Direct Answers – The Bully

The Bully

Two married couples live across the street. In the past I would speak to the ladies or their
husbands in passing out of politeness, and they would speak or wave back.

Six months ago, one couple stopped returning my wave. At first I did not take this personally since I figure people get distracted with other things. In the next few weeks the other couple started ignoring my waves or pretended not to see me. Both couples, however, continued to wave to my husband.

When the wife in the second couple invited me to a Mary Kay party she hosted, I showed up and so did the wife of the first couple. She was startled by my presence and refused to acknowledge me. I spoke to others in the room, thanked the host for the invite when I left and went home.

I am not close to these neighbors so I felt no need to confront them.

My husband is quick to wave at both couples when he sees them. I see this as a sign of
disrespect. When I mentioned this, he got angry and said, "You probably have the issue if they all appear friendly."

I was offended but considered what I could have done wrong. Not wanting to give it too much thought, as there are bigger problems in the world, I just told my husband to watch their behavior. A month later I asked if he noticed anything. He claimed not to.

Once the wives had an issue with me, so did their husbands. My husband says to ignore them, which I do, but I feel betrayed that he still waves or communicates with them, despite them being passively rude to me.

~ Alicia

Alicia, your husband is not showing a united front with you. You have good reason to be hurt. Perhaps it could be that he doesn't want to be bothered with this squabble, or he continues to wave because he has been waving.

But look what the neighbors have done. You don't know what their problem is, and now it has become a problem between you and your husband.

What you do know is the source of the problem: the wife in the first couple. She recruited her husband to snub you, then recruited the wife in the second couple (and her husband) to snub you.

Perhaps this woman is a scold or a gossip. Perhaps she is simply malicious, like an internet troll. Or it may be she is someone with an emotional trigger, like a long dormant bomb just waiting to explode. Something set her off and you just happened to be in the blast zone.

Then again she could be one of those women who can't have a three-way friendship. She wants to be besties with her neighbor and that means excluding you.

But you can't let her ruin your marriage.

It's time to give back what she gave you. Just be cleverer than she is. When you see her, act as if she is invisible. When you see any of the other three, even if the first woman is present, smile and wave.

This will make the other three think, why don't we like her? She seems nice. Don't let the others know that you are snubbing the first woman when you see her alone.

She has you wondering why and what. Now you are going to make her circle wonder why and what. With your husband, don't bother to talk about the situation. He will think the problem has solved itself.

Out of weakness, most people are followers. They won't stand up to a bully. Instead they think, I'm just glad the bully isn't bullying me. The victim of the bully wonders, why did the bully pick on me? What did I do? Usually the victim did nothing. They simply ran into a bully.

~ Wayne & Tamara

Column for the week of November 14, 2016

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