It would be so much easier if all of us could get along, and we all understand what others needed, so we could be our happiest. But that simply isn’t realistic.
One woman recently realized on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit that, no matter how nice her neighbors were, they didn’t necessarily have her best interests at heart.
Redditor Ok-Hat5039 decided to do something to distance herself from there, which led to repeated altercations.
Because of this, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she had overdone it.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for putting a divider on my balcony because of my neighbors?”
The OP recently moved into a nicer apartment.
“I am not from the US or any other English-speaking country, and this is more or less a throwaway account.”
“So I am in my 20’s and I recently bought an apartment in my country’s capital city.”
“The apartment is great. It was way underpriced and compared to where I lived previously, it’s a massive step up.”
“Regardless I have been having one big issue since the moment I moved in here.”
“So after purchasing the apartment and having a good look at it, I realized that my big balcony was directly next to my neighbor’s big balcony (I have got 2 balconies, a tiny one and a big one). They are not attached but essentially there is a small 50 CM (less than 2 feet) gap between them, that’s it.”
“At first, I figured this would not be an issue but from the moment I moved in it has been extremely bothersome.”
The OP’s new neighbors didn’t understand the concept of boundaries.
“My neighbors are practically living on their balcony, and since they are both retired, they are home pretty much 24/7.”
“Whenever I think I have a moment to myself there, I end up sitting down and within 30 minutes, I suddenly get one of them engaging in a conversation with me. This is usually while I am falling asleep, I might add, as I love sitting in the late afternoon sun after a long day of work and having a nap with a glass of wine.”
“At first, I assumed it was a one-time thing, but it has happened every single time.”
“Every single time I go out there and sit down, one of these people joins me and starts sharing their life story and I was just so sick of it.”
“The final drop came when I was having a gathering with a bunch of friends, and these people legitimately asked me why they weren’t invited via the balcony.”
The OP decided to set up a new, physical boundary.
“I decided to get a divider-type thing. I never heard it existed before, but apparently it’s a common problem as I found a bunch very quickly.”
“It arrived, I installed it, and now there is a wall between the two of us.”
“It’s not big, thick, or obnoxious. It literally just hinders their sight to me and mine to them. It just divides the spaces and doesn’t block their sun or some s**t.”
“I figured it was fine, but I have since had them over to complain that I am being ‘kind of a b***h’ for making it obvious that I don’t want them around.”
“They have been really rude to me whenever I run into them in the building since.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some stated the OP deserved her privacy.
“You deserve to have some privacy, after all.” – No-Jellyfish-1208
“OP if it comes up again I would even mention that you do like to lay out in the sun and nap regularly and that hopefully they can understand that you’d like some privacy.”
“Of course you don’t owe them an explanation but this is just to maintain a civil relationship and keep the peace with neighbours who I’m sure were trying to be friendly but have overstepped. Maybe the person who used to live there was friendly with them and enjoyed the company so they are used to that sort of neighbourly relationship.” – Live-Eye
“Your home is not a public space. It’s rude for them to engage you in conversation there” – Relevant-Bicycle-215
Others pointed out the neighbors couldn’t be that nice after their reaction.
“You aren’t the social director on their cruise. You’re a homeowner trying to quietly enjoy your property.”
“They are all kinds of entitled if they think they can demand your attention and entertainment services.” – Here_for_tea_
“NTA it’s perfectly reasonable to want separation from your neighbors, they are being the AHs for acting like you are a jerk” – ComfortableZebra2412
“If they actually were nice people, they’d be embarrassed over having inconvenienced you instead of giving you s**t for wanting some privacy in your own godd**n home. So no, they are not nice people.” – Dementati
A few suggested how the OP could make the divider look more decorative than isolating.
“If you make a bit of a hanging garden off your side of the divider it makes it look like you made a decorating decision more than a privacy one, which may calm their ire a bit.” – Far_Administration41
“I did exactly this on my balcony. It not only looks nice with plants and ivy on it, but it has been so helpful for storage and I have a small grill on it, as well.”
“I get along great with my neighbor, but we both like having the bit of privacy, especially when we both have people over. I can’t imagine the balcony without it now.” – koosty
Some also felt for the OP, not always wanting to socialize in their own lives, either.
“OH God. We had that. Moved into a new home and the neighbours across the corridor were used to spending all their free time outside on the communal bench chatting with the neighbours.”
“We were both studying 60-80 hours a week and not interested in getting new friends. In exam periods I didn’t even see my parents for weeks at a time, even though they only lived 30 minutes away by bike.”
“But those neighbours found us to be really mean because we wouldn’t give up all of our free time plus all of our study time to entertain them. We were so happy when they bought a house.” – Igotanewpen
“Where I live, it’s basically a given that people in high rise buildings put up dividers on their balcony, for privacy. The newest buildings don’t even put balconies next to each other, they build it in a pattern that leaves a lot of space between them. And even then, lots of people put up dividers or plants, so people can’t see everything.”
“The desire for privacy is very understandable.”
“Personally? I hate not getting to choose when I socialize. I am a social butterfly, but my home is my retreat. I share a garden with a couple of neighbours, and before, they would just come over whenever I had my doors open. But the thing is, the doors are the only way to get fresh air in.”
“Doors open [does not equal] come over and chat. After about a year and a half, when it started getting warm again, I put up a small construction of my own making. It looks nice, doesn’t actually close off anything, but now I can sit in front of my doors, without people immediately spotting me.”
“It has helped some, thankfully, but ideally, I would honestly section off a small patio for myself. I hate communal gardens, I need to decompress at the end of the day, and I need to do so alone.” – Morigyn
The subReddit was certainly ready to support the OP’s decision to add a b visual barrier on her balcony. After all, an outdoor space is as much a part of the home as any internal room. If the OP wanted to enjoy it while remaining private, the sub agreed she should be able to.