Straight Talk

My angry and offended neighbor assumes I think he’s a “charity case” – A letter from Tiffany

Danice Akiyoshi

Danice Akiyoshi

By Danice Akiyoshi, N.D.


Q: Last month I was cleaning out my closets, kitchen and storage areas.  We are downsizing now that our kids are in college.  I had lots of stuff piled in my driveway because I was going to donate it to our local shelter.  My neighbor was working in his garage looking at the stuff and I asked him if he could use any of it.  I offered a brand new waffle iron, crock pot, coffee maker and skillet.  He said sure, his wife uses all of those things.  I was happy he could use them.

Yesterday he approached my husband when he was washing his car and asked if I’d left stuff on his porch.  He said he didn’t appreciate me dropping off canned goods and loaves of bread on his front porch because he wasn’t a charity case.  My husband was confused but since I wasn’t home, he couldn’t give him an answer.  My husband told me he was really upset and offended.  I did not leave any food on his porch!  I can’t believe that he assumed it was me just because I gave him free kitchen items a month ago.  This makes me mad.  How should I handle it?

A: I think you were quite neighborly with your initial offering of house wares.  His assumption that you would leave groceries on his porch and treat him like a charity case is a bit on the rude side.  You have done nothing out of line and are obviously quite charitable.  My advice is for you to knock on his door and ask him directly why he would assume such a thing about you.  If you wait a day or two I’ll bet he and his wife will probably discover who actually did drop the food off on their doorstep.  Leave him with the impression that you don’t shy away from inaccurate assumptions about your actions.  Politely invite him to speak to you directly in the future if he ever again has a question about you.  Continue to be neighborly, but dial it back a little bit.  This guy is obviously not on the same page as you.