Dear Barb – Too Much Attention?

Dear Barb:

I’m working on my degree at AU and working full time, so I’m very busy. My neighbor is driving me crazy. Cara is a very nice person who lives in a condo behind me. She is pleasant enough, but I think she is lonely. I have talked to her a few times and we’ve even been on hikes together, but this was all before I started university. I find my days are pretty full with working and studying. I have told Cara how busy I am, but she still continues to call and come over. Sometimes I don’t answer the door or the phone, but I think she knows I’m home. I am starting to feel like a prisoner in my own home. If I step out on the deck she comes rushing over, asking if I want to go for a walk or go shopping or whatever. I tell her that I am really busy and she says to let her know when is a good time to go. She says that but she still calls constantly and comes over. What can I do to stop her without hurting her feelings? Thanks Debra.

Hi Debra:

You sound like you are just too nice! You need to think of yourself first. Be firm, and tell Cara that your time is limited and it will be until you finish your degree, but if you do have any free time you will let her know. Tell her you hope she will understand and that your intention is not to hurt her feelings. If that doesn’t work, then you are just going to have to be more forceful. She may get angry and not speak to you for a while, but if she is a reasonable person she will understand and get over it. You are a busy girl, but as you know, it will pay off in the end.

Dear Barb:

I read and hear so much about bullying in the media and I know some people feel there is too much focus on it. Well I would just like to say I was bullied as a child, basically because I had red hair and wore pink glasses. Both are things I could do nothing about at the time, but as I grew up I did my best to change those things. For example, I began dying my hair as soon as my parents allowed me to and also stopped wearing my glasses. I became so affected by the teasing that I still can’t wear glasses in public, therefore I walk around half blind. Some days I get angry with myself for I still allowing this to affect my life. So I don’t think bullying gets too much attention, as it impacts people’s lives in so many ways, and I’m sure for some people the effects have been devastating. Thanks for providing me with an opportunity to vent, Joan.

Hi Joan:

Well said! Bullying is a very important issue and as you have pointed out, has longstanding repercussions. You may want to speak to a counselor to help you resolve these issues in your life. Thanks for your letter Joan.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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