Dear Amy: Until recently, my neighbor “Ron” and I always got along very well.
Ron works from home, and I am retired.
I enjoy working in my garage, house or yard during the day, usually between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. While working in the garage, I will listen to music, and sometimes it can be a little loud because of the tools I am using.
Recently Ron posted on Facebook a profanity-laced post about my loud music, saying that it interferes with his job.
Basically, he made me out to be an inconsiderate jerk, which is the farthest thing from the truth. All he or his wife had to do was to let me know it was an issue, and I would have turned it down, no problem.
When my wife talked to them about the situation, first they denied that they were referring to me, blaming it on the neighbors across the street. (Not true.)
Then they tried to turn it around, blaming my wife for telling me about the FB post.
My wife eventually got a half-hearted apology, which she said should be directed toward me.
They said they would apologize when they saw me. The next day they “unfriended” my wife on Facebook and haven’t spoken to us since.
Did we do something wrong? We always try to be the best neighbors possible, and don’t understand what we did.
Dear Upset: You did do something wrong, but your neighbors’ rude and public reaction has far overshadowed your own behavior.
The thing you did wrong was when you failed to imagine that your loud music during workdays might disturb your neighbor, who you know works from home.
Now, onto your neighbors. They are demonstrating the very reason that I am no longer active on Facebook: I couldn’t handle witnessing how poorly some people I know personally (and many people I don’t know) were behaving toward one another.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor can become toxic cesspools where people rudely and provocatively vent, drawing others into the fray. People write things they wouldn’t dream of saying out loud, using social media to settle scores. Then, if things go badly, they can conveniently hide behind the “block” and “unfriend” buttons.
And – just as your neighbor has taken the cowardly path – why, I wonder, is your wife crossing the yard to try to talk this out? She wasn’t blasting Led Zeppelin in the garage; you were!
If you don’t receive an apology from your obnoxious neighbor and want to demonstrate a more sophisticated way of behaving, you might close the circle if you acknowledge that you’re sorry this episode has created tension between you. You could add: “In the future, I hope that we can restore our neighborly connection and talk things out personally and respectfully when there is a problem.”
Dear Amy: A good friend has asked me to travel with her. We are both senior women and have traveled together in the past.
What has changed is that she now has a cellphone always attached to her.
For calls she always uses the speaker, so it is never private.
She has an audible alert for everything, and she checks her phone every time. She interrupts conversation to do this and then tells me what it was about. (I don’t care what it was about.)
I don’t have my phone with me all the time, and I certainly don’t interrupt a conversation to check, unless it is a rare emergency.
If it wasn’t for the phone problem, I would probably enjoy traveling with her again.
Should I ask her to turn off her speaker and stop answering all texts and alerts while we travel together? Is this reasonable?
– Quiet Traveler
Dear Quiet: I think the best approach is to tell your friend that this really bothers and distracts you when you are with her, and because of that you don’t think you’d enjoy traveling with her as much as you have in the past.
She may offer to alter her behavior; if not, you have your answer.
Dear Amy: Regarding “Grateful Grandchild” asking for an early inheritance so the grandparents could “enjoy” seeing it being spent, I think the grandparents would be happier if they saw their grandchildren successfully provide for themselves and spend their own money.
My grandma would have laughed me out of the house.
– Also Grateful
Dear Grateful: Readers agree – as the “kids” say: “Yeah, no.”
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.
𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆: www.mercurynews.com
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁 firstname.lastname@example.org