Space Invaders

St. Mary's Wilderness 017


“He’s touching me,” wails the little one from the back seat.

“Stay on your side,” whines the culprit.




“He hit me!”

“She hit me first!”

For some reason children just can’t seem to keep their hands (or feet or other various body parts) to themselves. They are constantly encroaching upon one another’s space.

As adults we are space invaders as well. We don’t always use our hands to poke and feet to kick, but we often stick our noses where they don’t belong.

I enjoy people, but I sure enjoy my space as well. There are times I welcome intrusion and other times I become annoyed. Perhaps it depends on the person who invades my space or the activity in which I’m engaged at the moment. Or maybe, it’s really more about my mood.

It’s difficult to draw boundary lines at times. People invade our space in various ways. There are the solicitation calls or the inconvenient time of the caller. There are the people in checkout lines who comment on our purchases. There are the unsolicited advice givers. There are the nosy neighbors who must come out and converse whenever they see you in your yard, no matter whether you have guests or not. There are conversation interrupters, line shovers, and road rashers. And then there are know-it-alls around every corner.

The fact is we invade other’s spaces as well. We might know we are doing it and there are times we haven’t a clue.

Have you ever had a neighbor who is constantly invading your privacy? Trust me, fences might keep people on their side but it doesn’t always stop the questioning of what you’re doing or the attempts at veering your attention from the tasks or people at hand. I usually don’t say anything when people invade my space. Is that the polite thing to do or should I speak my mind? I have found myself giving one word answers or ignoring them which is probably ruder than just telling them to mind their own business. I suppose I’m sounding harsh but there are times I’d like to spend quiet evenings with only my family or friends. There are other times I want the solitude to sit in my yard and read, write, or think.

I have neighbors who are my friends and we are respectful of one another’s privacy and family time. This post is not in reference to those relationships. I’m just wondering how to handle those who push the limits.

From a young age we are taught to share our space and our toys. I admit I’m better at sharing my toys than I am my space. How about you?

How do you insure your privacy? What do you do to ward off interruptions? How do you handle space invaders?

Perhaps I simply need to be less of a hermit.

27 thoughts on “Space Invaders

  1. I disagree you need to change your ways. we all are entitled our privacy. I’ve been known to greet the uninvited at the gate with a rifle so… no, I feel no compunction to be other than I am. a woman who wants and gets her privacy! and I have no neighbors, making it much easier! 😉

    those are the creepiest little bugs, all strangers to me! but great example of overcrowding!! 🙂

    • You crack me up! Don’t think we could get away with that around here! I guess if I didn’t live in the city I might not have neighbors in such close proximity.

  2. Love this post topic Suzi, because I’m very sensitive to not my own space and boundaries being invaded, but also giving that respect to others – knowing when to speak and when not to speak, standing at a healthy distance while talking with others, and respecting people’s privacy.

    “There are the unsolicited advice givers.”

    Yup! I listen when someone is talking to me about something, to get a sense of whether they’re actually asking for advice before I open my mouth. Because some people just want to vent what they feel, but are not looking for advice. Sometimes listening is more helpful than speaking.

    ” I suppose I’m sounding harsh but there are times I’d like to spend quiet evenings with only my family or friends. There are other times I want the solitude to sit in my yard and read, write, or think.”

    No, I don’t think you sound harsh at all. You just enjoy socializing a times and times when you don’t feel like socializing. I’m the same way. I think many creative and artistic people are this way.

    I’m can be both a social person and a hermit.

    ” How do you handle space invaders?”

    Sometimes I’ll try to tell with my energy that they’re invading my space, but if that doesn’t work I’ll just come out with it and tell them – HA!

    Great post, my friend…..X

  3. Yep, we have a neighbor that 80% of the time if he sees Tony and I sitting outside, enjoying an adult beverage listening to music, brings his own cocktail and walks right over. Normally, we don’t mind, but there are times where we are like “really?!” But he’s our neighborhood watch guy – we know he takes good care of our house when we are not there, so we make the best of it. 😀

  4. Seriously, Suzi ~ twin daughters, different mothers.

    When people ask a question that I don’t want to answer because it is none of their business, I sometimes smile and reply, “Why do you ask?”

    I had neighbors in NC that would not allow me 5 minutes to sit in the sun in the quiet to read a book without hollering at me to come over and “set a spell” . . . so they could tell me about all the mental and physical ailments of all of their friends and congregation members, even if I’d never met them before.

    And they would not take no for an answer.
    And it drove me crazy.

    So I moved. :mrgreen:

    In NJ, I had a neighbor who boasted and bragged about the size of the steak he ate, the price of the car he drove, and the size of the lobster he planned to treat me too as soon as I agreed to go out to dinner with them. I started to sneak out and sit hidden from his view by the fence around one side of our deck.

    I would pop my head up over the rail to make sure he wasn’t there when I wanted to sneak inside for a drink.

    I never got the promised lobster . . . or the ride in his Mercedes.

    I had neighbors in MD who commented every time I went out for a walk around the neighborhood. I got the sense they were sitting by the window just waiting for me to appear. Creepy.

    Here, I am “invisible” unless I choose not to be. I can go out on the back deck and no one can see me because of the lagoon. Aah . . . that’s better.

