Hi everyone who reads this blog,

I am really frustrated.  And tired.  And I know there are not a lot of you out there, but if you would like to comment or email, I would appreciate it on this matter (and oh, hey, J who lives next door – please just don’t forward or repeat this!  Thanks!)

Here is the situation:

We live in a three-family condo, and we are the middle family.

Our downstairs neighbors used to be our super-tight friends.

Now they hate us (me).

Actually, they’ve hated me for a while now, and it has been variably tolerable/intolerable during that time.  Now we’re back in the intolerable phase, and it! is! killing! me!  I hate to be hated.  I am a hatable person – for sure – but I usually try to remedy things, because if there is anything I hate worse than being hated, it’s not being able to discuss things in the open.  Which is what happens when you are hated.  (Follow that?)

Here is what happened:

My neighbor and I had a discussion regarding our shared health condition.  I thought I was helpful, and she felt it was hurtful.  I didn’t know she was hurt by it for a few months, though, so I noticed that she and her husband were becoming more and more distant – and I was confused.

We held a condo meeting in a restaurant.  The guy downstairs and the guy upstairs ordered really expensive meals, on the condo, and then we had a heated discussion about how we needed to raise condo fees.  But, see, I was in school full-time, and we could not afford to raise condo fees by $40/month like Guy Downstairs wanted (to be able to cover his extravagant condo expenses).  And if money was so tight, why order a $60 dinner?

(OK, so I might have been a little pissed about that.  But it was not personal. It was about fiscal responsibility.)

So DB and I invited them up to discuss it, since we *valued* their friendship and wanted to make sure we cleared the air.

They came upstairs to our place, talked for like 3 hours in our living room, and by the end of it, we thought things were better.  DB said, “That went really well!”, happily, and I said, “We’ll see…” because I am a pessimist that way.  At any rate, we felt like we’d done as much as we could to clear the air.

The next morning, I received an email from the husband that said, in part, “Rachel, you’re a passive-aggressive [bitch]”, and no, he did not use the word bitch, but he used lots of other similar words to say the same thing.  In short:  Rachel, we hate you.

Huh? – on so many levels, right?  I mean, pessimism about our future as BFFs is one thing – this outright verbal violence is something entirely different.

I mean, what more passive-aggressive move is there than to sit in my house for three hours, pretend you’re fine with me, and then send me an EMAIL to tell me you hate me?

Or let’s discuss how um, wait, I’m NOT passive-aggressive?  Like I have been called many, many, many things in my life – and they are not all positive – but “passive” really isn’t part of the picture?  (You need to know me to understand this.)

Or maybe how “passive-aggressive” is a clinical term – and he is not a clinician, or even close to it?

So I did what anyone would do when their former friends call them a passive-aggressive bitch:  I cried.

Hard.

Embarrassingly hard.

I sent a reply email to him that said, basically, “WOW – that is misplaced” – and he wrote back and said, “I meant every word.”

Ouch.

So when we went downstairs to talk to them again that night (their idea, not ours), he apologized for upsetting me.  And I. got. pissed.

Eventually, after his wife cajoled him (“you’re sorry you said this, aren’t you?  SAY YOU’RE SORRY FOR SAYING THIS!“) he said, “OK! FINE! SORRY!” – which also doesn’t count, but I took it and walked out.

That was in February last year.  DB went to a war zone, and they came up the stairs to say goodbye – to him only.  For three months, I managed things on my own.  I prayed that I wouldn’t get locked out, because I knew that if I was stuck outside and they saw me, there was no way they’d come and let me in.  They refuse to sign for our packages if they’re home when the UPS guy comes.

At one point, in June, I sent them another email.  This one was over the seemingly interminable run of nightclub-level music below me – I must have asked him 35 times to turn it down, and every time he wanted to negotiate – “where are you?  Over the dining room?  Over the kitchen?” – when really, let’s be honest, just turn it down.  If I can sing along to your music, it! is! too! loud!  You chose to live in a condo.  Turn. it. down.

But this last email was a little stronger.  It said, in short, “Could we be neighborly?  I value our old relationship and I would like a sign from you that you would like to resurrect it, too”.

And it was met with a resounding silence.

And I felt very crappy again.

Scroll forward to this weekend.  As a way of a backstory, about a year ago, DB decided that the condo steps needed to be replaced.  When he got in there, he realized that EVERYTHING needed to be replaced, since they were rotten (100 year old house = crappy steps).  So he replaced all of the steps (handy DB).

Then he left town for 6 months, and it got cold, etc.

So this weekend was the weekend to paint the steps, replace the crown moulding, etc.  You know, completely revamp the entryway to the condo.

We devoted an entire three-day weekend to this project.  The upstairs neighbors moved out of state, so their renters were obviously not expected to help.  But the downstairs neighbors…?

Not even a “thank you” email.

Not even a hello to me as I stood in the entryway in front of their door.

Nothing.  Nadda.  Zilch.

And I am feeling very angry now.  And hurt.  And hated.

It sucks!

So…what to do?  Thoughts?

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