When I was in trouble my neighbor pretended she didn’t know me – East Bay Times


DEAR HARRIETTE: The other day I left my house in a hurry and forgot the key to the main entrance to my apartment complex.

Harriette cole

When I returned about an hour later, I spotted my neighbor, who I usually see outside while she was walking her dog. I politely asked her if she could open the gate for me because I had left my keys inside. She looked at me, took a step back and told me that she couldn’t let me in through the gate due to the recent break-ins in the apartment complex.

I was completely shocked. This woman sees me every day and even waves to me.

She’s an older white woman, and I’m a black woman in my mid-thirties. Do you think it could have been a racial thing?

I feel the need to discuss her comment directly with her.

Locked outside

DEAR BLOCKED: It won’t do you any good to assume that this woman was racist. Stick to rudeness and neighborliness for now.

Next time you see her, tell her you want to talk to her. Point out that in a time of distress, this woman – someone you see every day – chose not to help you. Remind her how you see her on a daily basis when she walks her dog and that you are not a stranger. You live in the building and have lived there for some time. Tell her how disappointing it was that at a time of genuine need you found her unnecessary.

Most likely, she will say that she has never seen you before. That’s when you can introduce yourself, tell her where you live and how long you’ve been living there, and add that you hope that if you or another neighbor in your building is in distress, she will make the effort to see. the person asking for help and really determining if they recognize the person before taking on the worst. Note that you understand the need to be careful when crime is on the rise in your neighborhood, but that shouldn’t stop you from caring about each other.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I will be graduating soon and I need a certain number of hours of community service before I can graduate. My sister volunteers at a soup kitchen on some weekends, so she allowed me to go with her to save a few hours.

I was done in a few days, but even after earning all my hours, she still expected me to join her.

I don’t want to continue working there on weekends. I like to help, but I prefer to spend this time with my friends. How do you tell her that without sounding completely heartless?


DEAR VOLUNTEERS: You should have made it clear with your sister how many hours you were going to dedicate to her soup kitchen. Then everyone would have been clear.

Since she helped you in a pinch, you should continue to help her too – within reason. Offer to volunteer an additional number of hours and fulfill your promise. This will allow you to be of service and visit friends.

Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send your questions to [email protected] or c / o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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