Neighbors Keep Harassing This Couple About Using Their Pool Until They Finally Lose Their Patience
Just like family, we don’t get to choose our neighbors. If we are lucky enough, we will be blessed with incredible people living close by and may even strike up wonderful and long-lasting friendships. But when that’s not the case, the thrill of moving into a new home can quickly get clouded by folks who set out to infringe on our right to enjoy peace.
When it comes to the latter, No_Material_4161 knows it from personal experience. This Redditor took to the AITA community to share how they bought a new house just a few months back. The couple enjoyed their property by hosting cookouts and inviting people to pool parties in the backyard. But as it soon turned out, they were not the only ones hoping to take a swim.
Apparently, the previous owners had an agreement with three other families to give them unlimited entry to the pool in return for paying for its maintenance. “We told them that we’re fairly private people and enjoy our privacy and don’t see ourselves letting neighbors having access to our backyard whenever they want,” they wrote in the story. Unfortunately, these families live in their own delusional world and will not take “no” for an answer.
After being cornered by them many times, the user finally lost their patience. So they asked people on the internet to help them make sense of this neighborly dispute they found themselves in. Scroll down to dive into the whole story and be sure to weigh in on the situation in the comments!
Recently, a homeowner opened up about being cornered by entitled neighbors who keep expecting to get access to their pool
Image credits: Engin_Akyurt (not the actual photo)
Feeling frustrated by their behavior, they asked Redditors to evaluate the situation
Image credits: Sheila Brown (not the actual photo)
In just a few days, the story amassed nearly 13k upvotes and caused quite the stir in the AITA community. Redditors quickly sided with the user and determined the couple had every right to lose their patience with the families who showed little shame in their actions.
To better understand their motivations and learn how to find our way out of neighborly disputes, we reached out to licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Jesse Matthews. According to him, people often mistake privileges for entitlements. “They get used to having or being able to do something, and it comes to feel as though this is how it should always be,” he told Bored Panda.
“For example, in the United States (at least in Pennsylvania, where I live), having a driver’s license is a well-known privilege, yet people get angry all of the time when they lose their license due to drunk driving, too many speeding tickets, or other infractions. Since many were driving since they were 16 and nearly everyone else drives, they come to see it as an entitlement.”
Speaking of this particular incident, Dr. Matthews explained that since the three surrounding families have been able to use the pool in the past, they began feeling entitled to it. “The lines or boundaries become blurred, and people may believe so strongly that they have a right to something that they may not be willing to take no for an answer,” he added.
“In this case of using the pool, most people would agree that the agreement ended with the sale of the house. However, the neighbors assumed it would continue or refused to accept that it hasn’t.” The psychologist noted that their behavior likely flows from the fact that they were providing something in return — funds for pool maintenance. Unfortunately, these arrangements are rarely in writing, so the neighbors may start to believe they can convince (or bully) the new owners into continuing it.
“From their perspective, they have been able to use this pool (possibly for years), and now someone is taking it away. They may feel this is quite unfair and may be adamant that the new owners see it their way. And if there are multiple neighbors feeling the same way, this could certainly add to this sense of entitlement or idea that they are right and the new owners are wrong,” Dr. Matthews said.
We will all encounter people who want to take advantage of us, he added, so it’s important to notice these patterns and act accordingly. “If someone seems to only want to be with you because you own a pool, take them places, let them borrow money, or because you get invited to the parties they want to go to, then that isn’t someone you want to keep associating with.”
These neighbors are creating an unequal relationship and clearly show they lack care and respect for the new homeowners. The psychologist explained there are several ways to deal with similar instances: bring the issue to their attention and allow changing their behavior, back away from the relationship, or set healthy boundaries.
“In this case, you are unlikely to move and don’t want conflict with the neighbors, so you definitely need to set firm boundaries,” he continued. “Don’t over explain, but let the neighbors know, ‘Maybe you and the former owners had this agreement, but that is not something we’re comfortable with’. You might even say, ‘Maybe we’ll have you all over to swim sometime’. If this isn’t enough for them, then too bad.” Dr. Matthews wants you to remember that no one else is entitled to use your property, and you have every right to keep people out.
Later on, the user clarified a few details in the comments
Conflicts between neighbors often emerge because someone violates our ability to enjoy our lifestyle. “Typical conflicts relate to people making noise, say late at night, while neighbors are trying to sleep; one household keeping up with their house or lawn and neighbors not; or one household being social and having people over frequently and neighbors not liking it, either due to the noise, traffic on their street, and so on,” Dr. Matthews explained that the actions of one household often affect others.
“Beyond that, however, there are neighbors who are jealous of others, who don’t like people for various reasons, or some other things they are doing might bother them,” he continued. “It could be a matter of them not minding their own business, which we see a lot of these days with so many ‘Karen’ videos online.”
When we find ourselves in the middle of neighborly arguments, we need to learn how to navigate these situations as well as we can. “It’s important to be respectful of your neighbors so everyone can live peacefully, but you also need to distinguish between what are valid complaints and what is just someone not minding their own business.”
“If a conflict arises, you should always try to be tactful and respectful, trying your best to keep any problems to a minimum. But you may also need to be assertive and set or hold boundaries with neighbors. If you believe they are asking too much or concerning themselves with something they shouldn’t, don’t be afraid to let them know. And the more you can resolve conflicts on your own the better. I would make calling the police the last resort, though it is an option if someone repeatedly violates your boundaries or rights,” Dr. Matthews concluded.