No two people have the same relationship with their neighbors.
There are those who instantly become best friends, and spend almost all of their free time together.
And then there are others who almost never speak to each other, even if they share a street, or even a hallway.
Redditor LostinLies1 and his wife were more like the latter category with their neighbors, on good terms, but never exactly friends.
But when the original poster (OP)’s wife noticed a distinct change in one of their neighbor’s appearances, she wasted no time in getting to the bottom of what was happening, much to the OP’s horror.
Wondering if he overreacted to his wife’s behavior, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for yelling at my wife for asking our neighbor about her health?”
The OP shared the dynamic he and his neighbors had shared ever since they moved to their neighborhood.
“My wife and I have lived in our current home for 8 years.”
“About 4 years ago we had a young couple move in next door.”
“Handsome young couple with a dog.”
“We made a few attempts at first to engage with them, invites to barbecue’s, etc., but they were politely distant, and we got the picture that they weren’t looking to be friends, and we have politely co-existed ever since.”
“We don’t interact outside of that.”
But the OP’s wife became more inclined to talk with them, after her curiosity was piqued when she noticed the wife sporting a striking new hairstyle.
“So, last week my wife notice hat the neighbor lady was suddenly bald.”
“All of her long blonde hair was completely gone.”
“My wife informed me of this and wondered aloud if the neighbor had cancer.”
“I wondered with her, hoping that it wasn’t the case.”
“I did say, ‘I know a lot of women shave their heads in solidarity with their friends who are sick, and a lot of women are shaving their heads nowadays because of fashion’.”
“My wife couldn’t stop wondering though.”
“I finally came out and said, ‘hon, if you see her out and about, don’t ask her about it unless she brings it up’.”
But the OP’s wife couldn’t contain her curiosity, and went expressly against her husband’s wishes.
“This past weekend my wife was outside and saw our neighbor in the yard with her dog.”
“My wife waved to her and they engaged in some quick small talk.”
“As the neighbor lady was walking away, my wife called out, ‘BTW, I meant to ask …I noticed that you’ve shaved your head. Is everything okay?'”
“The neighbor politely informed my wife that she had started undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cancer.”
“My wife asked what kind, how long, etc.”
“My wife came back in the house and unloaded all this info on me.”
“When she was done downloading the gossip, I asked my wife why she had asked her anything at all.”
“My wife told me the neighbor didn’t mind answering her questions, and that I was being an assh*le indicating she had done something wrong.”
“My argument back was simple: You spoke with her for 5 minutes.”
“She didn’t bring up her hair loss once, and even when she had walked away from you, you called her back to ask her.”
“To me that indicated that the neighbor did not want to discuss it with my wife.”
“My wife meanwhile says she is openly walking around bald and if she didn’t expect people to ask her about it she would be wearing a hat.”
“My wife wants to start going over to ‘check’ on her, and bring her food etc and I told her flat she was being rude and intrusive.”
“I have had cancer, and I remember being very picky about who I told about my illness.”
“I shared this with the wife and she says that was my experience.”
“AITA for telling my wife she was an intrusive gossip and needed to mind her own business?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community was in agreement that the OP was not the a**hole for scolding his wife.
Everyone was in agreement that the OP’s wife was being nosy in business which did not concern her.
“No offense, but I genuinely cannot stand people like your wife.”
“If it’s not your business, don’t get involved.”- Cynthia_Castillo677
“Your wife needs to learn to mind her own business.”-WarrenMulaney
“Tell your wife to stand down and unless someone asks her, stay away from the neighbors with her food and ‘check-ins’.”
“She’s being nosy and for God’s sake, discourage her from spreading your neighbors business around the neighborhood.”
“Tell her to respect boundaries and leave people alone.”-No_Stage_6158
“Your wife is nosy as hell.”
“I don’t know what it is about people thinking that the way someone looks is an invitation for commentary.”
“Some times the way we look is the best we can do, meaning maybe she’s not necessarily proud of her shaved head but maybe it’s the most comfortable option.”
“I think it’s safe and appropriate to assume that most just want to exist without questions.”
“How many times a day do you think she has to answer those questions?”
“Ten bucks says she avoids your wife at all costs now for prying.”
“I’m not saying your wife is an asshole but if I was in the neighbors shoes I would.”-StillBitterB_
“Show your wife this post, and ask her how she feels about strangers all up in her business.”-q__n
“No you are NTA.”
“I am a medical professional.”
“One of my very best skills is how good I am during times of high stress.”
“I am good at this part.”
“I have a message for your wife, who i am really, really angry at.”
“Lady, you are WAY out of line.”
“She isn’t walking around bald to get attention from her gossipy neighbors.”
“She’s walking around bald because she is being given literal poison in an attempt to save her own life.”
“She’s not a circus exhibit.”
“You 100% made her feel like one, though.”
“You absolutely already blew it with this one.”
“iI can’t believe how rude this was, but next time you are in a situation like that, here’s how you handle it.”
“Without asking questions about things that are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, offer some kind of help or assistance in a way that communicates that you recognize she is likely going through something.”
“Maybe something like ‘hey, so I’m just gonna put this out there: i mow the lawn every Saturday, i like throwing in some headphones and jammin’ out.”
“If you aren’t feeling up to it I would be more than happy to pop over and do it!”
“‘It’ll give me a chance to work on my tan!’”
“And then hand over your number.”
“If you already have her number, text ONCE and say ‘’hey! Was gonna start my own yard at 11, takes about half an hour, want me to knock yours out too??'”
“Offer concrete, tangible things.”
“A lot of folks will say ‘call me if you need anything’, but that actually puts the emotional burden on the patient.”
“Show that you are there, and as a creature of this earth with a heart, willing to help out your fellow man.”
“Let her know you are here, and willing to help, and willing to listen, but that she owes you nothing.”
“I am a nurse and when I have a patient having a rough time for one reason or another, I do their nails.”
“They all know I do nails sometimes, and they know why.”
“I have one lady with significant, life threatening depression.”
“A few months ago she was in a bad place.”
“And I sat down in front of her and said ‘Evelyn (fake name) do you want to pick out a nail color and i can do your nails today?’”
“She said yes.”
“I did her nails.”
“And during that time I did broach it in this roundabout way.”
“Something like ‘listen, I know you’re going through a rough time right now’.”
“‘You owe me nothing, and you don’t have to talk to me about it, i will do your nails either way!'”
“‘But i do want you to know that I AM here if you want to talk.'”
“If nothing else, just remember that I am always here and I’ll listen’.”
“Until then, I’ll drop it, okay?’”
“And then we went back to talking about nails.”
“I think I ended the day with a hug and a reminder that I’m here, and then probably some comment about her sexy ass nails.”
People are often self conscious about their health and outward appearance, and don’t appreciate being badgered about it.
One would imagine the OP’s wife would feel the same, had the tables been turned.
If one can appreciate her desire to help out as her neighbor goes through this, perhaps the best thing she can do for her is leave her alone.