Neighborhood Pest

Dear Annabel,

I write a blog (http://giftoffat.blogspot.com). I really enjoy the feedback I’ve been getting and am very encouraged.

My problem is, one of my dear neighbors reads my blog and feels the need to correct me after every entry. She and I are from very different backgrounds, and her world view is quite different from mine. To her credit, she gives her criticism in private. She means well.

Nevertheless, I am getting annoyed.

Does this simply come with the territory? Must I grin and bear it? Or is there a way I can kindly, gently let her know that she’s driving me nuts?

Thank you!
Mary A

Hi Miss Mary,

Thanks for the note. I can see why you’re getting impatient with Mademoiselle Know-It-All down the street.

I think it’s fine to speak up in a gentle, respectful way. Next time she chimes in, say something like:

“I’ve been meaning to tell you, I’m really just doing this for fun. My blog doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m sure plenty of people disagree with my point of view, but I really enjoy working on it. I’m glad to have you reading, but I’m not looking for any editorial feedback right now.”

Keep the tone light. If your approach is warm, friendly, and relaxed, she’ll probably back down immediately and start apologizing for her critiques. Just smile, take the high road, and say, “Don’t give it another thought.”

That’s when you deftly change the subject.

“Wow, your garden looks terrific. Are those tomato plants?”

Hopefully she’ll get the message. Good luck with both your meddlesome neighbor and your blog!

Graciously yours,

ANNABEL MANNERS

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