Letter: Nosy Neighbors

We are a hard working family and we want our family to move near us, especially since the gas prices have become so expensive and made family trips less frequent.

However our family and many of our friends are very much turned off by the nosy neighbors.

The problem is the neighbors ask all our guests tons of non-stop personal questions. They need to know how much money people make and how much they spend, how much they have in the bank, and what they do all day and where they went and the questions go on and on.

If this were just some neighbors we could avoid them. The issue is that the invasion of privacy is prevalent throughout the (Lakewood) community. We know many people who have moved out and many who want to move out because it’s really not nice manners to ask people so many very personal questions.

Also, the constant nosiness is something that many guests have mentioned throughout the years. Imagine how embarrassing it is when before the guests even get to our front door they’re already asked so many personal questions from the neighbors?

We are turning to TLS in the hopes of posting this to remind people that sometimes someone is a gerr or a balteshuva, or perhaps having difficult marital or other family issues and these questions often lead to Loshon Hora, richilus, and even jealousy.

There’s Halacha about how neighbors should not look into their neighbors houses, and affairs. If people realized that it’s hurtful to make people feel badly about being poor or the things they don’t have or reminding them about being a gerr or comparing one’s husband to another’s husband, maybe people would think before asking so many questions that are not their business.

We have a friendly community, but we should not feel like people are too nosy.

Thank you so much for publishing this, perhaps people will weigh in on the topic and maybe help spread the message of not being nosy.

Name withheld

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  1. You must live in a weird neighborhood, no one asks anyone any of those questions in any neighborhood I’ve ever been in, anywhere ever. The only question people ask is, if they work what kind of work do they do, which isn’t a nosy question at all.

  2. This is so true. I have multiple neighbors that are nosy with one even instructing me how to spend my money! I was told that I “should” add on to my home for my married kids etc… The question asked about my family is extensive and intrusive. If I don’t answer, they ask my kids! Disgusting. My siblings are disgusted at this nosiness and mixing in already.

  3. I have lived here for 40 years,never heard such questions.
    There are weirdos in any community.
    I don’t believe that Lakewood was zoche to more than any other town.

  4. The comment by Consultant wss exactly what I was thinking. To paint your issue as a “Lakewood” issue is extremely off base and completely inaccurate. Maybe this is an issue (a very strange and weird issue) in your neighborhood but none that I have ever lived in, visited, or others that I know live in.

  5. Any questions beyond “Welcome, how are you.” Is nosy. Lakewood has it’s fair share of yentas, which is beyond polite and mature social behavior. The Ibn Ezra and Gra often commented on this in very strong words.

  6. Hmm, has the writer considered politely telling her questioners that she will not respond to her those inquiries and that she finds them invasive?

  7. Very strange letter. I’ve lived in a few different neighborhoods in Lakewood over about 25 years and I was neighbors with and encountered many, many people and I only encountered ONE person that acted anywhere close to this (not nearly as bad as described here) and I quickly realized that she had her own personal issues and learned to avoid her and that was the end of that. To paint a whole community like this seems to be extremely odd.

    • Yes, I too learnt to avoid a nosy neighbor. It’s sad. They have kids my kids age and they too are the nosy type. Like parent like child. I think they think they are demonstrating friendship through conversation. Like maybe thinking it makes them close to you to know all about you but it’s actually uncomfortable. Obviously, not all neighbors are like this but it only takes one neighbor to make you uncomfortable in your neighborhood. I too have been living here for many years. Don’t feel like moving for this but I believe it comes from being socially off. They can’t help it. Avoidance is my only answer.

      • Socialization takes many forms. If the childs parents don’t teach them this queries are inappropriate and invasive the kids have no way of knowing they are.

  8. You feel better now? None of your business. What does that have to do with you? I’ll tell you what you make: You make me feel uncomfortable, and worse because you have no clue as to my back-story.

  9. The solution is to be evasive to people’s
    ?’s. Lie to them because that’s all they deserve
    2)To the 1st comment, I think it’s very wrong to ask what one does for a living.

  10. Hardly appropriate to paint a special, elevated town of Talmidei Chachomim with broad strokes! If you are experiencing this problem it does not indicated that it it is a Lakewood issue. Its a personal spin on remarks made to you, many of them really innocent and well-meaning.

  11. When I moved into my neighborhood, I put up a big sign on my lawn detailing how much money I make, how much I spend and how much I have in the bank – including scratch-off lottery winnings and Oorah raffle prizes. I also listed what I do all day and where I typically go during different hours of the day. I made sure to use paste-on letters on the sign, so that when my earnings and daily activities changed, I would update the sign with my latest status.
    For the most part, the sign worked like a charm – no more questions asked of me…., except for the know-it-alls who started badgering me about the cheap quality of my sign.
    “Why don’t you get a professional neon sign, or a sign with letters that can be read in the dark?” they would ask me, among dozens of other ‘sign’ questions.
    Ultimately, my solution for the know-it-alls was to put up a second sign on my lawn detailing all my reasons for putting up a less fancier sign.
    Currently, nobody is bothering me anymore. However, it’s gotten awfully quiet around here without the constant barrage of questions – which is why I might move out of here soon, very soon.

  12. sounds like you have one (maybe two) neighbors who has trouble respecting social boundaries and common courtesy. I find it hard to believe that the whole neighborhood is sitting around interrogating your guests FBI style. Please dont malign our beautiful town because you have neighbors with social issues.

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