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Problem with my downstairs neighbor

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Here's the situation. I live on the third story of a 12-unit apartment building. One of the second-story tenants is a single mom with three boys. She's about my age (early forties). She works, but is always struggling for survival.

In the past, I have been quite neighborly to her. I have baked cookies for her kids, let them borrow videotapes, treated them at Halloween, even given her OTC medicine and chicken soup when they were sick.

For at least the past six months, she has not had a working telephone in her apartment, presumably because she wasn't able to pay the bill. She comes up and asks to use mine, and up until recently it wasn't a problem.

A few days ago, she came up three times in one evening, and then late that night someone called for her (their caller ID must have picked up my number). They asked for her and when I told them she didn't live here but used my phone sometimes, they wanted me to go and get her. I told them I was already in bed. No dice.

Last night when she knocked, I ignored it and hoped she couldn't hear me moving around in my apartment. I felt supremely silly hiding out in my own home, but I have to admit to feeling a little taken advantage of. I can't feel comfortable trying to have a quiet evening in my pajamas, you know?

Then I feel guilty. I am a single woman and live in far better circumstances than she does, etc. etc. etc. Is it really that much of a hassle for me to let her use my phone?

Then I think of the calls she usually makes. She tells me they're people who owe her money and she's calling to have them drop it by, but is it money or drugs? She's very vague on the phone, usually saying, "Are you going to come by? When?" and that sort of thing. She is black and I am white, so even suspecting this makes me feel like Archie Bunker's girlfriend. *sigh*

Am I being a terrible and selfish person not wanting to let this woman break in on my evening every night? Of course if she had an emergency or one of the kids was sick I would help her immediately; but how can I make that clear without telling her "Otherwise, stay away?" lol I've even thought of adding an extra line to my cell phone for her, but I'm afraid if I do that, she might run up a huge bill that I can't afford to pay, or use all my minutes. What would you do?
post #2 of 17
She's taking advantage of you if you ask me.

And i'd stay well clear if you think these people she's calling are into drugs as well.

Your times your own and she should respect that. Fair enough if she needed the phone in an emergency, but not for her personal use.
post #3 of 17
Tell her that you dont mind her needing to borrow the phone every now and then but it is getting to be a little much. you want to relax when you get home frm work and not have to worry about having people call you at night wanting you to go get here. you pay the bills it is your line and your home. people iwll take advantage of you if you let them. the race thing shouldnt be an issues at all. good luck.
post #4 of 17
I had a similar problem with a neighbor and my washer and dryer. The landlord paid the water bill, so I didn't mind letting her do a load occasionally. Then it got to be every Sunday she wanted to do her laundry for the week. I spoke to her about it, but she still kept coming. I finally put a note on the door that said "I am watching the race. Unless someone is bleeding profusely or the house is on fire, GO AWAY!" Can you believe she thought it was not meant for her! I had to stop it completely. She became very hostile toward me after that, and stomped around on my ceiling at night. I finally had to speak to the landlord about her.
Being neighborly is one thing, but you are being taken advantage of. If you are suspicious, there is probably a reason. It is not your fault that she has 3 kids she can barely take care of. If she is a nice person, she will understand you needing your privacy, if she is not, you do not need her around anyway. I hope this works out for you.
post #5 of 17
I would definetly give her strict guidelines before things get out of hand.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I just wish there was a nice way to say what I have to say. I feel so guilty!
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
She tells me they're people who owe her money and she's calling to have them drop it by, but is it money or drugs? She's very vague on the phone, usually saying, "Are you going to come by? When?" and that sort of thing.
Hi
I vote for it being drugs if this is what the convo sounds like:

"Hi, Can you come by?" or "Hi, Are you going to come by?" or "Hi, Are you around?" or "Hi, Can I come see you" or "Hi, Are you on the road?"

The caller on other end says when and where or no.

She says "Ok, 15 minutes?" or any variation of time..... or just says "ok, bye"

Its not a social call and is all business.

She then leaves very shortly after that.

Take it from a previous expert on the matter.

I hope that isn't what it is and you do sound as if you have opened up your heart as well as your door to this family.

The next time she comes up simply ask her to limit her calls to one to two (MAX) per day.
If she persists, or comes by after this, simply yell out you are busy and to come back tomorrow.

Hopefully, she would get the hint after just one simple conversation.

Don't feel bad about putting limits on your friendship.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Hi
I vote for it being drugs if this is what the convo sounds like:

"Hi, Can you come by?" or "Hi, Are you going to come by?" or "Hi, Are you around?" or "Hi, Can I come see you" or "Hi, Are you on the road?"

