While some people go virtually their entire lives without ever exchanging one word with their neighbors, others speak to theirs regularly.
And not always on cordial terms.
Sadly, some people find themselves living next door to people who always have something to complain about them or, on the flip side, are constantly invading their property, accidentally and on purpose.
Redditor Still-Tonight-3935 found herself at odds with her next-door neighbor from the very moment she and her family moved in.
However, recently, when the original poster (OP) caught her neighbor and her boyfriend doing something with potentially life-threatening consequences in her yard, it was she who had plenty to say to them.
Even though the OP’s neighbor wasted no time in vilifying her to the rest of the community.
Wondering if she overreacted, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my elderly neighbor off for spraying insect killer?”
The OP explained how she caught her neighbors red-handed in her backyard, yet she still found herself the pariah in her neighborhood.
“A couple of years ago, we bought a house with a garden.”
“Our elderly neighbor does not like change much, and we have had a few disagreements already (about where we place the kids’ swing set, the flowers we were planting, the pets we were keeping, etc.).”
“We’ve tried to be accommodating where we could.”
“I have a few food-related health issues and therefore grow some foods myself because I need to eat a lot of fresh produce.”
“My kids love the fresh fruit and berries too.”
“When I was pregnant, I spent weeks on my knees digging up a garden bed on a formerly unused plot of land where my property borders on said neighbor’s.”
“I planted noninvasive berry bushes.”
“Since my neighbor is retired already, she watched me working, and we’ve talked about my plans and why I was doing it.”
“Everything was fine.”
“A couple of weeks later, I was inside, and movement outside made me look out of the window.”
“I saw her boyfriend with a huge garden spray canister spraying something unrecognizable on their hedge at the border between our properties.”
“He doused them thoroughly and a lot of the spray landed on my new bushes.”
“I waddled outside and confronted him about it.”
“He tried to deny it and hid the canister.”
“After more insistence on my part, he confessed to treating his bushes to some insecticide.”
“He kept denying that my plants were hit despite them being only 2 feet away and despite me seeing him do it out of the window.”
“It took me two days of begging for my neighbor to show me the can so I could check what was used.”
“Had it checked out by a doctor and a gardener – turns out my produce could not be used for a whole year due to harmful ingredients.”
“I told my neighbor off for poisoning the food my kids and I were planning on eating and for doing it secretly.”
“No telling what would have happened to the baby.”
“It was a lucky coincidence that I happened to spot them doing it.”
“Now she’s badmouthing me in the neighborhood, and I was approached by people about being unreasonable.”
“She can do what she wants in her garden.”
“And I am too paranoid and sensitive; when they were kids, they ate food after it had been sprayed and nothing bad happened.”
“Am I really the a**hole here?”
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
While the Reddit community was somewhat divided on whether or not the OP was the a**hole for confronting her neighbor.
Everyone agreed that the OP did absolutely the right thing to confront them, particularly as they could have inflicted serious harm not only on the OP, but her whole family and her unborn baby. Many suggested the OP should invest in a fence, and a few pointed out how planting a garden so close to her neighbor might not have been a great idea.
“Be sure to tell everyone in the neighborhood that they sprayed harmful chemicals on your garden fruits and that you thankfully caught them doing it.”
“You should put up a privacy fence or move the garden where they can’t ‘accidentally’ spray it again.”- KingsRansom79
“But maybe planting a garden along your property edge wasn’t the best idea?”- jrm1102
“Insecticides on fruit/veggies plants can be super harmful if ingested, and once the plant absorbs it, it goes right into the parts people eat.”
“Them hiding the canister makes me think they knew exactly what they were doing.”
“There’s a reason why we’ve got the saying good fences make for good neighbors.”
“I’d strongly consider investing in a privacy fence.”- northstarette
“You should put up a privacy fence or move the garden where they can’t ‘accidentally’ spray it again.”- Sensitthgh
“Who the heck is she to tell you where to place a swing set or flowers on your property?”
“Move that edible garden far from their reach if you can.”-TiredxUnderpaid
Others, however, felt that the OP was equally at fault for planting her garden so close to her neighbor’s yard, particularly knowing that her neighbor wasn’t exactly fond of her.
“The neighbor 100% should have informed you that he was planning on treating his hedges and informed you what he was using.”
“However, you planted a garden right on the property line.”
“Meaning you now run the risk of your garden being contaminated with anything they might use on their lawn or for their landscaping.”- WaywardMarauder
“She sucks for getting pissy about the play set, but you’re an utter moron for planting berries 2 feet from her hedges and expecting her to change her gardening practices on her land to accommodate you.”- scarbunkle
“My husband and I don’t spray our yard or use anything that will harm animals/wildlife in our yard, but we can’t control what our neighbors do.”
“We just avoid letting our dog do her business or sniff in our neighbors’ yards when we know they’ve sprayed it.”
“And we don’t plant our garden where our neighbors knowingly use insecticides on their property.”-NotFunny3458
‘Why did you plant your garden so close to her property line knowing how she is?”- I_luv_sloths
Interestingly, some felt that neither the OP nor her neighbor was at fault for the exact same reasons.
“They can spray their bushes.”
“You can ask them not to.”
“You can have your garden further than 2 feet away (I would imagine).”- onlysomanynames1298
“Their yard, their garden.”
“I’m sorry it floated onto your’s though.”- South-Ad9146
“Fences make good neighbors.”
“It sounds like a fence is in order here, given that you have had some disagreements.”
“If you are worried about chemicals, it’s probably best not to locate the garden at the property line.”
“No matter how ignorant it is to spray that poison in their yard, they have a right to do it.”
“Pesticides kill honey bees and other beneficial insects, but you probably won’t be able to change the neighbors.”
“They may have been doing it for years.”- OwnUse931
“You are free to do what you will with your garden.”
“So do they. If you knew that they are difficult people, why did you plant your berries at the borders.”
“No a**holes here except maybe the neighbor being a bit difficult.”
“Personally, I’d install a fence and otherwise keep plants that are meant to be eaten away from their periphery.”
“Good luck OP, aint easy having retired neighbors.”- Maximum_Composer
While some felt the OP was solely at fault for deciding to plant her garden so close to her neighbor’s yard, she should have considered any and all risks in doing so.
“You COULDN’T use your produce for an entire year, or you DIDN’T use it because of your stance on organic gardening?”
“And furthermore, if you were so hellbent on being completely organic, why would you plant near the neighbor’s hedge?”
“You can’t control droplets.”
“The fact that he hid the canister makes me wonder just how you approached him when you confronted him.”
“You put your bushes two feet away?”
“Yeah, that’s on you.”
“Wash off the food and eat for goodness sake.”- Aggressive-Pass7181
The OP later returned with an update, sharing that she learned some frightening new information about the product she caught her neighbor spraying, as well as her immediate plans on how to deal with her neighbor.
“Found out at the local gardening center that the stuff is not even legal in my country.”
“My theory is she bought it in a neighboring country (we live close to the border), where there is a black market for all kinds of illegal stuff from insect poisons to fireworks etc.”
“I am now aware I could press charges according to our laws.”
“However, I am a working mother with four kids.”
“I’ll suck it up, replant my bushes somewhere else and save my energy for more important things.”
“I just wish her slandering me would stop.”
It’s rather shocking that the OP’s neighbor and her boyfriend so vehemently denied spraying harmful, if not deadly, chemicals on or around the OP’s garden rather than warning her straight away.
In many ways, they should consider themselves lucky that they were caught.
As if anything happened to the OP and her family after eating the fruit they contaminated, they could have found themselves facing much worse consequences.