Needy Neighbor


My neighbor has become a close friend but lately I dread hearing from her bc she always wants something from me. There are times when it is not a problem and I’m happy to do what she wants. But sometimes I find myself saying yes bc otherwise she gets mad at me. More and more I’ve started to make excuses for things just because I don’t want to be around her. I am a reformed (reforming) people pleaser who needs a lot of practice in creating boundaries.
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a boundary issue or not. But when she asks me to do things for her, she doesn’t really ask. She says “I need you to meet me at Lowes this afternoon.” Or “I need you to help me give the cats medicine.” I really like to help people. But it’s to the point now that when I get a text from here that starts off, “Are you at home?” I do an eye roll and start thinking up excuses for what I can say bc I’m pretty sure the next text starts off “I need you to….”

Once when I said I couldn’t help her b/c I had to work to meet a deadline (not an excuse, really did have a work deadline) she brought it back up later in the week when I asked her if she wanted to go to the movies. She said, “No, I don’t want to go. Plus I thought you had a work deadline.” So I can tell she doesn’t like being told no. And I feel like I do say yes a lot.
She puts me on the spot alot. I feel pressured to respond in a certain way and it’s usually an excuse or I say yes bc I can’t come up with an assertive “no” response quick enough. How can I respond to her when I’m on the spot in a loving yet tactful and assertive way?

You are absolutely right about having the same kinds of relationships throughout our lives. I’ve been in this place before. And the next step is usually shutting the person out and no longer being friends. But I feel that God made us neighbors for a reason and there is much I can learn and grow from this situation. So I’m committed to sticking it out. Plus…neighbors…so I really can’t escape unless I want to move. ☺

So are boundaries appropriate only for serious issues like stealing, drunk driving, etc? Or can they be for smaller, maybe less important things like when my neighbor says “I need you to…”
Could you also help me with a model?

Unintentional thought
C-Neighbor texts I need you…
T-Crap! What is it now? What excuse can I make up not to do it?
F-dread, frustration
A-make excuses, or make up a reason why I cant (which makes me feel terrible)
R-withdraw, shut down from her

Intentional thought (My A and R lines don’t feel right)
C-neighbor texts I need you
T-She is my friend but I’m an adult and I get to decide whether or not I want to do this. I’m not responsible for how she feels about my decision.
F-assertive, mature
A-Help when I can and want to
R-Don’t dread her calls.
Thanks Brooke!