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I live in a predominantly white neighborhood. It’s a great place to live, though not the friendliest. Everyone keeps to himself but would occasional nod or smile when they pass you as they’re walking their dogs or showing the undocumented workers how to till their yard. They always for some reason think my 6’1 biracial husband is a Mexican migrant worker. He’s gotten several offers to do yard work. Anyway, being an African girl, I speak to everyone. Mom taught me to always acknowledge another human by opening my mouth and saying “Hello!” It’s easy and it’s free. But not everyone was raised by my momma.

Now to the point. I have an Asian-American neighbor further down the road who refuses to speak to me. Whenever I’m power walking, I’d see either him or his wife. I’d say, “Good Morning! Hello! Good Evening!” Or the American favorite, “Hi!” No matter what I say, they say nothing. They just give me a stoic, mean look as if they didn’t hear or see me and wish I would just disappear like dust on a windy day. I mention their ethnicity because I thought perhaps it was a cultural thing; well until I saw them say hello to a neighbor who didn’t look like me. But I’m not giving up.  They will love me one day.


The following are five legal ways to engage a standoffish neighbor or someone who just can’t stand you.

Say Hello Again

So you’ve politely spoken to her 29 times with zero response. That’s okay. Say hello again. If they can be consistently mean, you can be consistently be nice.

Bring Him/Her a Holiday Gift

Everyone loves Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Valentine’s Day, or Mother’s Day. Even Ebeneezer Scrooge never turned away a Christmas present; neither will your grumpy neighbor. Bring a gift but expect nothing in return but an unconscious melt in their cold little heart.

Tell Him About God

Share your faith and spirutal beliefs. If he or she doesn’t like God, you don’t stand a chance. Anyone who doesn’t like God, who’s flawless, definitely aint gonna like you with all your issues.

Appease to His False Sense of Safety and Security

Tell him you’ve noticed a strange man entering his house when he’s at work. If he’s married, this may be a bad idea. But just let your neighbor know that you’re watching his house and helping to keep his property safe while he’s out working to afford it.

Have Others Join You in Saying Hello

You’ve tried everything and this neighbor is determined not to acknowledge your existence. There’s only one thing left to do. Put his meanness on display. Either invite other neighbors or about seven of your friends with you to knock on his door. When you arrive, you speak first. If he or she doesn’t respond in kind, have the other neighbors respond in disgust. Haters don’t like to be outed.