Being a good neighbor can go a long way to making life easier, as it’s better to live somewhere you get along with the people around you. But where’s the line between being neighborly and someone taking advantage of you?
Redditor Tiny-Charity asked herself the same thing when her neighbor keeps asking for favors. The original poster (OP) put her foot down, but isn’t sure if that was too rude.
To figure it out, OP asked the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit their titular question.
What was the favor the neighbor was asking for?
“AITA for telling my neighbor I’m not her personal grocery store?”
Could it have been that bad?
“I (30s) live in a rental that also has another rental house on the same property. I am a single mom who works a full time job.”
“My new neighbor (40s)(who moved in at the beginning of November) has been constantly pestering me for different groceries. Her husband makes $60,000 a year according to her whereas I make around $18000.”
“She is home all day and gets the mail for both houses. Right before Thanksgiving, I went to the grocery store and had to go to several because most of the stores were out of things.”
“She waited until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to do her shopping. They were out of a lot of things.”
“She sent me a long text with about 20-30 things she ‘needed’. I told her I didn’t have most of the items but had a few. She begged for the few that I had.”
“Since I had extra I gave her what I had (3 jars of peanut butter, 4 cans of green beans, 6 cans of beans, and 2 cans of cranberry sauce).”
“She said Thank you but never offered to pay or replace them.”
“The 1st week of December, she asked me for more items but I didn’t have any of the items. She repeated this the 2nd week.”
“I ran errands on Sunday and she sent me a text with about 80 items she wanted me to shop for. I told her I didn’t have the extra money for one and second I didn’t have the time to shop for two households.”
“She got really upset and told me it wouldnt take that much longer to pick up her 80 items. I told her I wasn’t able to.”
“Tonight, my cell phone chirped for a text message while I was giving my son a bath. Within 2 minutes, she is bamming on my door because she needed peanut butter, milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk and butter.”
“I told her that I have to stretch my food dollars and cannot afford to keep giving them groceries. She replied that I was getting SNAP (she knows this because she ‘accidentally’ opens my mail constantly).”
“I told her I don’t get very much and I just qualified on Friday and I had to buy baby food for my son. She told me I was being an a**hole because they don’t qualify for any help and the least that I can do is help them when they need help.”
“I may be the a**hole because I refuse to shop for her. We have 7 grocery stores with 7 miles and all of them have delivery available.”
OP questions what we owe each other. There’s basic politeness and doing a favor as a decent person, but there’s also a point where it becomes almost abusive.
Redditors judged whether OP would be wrong to refuse by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP’s neighbor has clearly stepped over whatever line might be drawn between a polite favor and taking advantage of someone’s kindness.
There isn’t anything OP has done that she should apologize for, and if the neighbor keeps this up, perhaps OP should revisit the mail theft.
OP is NTA, and no one in the comments disagreed.
“NTA. This is outrageous behaviour!”
“You need to catch her husband sometime and ask him, ‘do you need help getting on SNAP? I simply can’t afford to continue giving your family food, especially since I’m never paid back.’”
“I imagine that will be the end of it.” – moondoggie1960
“Not only that you really need to tell her to stop getting your mail and that if she persists you will try to charge her with mail fraud.”
“I would be worried about checks or anything of any value going missing if she is ‘accidentally’ opening your mail. Technically in the US it is a federal offense to take mail out of a mailbox you don’t have permission to mess with, much less opening it.” – loulabug247
“Omg! First off you qualifying for SNAP is absolutely none of her business.”
“She violated federal law by opening your mail. I would put a stop to that quickly. Contact your local post office to inform them and see what you can do.”
“I would also talk to your landlord. Show him copies of your texts if need be. Tell him she’s opening your mail and admitted it to you.”
“Tell your neighbor to stop picking up your mail in person then follow up with a text. This reiterates you’re serious and leaves a paper trail.”
“If she texts you again asking/demanding food I would ignore it.” – bikingwithfriends
“I don’t believe her husband makes $60k and especially since she is always wanting your food that you need more than her. Block her # and remind her you will report to police for illegally opening your mail.”
“She is shady and questionable.” – 5nl007
“NTA. Stop shopping for her and giving her food immediately and send her a bill for all of what you’ve spent so far on her items. If you don’t get it from her, give it to her husband so he can pay.”
“Also, opening someone else’s mail is a Federal crime and she needs to stop immediately. If she continues, report her to the Postmaster at your Post Office branch.”
“You have absolutely no obligation to help her and she needs to leave you alone.” – ghostforest
OP shouldn’t feel ashamed to refuse her neighbor’s requests. As a matter of fact, the neighbor should be ashamed that she’s put so much on her neighbor.