The caller on other end says when and where or no.

She says "Ok, 15 minutes?" or any variation of time..... or just says "ok, bye"
This is EXACTLY how it goes. Oh, wow. Am I glad I didn't do the cell phone thing. I can just see my records being subpoenaed for a drug case ... sheesh, I work for a religious official. LOL
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
This is EXACTLY how it goes. Oh, wow. Am I glad I didn't do the cell phone thing. I can just see my records being subpoenaed for a drug case ... sheesh, I work for a religious official. LOL
Glad to be of service

Umm. yeah, a cell phone in her name doesn't sound like a good idea.

(when I was a drug addict, I couldn't afford a phone either, but I had the common courtesy to cross the street to use the payphone...

In seriousness though, if you feel that those kids may be in danger (ie, if its drugs that are an issue and these drugs are narcotic in nature), I might even go beyond discontinuing the phone use and put in a phone call to CFS or DFS or whatever Child and Family services is there to simply see if she has an open file already or if they could possibly do a home check.
Its a harsh consequence and I would only do this if you do really suspect nefarious goings on, but its worth it for the kids sake if something, in fact, is.
post #10 of 17
This is one of those cases where your trying to be a good person & someone takes advantage of you. It's too bad because you are a much better neighbor than most people. No matter what her situtation is you shouldn't feel guilty for needing your space. These calls whatever they are, are not emergancies. If a child was sick, that's one thing, but now she's put herself in a positions that in case of a real emergancy you may not be so willing to believe her. Don't feel bad because you have more than she does. I'm sure that your prosperity is a direct result of good decisions on your part & like I said before you've already been a better neighbor than most people.
post #11 of 17
She should get a prepaid cell phone if she can't afford anything else. DO NOT get her a line on yours! Are you close to her that you can find out why she is so short of money, or if she is really doing drugs? If you do think she is doing drugs, do not leave her alone in your house, do not leave any valuables around in sight if you must have her over. Also I would block your number when if she still uses your phone.
post #12 of 17
i'd say it's definately drugs and i would either limit her calls or stop them completely, she can use a pay phone for that kind of thing.

i know how you feel though, i find it very hard to tell people no and often let people do what ever they want even if i really don't like it but if it's become a nuisence then i think maybe leave a friendly note to let her know how you feel.....or, tell her you only have a phone people can call you on and that you can't call out anymore, tell her you couldn't afford it lol


goodluck


felicia
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
She knocked again last night and I ignored it. I'm such a wimp. LOL

Really though, the idea that she might be using my phone to hook up with her "connection" makes me so mad that I'm better off not confronting her about it.

I think I will just continue to ignore her knocks.
post #14 of 17
Yeah i would limit her from using my phone and wouldnt get her a cell phone or even a prepaid phone.

But one thing that bothered me was the whole black and white thing that comment just didnt sit well with me
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
It bothers me too, which is why I hesitated mentioning it. I don't like to think of myself as the kind of person who would immediately jump to the conclusion that because this single mom is black, she must be doing drugs. Plus, the fact that she is black and poor puts me on this whole defensive-white-girl thing. lol

Sorry if I offended you.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vibiana
It bothers me too, which is why I hesitated mentioning it. I don't like to think of myself as the kind of person who would immediately jump to the conclusion that because this single mom is black, she must be doing drugs. Plus, the fact that she is black and poor puts me on this whole defensive-white-girl thing. lol

Sorry if I offended you.
I can relate to the guilt and the black/white thing. I know exactly what you were trying to say and it wasn't racial at all. I've lived in urban neighborhoods where the majority of the residents were black. I often felt bad that my situation, despite where I was living, was better than most. I loved the multi-cultural street we lived on and it's sad how the neighborhood deteriorated. What's interesting is that I now live in a town that is 99.99% white and I feel guilty because we seem to be doing better than a lot of these folks !! Maybe you're afraid of people around you judging you for either not helping her out or associating you with her if she is known to be involved in illegal activities.

In your case this lady is taking advantage of you. What if law enforcement is tracking the calls of any of her "friends" ? They're seeing the calls come to YOUR home - not hers. I'd continue to ignore the knocks - she'll get the picture. If anyone calls for her I'd just tell them they have the wrong number and hang up. I love caller id because I don't even pick up the phone if I don't know who's calling !
post #17 of 17
Don't worry, I know what you meant about the black/white thing. Honestly, I think that there are just as many white people doing drugs out there. I work in the criminal court and see people of every color involved with this stuff.
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