Dear Blake,

I have lived in my apartment for nine years. When I moved in, I met a woman who moved in about the same time. We became friendly, and I enjoyed talking to her at the pool and mailbox — until I got to know her better. She has alienated all the other neighbors and kids in the complex with her attitude. She butts into conversations and asks personal questions, despite claiming to “mind her business and keep to herself.” I was raised to be forgiving and understanding. I have reached out to her and taken her to the store and medical appointments, but then she freaks out, swears and demands that I speed up, take her to thrift stores, etc. She asks why I don’t take the freeway instead of surface streets with traffic lights.

I finally quit taking her places, but now she has started walking into my apartment, sitting down and asking me questions. She also gets mad when she sees I went to the store without her. How do I politely, but firmly, tell her to leave me alone and I no longer want to have anything to do with her? She makes me anxious and drives me crazy. I understand she’s lonely, but she’s a miserable person to be around.

Signed, Carmelita
From Chicago, Illinois

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Dear Carmelita,

It appears to me that your neighbor is an insensitive pest. That only way to deal with people like that, is to treat as if she is a wicked stepchild. Here are some tips. Ask her some personal questions, and demand answers, like what’s the name of the doctor that gave her a lobotomy. Or tell her the next time she wants you to speed up in traffic, accelerate and slow down abruptly as you approach stoplights to the point where she feels she’s getting whiplash. Or this idea. Tell her you want to live a healthier life, and now you only ride around town on a ten speed. Thus, if she wants to be transported by you, tell her she can ride on the handlebars. And lastly, this suggestion. If she continues to walk into your apartment unannounced, you can either keep your door locked, get a restraining order against her, or take a course in kickboxing. I hope this helps.