    • IWOW!
      I don’t plan on moving, but I’m am thinking of planting something really tall and wide along my fence line, lol!
      One of my problems is that I run a daycare business and she meets my clients in MY driveway sometimes in the morning. Or she comes out in the evenings if I’m outside with the kids at pick up time. I moved the kids and play stuff to the other side of the yard away from her house, and now some days at pick up time she takes her dog for a walk and comes around to the other side of my house and proceeds to talk to the parents AND walk with them to their cars!They have been very nice about it but I can tell they are annoyed because they try to ignore her. I’m going to have to say something or I’m going to explode in front of them.

      • Sounds like she’s lonely, or wants a kid fix, or both.

        You probably need to say something to her. I’m sure the families are anxious to get home to get dinner going, and aren’t looking to get into a drawn out conversation when they are dropping off and picking up their kids.

        Do you ever need a break in the middle of the day? Maybe you could ask her to come over to help you serve the kids lunch? Or invite her to “Show and Tell” once a week. She could bring her dog.

        Good luck.

  5. As another lover-of-my-quiet-times, I so relate to this post. Sure, some people are just plain nosy — those are the ones who ask impertinent questions — while others seem to have no clue their questions are rude. To both I respond something like, “Why do you need to know?” Makes me feel a bit uncharitable, but when you work for yourself at home, everybody tends to take advantage if you let them!

  6. You are so nice, not harsh. I wonder why we worry so much what everyone else thinks. It’s a nice girl thing. I love the idea of saying, “Why do you ask?” I think people continue to take advantage unless we question them. Good luck. I’m not thinking moving sounds very feasible! 😉

    • Yes, moving is out of the question because she is otherwise a very good neighbor and a really nice person. I have (to no avail) used similar phrases as to “Why do you ask?” Perhaps I just need to continue it to set boundaries. I try to be careful not to hurt other’s feeling, sometimes at my own.

  7. Oh my goodness, that flower is crowded! When I read your intro, I immediately thought of Peanut and her brother! I understand why some clients are uncomfortable with a strange woman trying to interact with them. Especially when kids are involved. We’re all just a little more suspicious these days. Perhaps she is just lonely. Depending on the type of relationship you have with her, you might be able to elude to the idea that some parents are super-protective and are a little uncomfortable since they don’t know her personally. It’s a delicate situation, and hopefully it won’t be necessary to be blunt.

    • It’s not interaction with the children she wants but to converse with the parents. It will work itself out. Her intentions are honorable…it just conflicts with my business hours.

  8. The beginning of your post brought a smile as it reminded me of the 1000’s of family car trips up to the cabin from the cities (5 kids and a big dog) we made the 250 mile trip up north every weekend for most of youth.
    Sorry, I don’t really have any advice for you because I don’t have to deal with it … I am a true hermit … my nearest neighbor is seasonal (summer) … everyone else is several miles away. Hey, you could move to the middle of the woods!
    The only insight I can provide is that sometimes (because of my hermit life in the woods) when I get with friends I might turn into that “nosey” neighbor out of my own boredom or loneliness.
    Good post Suzi.

  9. That narrative sounds like my boys in the car. We can’t even get down the street before they are fighting.

    This made me laugh because I’m the same way. I’m content with a wave in passing. When I lived in Phoenix, I had a couple neighbors that I avoided. One I felt guilty for avoiding because she is very nice, but when I got home from work, the last thing I wanted to do was chat for half an hour in the sweltering heat. The other neighbor was just creepy. She would just appear and scared the wits out of me many times. I remember one Thanksgiving, I was seven months pregnant with my younger son and was trying to get the car loaded to head over to my parents’ house. My older son (who was 3) wanted to help by carrying grandma’s pyrex dish to the car. Yep. He dropped it. Glass shards sprayed over the garage floor. As I was on my hands and knees sweeping glass out from under the truck, the annoying neighbor lady appeared and said something like, “oh, if you’re cleaning, you can come over to my garage.” I don’t think I was very nice in my response, but she didn’t pop over so much after that. Thankfully, they moved before too long.

    • We have other neighbors who have small kids and the little ones and I enjoy their company every chance we get. I just don’t like the interference with my clients (the children’s parents) when they are trying to get to work or home…most people are in a hurry to get some where and don’t like being delayed.

  10. We often have neighbors pop in – esp this time of year, when we are in the front yard. The yard has a tall hedge, so there’s some privacy and there’s some nice tucked away spots in the back in case we really want privacy, but for the most part, it’s not a problem. Edie, on the other hand, sometimes has to deal with unwanted pop-ins of the smaller sort, as some of the neighborhood kids will pop in on her to see what she’s up to. One little friend in particular will call and pop in several times over the course of a weekend, even when we tell her she’s not around until late Sunday evening. We’ve at least gotten through to her to please not call before 9 am on weekend mornings.

  11. From my experience I have learned that the best way to deal with things of this nature is to be honest. Since the person doing the invading does not recognize it as an invasion then subtle hints will not keep it from happening. If I were being interrupted during my business hours I would explain to the person that I am at work and I need to focus on it. I would offer times when I was available for chatting but be clear on the hours I am not available. I know a lot of time people don’t like to say things because it might “hurt their feelings” but I think that people would be more hurt to know that there is resentment toward them. It is sad when you feel you have to “hide” from you neighbors or rush of your guest or clients so they don’t get “stuck” talking to the neighbor.

    In glancing at the comments, my thoughts are that perhaps you can explain to your neighbor that the parents are in a rush and don’t have time to talk. Or that they too are in “work mode” and need to be left alone in order to prepare themselves for the day.

    I am sure you will come up with a great solution that will work for you, your neighbor and your clients.

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