A man recently asked for advice about a neighborhood dispute. His neighbors wanted to police his behavior, but was he right to tell them that he’d do as he pleased on his own land? Here’s what he had to say:
He Lived Out In The Sticks
“I (40M) live in a somewhat rural place: decent land between houses and lots of forest. In between me and my neighbors’ land, there’s a decent-sized pond. Technically, it’s all on my land, but one side of it is surrounded by my neighbors’ land. There’s a dock on it. I upgraded it about 15 years ago, so it’s somewhat nice. It’s right next to the property boundary, if that’s important.”
The Dock Was A Great Place To Hang Out
The man loved to go down to the dock to hang out after a long day. He had the ideal setup down there: just him, his dog, his laptop, and an ice-cold drink. But not everybody could see the appeal.
The Neighbors Were A Young Family
“My neighbors are in their late 20s/early 30s and moved in a few years ago. They have a pair of young kids, both under ten (I’d guess maybe 5/6 and 8/9). Their backyard is not far from where I am in the evening, and neither yard is fenced in. Every few days, the kids come outside when I am down by the pond.”
The Neighbors Became Concerned
The man’s neighbors got in touch with him to make a request. They wanted him to go inside whenever their kids came out. Having a man outside with their children made them uncomfortable.
He Tried To Reassure His Neighbors
The man stressed that he didn’t have a criminal record and represented no kind of danger to his neighbors’ children. He just wanted to be left alone to relax. However, it soon became clear that the man’s presence was only the first issue that the neighbors had.
He Wasn’t The Only Problem
The man’s neighbors were also concerned about his dog. Even though he kept it tied up when he was on the docks and the dog never barked at anyone, the neighbors felt that the canine was a threat to their kids’ safety. Again, the man could understand why they might find the dog imposing. But he was not ready for the next item on the neighbors’ list of grievances.
The Neighbors Told Him That He Couldn’t Drink
The man was shocked when his neighbors asked him to stop drinking on the dock. He couldn’t believe it, as he never had more than one beverage and certainly never got out of control.
He Pushed Back Against His Neighbors
The man appreciated where his neighbors were coming from, but he told them that he didn’t pose a threat to their kids. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t do what he wanted on his own land. He was already taking precautions, like tying up the dog, but it sounded like his neighbors wanted to micromanage his entire life.
The Neighbors Were Furious
The man continued to live his life as he’d always done. He expected the conflict with his neighbors to just blow over. However, he soon received an angry letter from his neighbors demanding that he change his ways.
He Started To Wonder
Even though he knew he wasn’t a problem, the man understood that his neighbors just wanted to protect their precious children. He wondered if he should have been more polite and if they, not he, were in the right.
Should He Have Changed His Ways?
The man worried that he’d been unnecessarily rude to his neighbors. They were just looking out for their kids. But, on the other hand, it was his yard, and he should be able to do what he wanted, as long as it wasn’t illegal or immoral. He didn’t see how sitting out with his dog and a beer was either of those things.
The Internet Responded
One person suggested that the man needed to be harsher if his neighbors continued to act out: “If they send another nasty letter, get a solicitor to send a cease and desist letter. They’re harassing you and trying to dictate what you do on your own land. Unreal.”
Another person agreed. They said, “Tell them to build their kids a fence if they don’t like it. You are on your property, and they don’t get to dictate your behavior on your own property. If they don’t like it, their kids can play in the front yard. Not your problem.”
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