Socially Acceptable Responses

I’m coming across several social situations where I think I might need some outside guidance. Here’s one for you…

Situation: The people across the street from us like to park one of their vehicles on the road. Right behind our driveway. It’s a fairly narrow road. I drive a honkin’ SUV. My driveway is narrow as well so there is no room for me to begin the swinging around process in the driveway. I must wait to turn the tires until I get backed out into the street. Well, if I wait until I’m far enough into the street…you can guess what could happen. Thousands of dollars in car repairs.

There is plenty more road where the neighbors could park. Hey, there’s even their driveway. Novel idea to some, so maybe it’s not that obvious to them. If they could just not park their vehicle in that ten feet of space all would be well.

The plot thickens: They brought us food one night. Should we go over there and say something like: “hey! Thanks for the food! Could you quit parking your car there? Yeah, I know we just moved in, but you see, the way you do it is not logical and beneficial for everyone involved.” Hmmmm.

International Crisis: They’ve been living here longer than we have. They’re not native English speakers and they’re of a nationality that’s been getting bad press for the past seven years. If we just go over there and ask them to stop parking their car in that spot it could be perceived as racially insensitivity, right? Or am I being too sensitive? Do we need to strike up a couple of meaningless, how’s the weather, conversations with them first before we ask them to rework their life around our truck? I’m not opposed to becoming friends with them, but my luck will run out before we become friends.

Denouement: That’s up to you. Help us figure out what to do.

Thanks!

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19 thoughts on “Socially Acceptable Responses

  1. do they come outside much? could you maybe give them a little show sometime when you know they’re watching? even if you weren’t planning to leave right then, just go out, wave hello, get in the honkin SUV, and do you long, laborious, backing up thing? maybe even longer and laborious than usual, just this once? that’s where i would start. that sounds so annoying though, your situation. sorry.

  2. I say you strike up meaningless conversation, totally blame the fact that they need to move their truck on your lack of backing out skills and call it a day. I think if you make it seem like it’s your fault, they will be all apologetic and stop parking there with no issues. Good luck!

  3. Those are good ideas. I love the wild backing out one, but knowing me I’d mess up and actually back into them…

    And I do know that “nationality” is not the right word, but that’s what happens when I’m feverishly typing at midnight.

  4. Melissa Garrett says:

    I would be completely honest. Say, “I’m really afraid I might hit your car with my own while I’m backing out of my driveway. Might it be possible to park just a few feet further down the road?”

    They probably don’t even realize that by parking in front of your driveway, it makes backing out, for you, quite difficult.

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s just one neighbor looking out for another. If it were me, I’d much rather have someone tell me to move my car than to have to deal with the hassles of repair work.

    And if they’ve taken food to you, return the favor with a plate of cookies while making your request.

    I would not be passive-aggressive about it. They are your neighbors, after all, and you have to live next to them for whoever knows how long.

    🙂

  5. I think that honesty is the best policy. We had the same problem with our neighbours and I just went over and said I was worried about hitting their car. They actually apologized and moved it. I think some people just don’t realize it is a problem.

  6. I would probably say something like….

    “The driveways here are so much more narrow than I’m used to. Have you seen me try to back that monster of a car out? I am so afraid I am going to hit your car most of the time. You may want to move your car and not put it near my driveway…I come close to hitting it so many times.”

    Or something like that.

  7. Your Bro says:

    This will probably make you happy, but not Du. Park the VW in front of thier driveway. That will let them worry about ti for a while, and you never know, they might total it out for you and you could move on like you have been wanting to do.

  8. Oh, this one sucks! I used to live in a neighborhood that had similar parking arrangments. There was only parking on one side of the street, which was the other side for me. My neighbors would do the same thing. For a bit, I would park my car there first, leaving just enough room for them to Not fit theirs where they liked to park. But, I suppose this is a little non-confrontational. If it were me, I’d try really hard to perfect that SUV back-up!

  9. I like Melissa’s and debateur’s responses…be honest. And who cares anyway? You’re only going to live there for a year. Even if you didn’t drive an SUV I”m just territorial like that…=)

  10. I would take some sort of baked goods over to return the favor, do some getting-to-know-you chit chat, throw in the request about moving the car saying your afraid you might hit it, follow up with more chit chat, then let it go. If they don’t move it after that, it would be full out war, and I would park my car in annoying spots near them. But that’s just because I’m evil.

    Good luck!

  11. You all are giving me lots to think about. I’m sure you can guess I’m kind of non confrontational. That can lead to some passive aggressiveness, which I’d rather *not* do….

    Keep ’em coming!

  12. I agree on taking them something in return.

    And just ask them — nicely. They may very well not understand that this is an issue. Most people aren’t whether they’re born and bred here or are late arrivals.

  13. I say just ask… really, what’s the worst that could happen? Me? I would likely take them a thank you card for the food, then say something like “I have a huge favor to ask… I know how difficult it is to park in these tiny driveways, and I’m really worried that I might bump into your car when I’m backing out of mine. Would it be too much to ask for you to perhaps park just a little further back so your car is not directly behind my driveway?” I think that’s pretty non-confrontational, and if they think they’re doing you a favor, they’ll feel good about doing it instead of being put on the defensive. I don’t think the nationality part is even something to consider. good luck! Really enjoying your blog btw!!

  14. I’ve always been told it is okay to vocalize my feelings to someone. Telling someone I am afraid or I have a fear is an okay thing. This way I am not telling anyone to do anything. I am just stating my feelings and that way they can respond appropriately.

  15. Well let’s start off with its illegal to park a car behind a driveway. Ok here it is, you may need to google your state laws on that issue.

    So first, be polite and let them know your concerns over hitting their car. They seem like very nice people if they are bringing food by so I am sure if you put it nicely and that you are concerned more about them than yourself, it will probably work out nicely. Unless you start calling them names or anything I don’t think you need to be concerned with being racially insensitive. If they do get overly heated about the subject, then mention “Hey this is illegal, i could call the cops but would rather deal with this on an adult level (but just be sure to check and make sure)”.

    Good Luck!!

  16. yeah, I think if you strike up a conversation about something else and then just throw in, “Oh & by the way, would you mind moving your car back a couple feet? I’m scared I might hit it backing out & I’d just feel terrible about it!”

    Also, just so’s you know, I gave you a blogger award over on my blog! If you accept it, bow, prepare a speech, and pass it on to seven other bloggers. 😉

    http://www.motherhood-unscripted.com/?p=992

  17. This is one of the times that I’m glad we live in the country…on 17 acres…with only animals as our neighbors. Yes, we do have to shoo the deer out of our road nearly every day, but they are easier to handle than real people.

    Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do. Well, yes…I do…I’d huff and puff and carry on…then make Scotty deal with them. His dilpomatic skills are much more refined than mine.

  18. Years ago, my brother back out of my parents driveway and hit our neighbors car across the street ( so I know this happens), I don’t think they would be offended if you told them you are afraid you might hit there car.

  19. I say knock the hell out of them and crash up both your cars–preferrably with a part of your car that is already jacked up by errant shopping carts etc….isnt that what insurance is for? I kid.

    Kinda.

    Bet they wont park their again.

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