Our New Neighbors Asked Us for Money for Watering Our Plants
In some cultures, there’s a saying that goes like “A good neighbor is better than a friend that lives far.” It’s true, when you need your chickens to be fed when you’re away or when you’re in urgent need of some sugar, you can rely on your neighbor rather than your friend living hundreds of miles away. One Bright Side reader ran into a strange situation and asked for our advice — read below to understand Bella’s perspective and maybe share your 2 cents.
Hi Bella, thank you for your letter — we hope you had a great vacation. It’s always nice to have good neighbors who are willing to help out. However, we can understand why you might be taken aback by your friendly neighbor’s request for payment after they offered caring for your plants themselves.
- We’ve noticed that you didn’t mention your immediate reaction to their demand. It’s natural to be left speechless when being taken aback by something. The best way forward to such a situation is analyzing it with a clear mind.
- Note that it’s possible that your new neighbors didn’t realize that you were expecting them to do it for free, or maybe they thought that you would offer to pay them. It’s also possible that they didn’t want to seem rude by asking for payment upfront. With that in mind, we have a few tips to share that might ease your situation.
- Clarify the initial agreement: Remind your neighbors of your initial understanding, mentioning that they were offering it as a favor, with no discussion about payment. Thank them for their valuable time and help while you and your husband were away.
- Discuss misunderstanding: Approach the conversation by assuming there might have been a misunderstanding. You could mention that the understanding was that this was a friendly gesture, not a paid service.
- Negotiate or explain: If the neighbors insist on payment, your husband and you can politely negotiate a more reasonable amount or explain that you weren’t prepared for this additional expense after returning from vacation. You could say something like, “We really appreciate you watering our plants while we were away, but we weren’t expecting to pay for the service. We were happy to give you a thank-you gift, which is why we brought the goodie basket, but we don’t have the budget for $100 right now.”
- Suggest alternatives: Express understanding for the effort involved and suggest alternatives like reciprocal favors in the future or finding a compromise that works for both parties.
- Most importantly, maintain amicable relations: Regardless of the outcome, it’s essential to keep the conversation amicable and preserve a positive relationship with the neighbors. Avoid conflict or confrontation that might sour future interactions.
- The next time you’ll be away, and you’ll need a favor around your home, you might have to ask your neighbors, maybe not these, but others for help again. Cultivating a good relationship with your neighbors is valuable; it fosters a comfortable atmosphere around your home for both you and them.
It’s one thing to argue about payment with someone who’s unrelated to you, and it’s a completely different story when it happens with family. Amy, a newly become mother, was caught by surprise when her mother-in-law asked for payment in exchange for babysitting her own grandchild.