How to Avoid Talking to Neighbors When You Don’t Feel Like It

how to avoid talking to neighbors

Unless you live on a large piece of private private property (either by yourself or with family), you undoubtedly have to interact with the surrounding neighbors from time to time. If you’re not the friendly type, or just prefer keeping to yourself, you’re probably wondering how to avoid talking to neighbors.

The best way to avoid talking to neighbors is to intentionally avoid situations where you might run into them. If avoidance isn’t practical for you, try doing things that indicate your busy and don’t have time to talk. Eventually your neighbors will take the hint and leave you alone.

There’s certainly nothing you can do about their presence near your residence, but it’s up to you if you want to get friendly with your neighbors or not. You have your reasons and especially if they are really valid ones such as a pandemic, they have no choice but to respect it.

Read on to understand such behavior and get tips on how to accomplish this.

I Don’t Want to Talk to My Neighbors, What Should I Do?

If you are the type who hates having neighbors (for whatever reason), you are not alone. The people who live next door to you will directly impact and influence your overall experience as a homeowner.

According to a poll from Rent.com, single-family home owners are willing to pay $157 extra a month on average, to pick who lives next door. As for those living in condos, apartments, townhouses, and duplexes, they would pay $179 monthly on average for this privilege.

Age plays a factor as well. The survey revealed that “millennials would actually pay the most ($203), followed by Gen Xers ($145) and baby boomers ($45), on average.”

Another interesting fact that the poll revealed: homeowners became friends with only 29.1% of the neighbors they met and nearly 4 in 10 of the respondents said they were not friends with any of their neighbors.

Ralph DiBugnara, president of New York-based real estate company Home Qualified, says this in relation to homeowners, “A bad neighbor could hurt the value of your home and ability to resell. This could depreciate your asset and investment.”

As for renters, DiBugnara said that living in close quarters with your neighbors “could make life very uncomfortable if you are not on friendly terms.”

Depending on your where you live, whether you are in the city closeted with neighbors in an apartment building or in a suburban area with considerable spaces between houses, there’s always the possibility of having to talk to the neighbors. If this is something you want to avoid at all costs, then here are some tips on how to accomplish that.

Why You Don’t Want to Socialize With Neighbors

First, it’s important to understand why you don’t want anything to do with the people around you. Not that there’s anything wrong with it – there are pros and cons with being friendly with the neighbors. Here are the common reasons why you may want to avoid them.

  • You don’t want to invade their privacy – maybe it’s not because you can’t stand talking to other people but you are just respectful enough not to bother them unless it’s really needed.

    Also, you may be the sort who prefers to wait for the other party to approach you first as a sign that they are willing to communicate.
  • You want to guard your privacy – you may or may not care about their privacy but you sure do care the heck out of yours and will do anything to protect it. There are too many instances of neighbors putting their noses in everyone else’s business and you abhor that very notion.
  • You have nothing in common – maybe you already talked with the people next door at one point, but discovered that you absolutely have nothing in common with them. It could be talks about religion or politics, or maybe you just don’t agree with their lifestyle in general.

    You see no point in being friendly with people that are just not in your tribe and also you want to avoid potential clashes that will cause unwanted conflict.
  • Your neighbor exhibits traits that are hated by everyone – your neighbor may be doing things that disturb not just you but the other residents as well.

    The people next door may be slamming doors, constantly having loud arguments, blocking driveways, always have loud music on, or have noisy pets and children running uncontrollably outside. These are things you may not be willing to tolerate.

How to Keep Neighbors at a Distance

If dealing with a neighbor (whether overly friendly or not) is an awkward or annoying prospect for you, then it’s best to just keep your distance, while still respecting them at the same time.

This is way better than faking a smile and forcing yourself to interact with them, when you really don’t want to. Here’s how to keep them at bay:

Become Familiar With Your Environment

As they say in the medical world, prevention is the best medicine. This is something you can apply in your life as well when it comes to avoiding your neighbors.

The safest way to do it is to avoid instances in which you might run into them (highly applicable for those living in condominiums or apartment buildings). This entails avoiding common areas with more foot traffic like stairways, corridors, stairs, and elevators.

Now if you’re not living in a building, this problem is easier to solve. You can opt to stay inside your home when the people next door are out in their yard or driveway, which is the most effective way not to attract their attention.

There’s no way they can disturb you, unless they knock on your door and initiate conversation for whatever reason.

However, keep in mind that hiding from them may just prolong the issue and this is something you can’t do long-term. Sooner or later, you will have to deal with them, which is where setting boundaries comes in.

Deflect Attention

If you’re not willing to adjust the times you want to relax in your yard just to avoid the neighbors, you can act in a way that will make them think twice about disturbing you. This is when “distraction items” such as books, tablets, or laptops can work to your purpose.

The neighbor will probably avoid talking to you if they see you totally engrossed in a book or busy typing away on your computer.

But we all know that not all can take this hint and there are persistent neighbors who will initiate conversation even if you appear to be busy. In this case, casual and non-committal replies such as “Really” or “That’s very nice” can keep the conversation short. 

This is something you can do politely and with luck, your neighbor can sense that you are not up to small talk and just leave you alone.

Display Behavior That Will Discourage Them From Reaching Out

Now we’re not suggesting that you be mean to your neighbor or do things that will affect their safety and privacy. This fail-safe plan should only be considered when the other measures just don’t work.

If your neighbors just can’t take the hint and still bug you incessantly (even with your more discreet attempts to avoid their attention), then try to show behavior that will make them want to keep their distance once and for all.

It may be as simple as not replying to their greetings or questions, or at least, return their “Good morning!” with the same greeting, nothing further. Turning your back after this can also work, because this pretty much says, “I don’t want to talk to you” or “I can’t be bothered.”

It may come off as rude, but at least the conversation will end there without further ado.

How Do You Politely Decline a Neighbor?

Sometimes you have to lay it all out in order to make something work. In this case, you can be straightforward and explain to your neighbor that you are not a very social person and that you are more comfortable being left alone.

Of course, there’s this big risk of hurting their feelings, but this is something you have to gamble on. You just have to make sure that you say your piece as civilized and as politely as you could and emphasize that this is nothing personal.

Now what should you do if the neighbor won’t respect your boundaries? If you have the rotten luck of having a neighbor who borders on stalker territory, then you are within your rights to call for help or intervention.

Depending on where you live, you can reach out to the homeowner’s association or property manager for assistance. In extreme cases and if you feel that you’re in immediate danger, you should call the police or emergency services immediately.

At the end of the day, you are not obligated to make nice with the neighbors if you are not comfortable with the idea. What you do within your own space is nobody’s business.

Sometimes there are definite perks of being friendly with your neighbors, but ultimately you have to do what you’re most comfortable with. If this means not interacting with your neighbors, that is totally fine and you need to do what makes you happy.