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Teen Refuses To Rake Nosy Neighbor’s Leaves For Free To ‘Show Maturity’

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Be they across the hall in an apartment building, or next door in a cul-de-sac, no two people have the same relationship with their neighbors.

Some are best friends, and visit each other’s houses on a regular basis.

Others aren’t exactly friends, but always exchange a pleasant hello every time they see each other.

In some sadder cases, certain neighbors don’t get along at all, sometimes even looking for reasons to be mad at one another.

Redditor yardworkjerk was not on the best terms with their next-door-neighbor growing up, who seemed to look for ways to get them in trouble, more often than not to no avail.

Thankfully, as the original poster (OP) began entering adulthood, their next door neighbor began to become a bit more neighborly with them.

Which still wasn’t enough to convince the OP to help her out when she asked for their help.

Wondering if they were being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to rake my neighbor’s leaves?”

The OP shared how years of less than pleasant experiences with their next-door neighbor made them less than inclined to oblige their request to help with some household maintenance.

“I’m 18, I go to community college and live at home.”

“I enjoy working in the yard so I cut my parents grass, shovel snow, or this time of year, rake.”

“We have a next door neighbor Trudy.”

“She’s in her 40s, I think.”

“When I was younger Trudy was always, difficult.”

“When I was a kid playing in my parents yard with my friends and we accidentally hit or kicked a ball into her yard she’d have a fit.”

“Even though it wasn’t anywhere near her house.”

“We didn’t run through her yard or anything either, just went to bring the ball back.”

“When I was in high school she’d tell my parents on me about stuff that they already knew.”

“Like I was allowed to stay out til midnight or 1am, I can’t remember exactly, the night of homecoming.”

“The next morning she came over to tell me mom she seen me ‘sneaking in’ late.”

“She’s done other stuff but I don’t feel like writing a book.”

“Now that I’m ‘grown’ she’s tried having a friendly conversation with me just if we cross paths outside, but I’m always very short with her because she’s a nosey tattle tale.”

“I guess her husband and her are divorcing, shocker.”

“I was out raking Sunday and she was walking to her car and said ‘hey do mine when you’re done’.”

“I ignored her.”

“Monday she caught me coming home from school and asked if I’d be able to rake her yard.”

“I said ‘sure, but it’ll be like 20-30 bucks’.”

“She said ‘I meant just do it as a favor’.”

“I said ‘oh then no’ and went inside.”

“I guess she said something to my mom and my mom said I should do it to help her out.”

“I said no.”

“I’m not helping someone that acted like that when I was a kid and besides she doesn’t do anything for me so.”

“My mom said that her husband isn’t around anymore to do that stuff and Trudy needs help.”

“That it’d be a good way to build bridges and show my maturity.”

“I said ‘no, I don’t want to build a bridge with her and I’d rather she thinks I’m immature. Then she’ll leave me alone. I have nothing to say to her anyway’.”

“My mom said I’m being stubborn and I should do it for her if I don’t do it for Trudy.”

“AITA for refusing?”

“I don’t want to help someone that was always trying to get me in trouble.”

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
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for refusing to rake their neighbors lawn.

Everyone agreed that the OP was justified in being reluctant to rake their neighbors yard owing to her past behavior towards them, with many shocked that she assumed the OP would willingly rake her yard completely gratis.


“Is something wrong with her physically that she can’t rake her own leaves?”

“What does her husband leaving have to do with this?”- Aggravating_Start411

“Don’t do it.”

“First it’s leaves, and then it’s ‘cut lawn’, ‘clean my gutters’, ‘I’m lonely’.”

“People who act like aholes need to suffer the consequences of their actions.”

“NTA.”- Aylauria


“Sounds like your mom should volunteer her own time.”- cultqueennn

“Is raking leaves some kind of magical skill only men possess?”


“She can do it herself.”

“She didn’t even ask.”- Weak-Possession-7650

“You’re NTA.”

“Being a good neighbor is a two way street and it sounds like she never has been one, but suddenly expects good neighbor favors.”- Dittoheadforever


“Your mom wants to build bridges?”

“Tell her to grab a rake and start it up.”

“I’d tell her the price is now double for being a PITA.”- Lurkingentropy

“I am usually a ‘be a bigger person type’, but screw her.”

“NTA stick to your guns on this.”- freedomfromthepast


“I know your mom means well; but you’re under no obligation to help Trudy.”

“In fact, in doing this favor will probably lead to more requests for help.”

“Nip it in the bud, now.”- lazygerm


“Tell your mom to go rake her leaves for free then.”- downwardspiralstairs


“You offered to do it at a fair price.”

“She declined.”

“You’re not obligated to do her work for her.”- seregil42

“I am close to 50 and a single mother.”

“I am not particularly physically fit.”

“But I have no problem raking leaves.”

“I help my 85-year-old neighbour out, though.”

“Which he probably doesn’t even know, since I just fill up the container every time before it gets emptied, until all the leaves are gone.”

“Trudy doesn’t need nor deserve this kind of help, and you don’t deserve to be volunteered.”

“NTA.”- Jocelyn-1973

“Omg NTA!”

“Trudy is 40s, not 80s!”

“She can rake her own damn yard, husband or no husband!”

“Is your mom always such a pushover?”

“Good for you for standing your ground.”

“F Trudy.”- taafp9

“NTA, that’s labor.”

‘Unless you are returning a favor then asking for payment is acceptable.’

“Raking leaves is a lot of work.’

“It’s insulting of her to even ask.”

“Tell her to rake her own.”

“Your mother is also out of line.”

“Also the neighbor seem like TA.”

“Karma.”- Doza13


“You teach people how to treat you.”

“She taught you to tell her to pound sand.”- theskepticalheretic


“You are under no obligation to do other peoples yard work for free.”- AnonymousWritings


“This is the consequences of her actions.”

“Also, if you can avoid it you shouldn’t rake leaves.”

“It’s better for nature to leave them as ground cover.”- MidniteProph


“Your mom should respect your boundaries.”- BuildingMaleficent11


“She can pay you or do it herself.”

“The her demanding you do it is ridiculous in the first place.”

“You give in to this, what is she going to make you do next?”

“She isn’t your responsibility.”- Kirin2013


“I live alone.”

“I do stuff myself, hire someone, or have a friend loan me kids to do it.”

“I pay the kids too but felt it was more amusing to put it that way.”

“Favors are exchanged.”

“She’s not holding up her part of the bargain.”- ShyMagpie


“If your mom feels so strongly about it, she can go rake Trudy’s leaves.”- countrybumpkin1969


“Its pretty damn ballsy to assume someone will do your yard work for free.”

“It would be one thing if she had said, hey I cant afford much but came up with SOME compensation.”- the10thD0CT0R


“You do yard work for your parents because you live in their home, and want to give something back to the family.”

“That contribution should not be diminished by extending your labor to someone who doesn’t want to pay you.”

“The fact that she’s been unpleasant for years is merely supporting evidence for your argument.”

“Your parents may be extending their thought process beyond ‘home’ to ‘neighborhood’.”

“As a homeowner, I agree with that thinking.”

“However, I would never ask my son to do work for someone who didn’t treat him well, no matter what the neighbors need.”- MiddleAgedCool

It’s rather hard to understand how Trudy expected the OP to respond when she asked them to rake her leaves as if it were their obligation.

Particularly in light of her past behavior.

It would certainly be a very kind gesture if the OP agreed to rake her leaves, as a way of making amends.

But if the OP isn’t interested in doing so, then they shouldn’t feel obligated too.

One can only hope Trudy might think twice about the way she behaves around her neighbors going forward.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.