I learned a long time ago that friendships are dynamic, constantly changing and evolving. I have friends whom I rarely see and don't talk to as often as I would like, but when we do connect, it is as if time stood still. On the other end of the spectrum, I have relationships that are high maintenance and unbalanced but are maintained probably more out of a sense of courtesy and obligation than an honest desire. Sometimes I just find it easier to play nice, smile and not make waves. I am well aware that my aversion to conflict plays a huge part in these relationships.
I find that I often go out of my way to avoid rocking the boat, especially in respect to relationships. Don't get me wrong, I will walk away from toxic relationships. It isn't easy for me to stand up to defend needs and emotions, but I will do it when push comes to shove. But I admittedly tend to hold onto some people longer simply because it is easier.
Maintaining neighbor relationships can be tricky. I don't feel it necessary to become friends with my neighbors. Just because we live on the same street does not mean that we share the same values and interests. (Mr. Bill is an exception, and I truly value our friendship. It has evolved slowly over time, and I consider myself lucky to count him among my friends.) For the most part, I strive to maintain a friendly relationship but I don't expect anything more substantial.
I've always had a good relationship with my neighbors. With the exception of the deranged old woman who constantly called the police (who is now living in a nursing home), I have had few issues during the decade since we moved here. I consider myself a good neighbor, frequently delivering baked goods and pitching in whenever necessary. I thought we lived in a happy, cohesive neighborhood, which is why I was shocked to learn that my neighbor admitted to not liking me.
I realized that I haven't spoken with her in a few months, but between her snowbird lifestyle and my schedule, I assumed it was just a matter of timing. It never occurred to me that she was deliberately avoiding me. Why would she avoid me? After all, I think I'm delightful!
All kidding aside, I haven't been able to shake off the fact that she doesn't like me. I have invested far too much mental energy trying to figure out the reasons and to devise situations to redeem myself. Then I had an epiphany- this is her issue. I've done nothing wrong, and have been only kind and generous with both my time and efforts. I have watched her dog during her three week vacation, baked countless cookies and cakes, helped shovel their driveway and even spent far too many hours helping her "organize" her treasures for an Ebay sale.
Upon reflection, I have done far more for her than she has ever done for us. I don't know why she doesn't like me, and at this point I really don't care any more. I am going to continue to smile and be kind, but she is being cut out of our baked good delivery rotation. If you don't like me, you don't get my cookies!