed the contents and especially the picture of Ms. Kravitz
John Harper from Malaga, Spain on March 30, 2011:
I normally reverse sound them, so if they play rap music at 2am, I will play them praise and worship music (loud) at 7.30am, most folk get the idea quickly!
Good writing style, welcome to the Hub!
Whoops, sorry, I thought you said NOISY!