26 answers

What to Say to My Nbr Who Keeps Asking for Help

i always seem to word my questions wrong and then i end up sounding like a mean spirited person. okay, my nbr & i have become semi-friends since i've lived here. we have each other's keys. she's my emerg contact, etc. she's watched my boy a couple times when i needed her to. i pay her everytime & it's a wage we both agreed on. she's single, she has no kids, and she doesn't work. each time she sees me she complains, alludes,then basically straight up asks me to come help her clean her house. she's never home, always at her moms, but when she does come home she asks me to help. i work FT and i'm a single parent. i have a plate full of responsibilities as it is. she's offered to have her mom watch my boy so i could help her. i told her no b/c my only REAL time w/my boy is on the wknds & i don't wanna give that time up. she's also asked our two other neighbors to help her clean. she doesn't need a one time help moving furniture. it's just to clean. idk...i don't want to hurt her feelings b/c when we do hang out it's fun. but she keeps asking me to help & i for real do not have time to do that. it's hard for me to keep up w/MY stuff. i don't have any support either - no husband, no mom, no fam members. hence...her being my emerg contact. i ALWAYS pay her when she's watched my boy, which has only been 3 times. i'm not a mean person or selfish, i'm just looking for a good tactful way to set boundaries and/or to tell her no. i was working from home today & when she saw my car she asked why i was home & i told her i was working from home and she said, "too bad, i sure do wish i had some help cleaning my house". i'm like, wth?! i clean my house by myself! geez louise! anyway, i've seen it on here a bunch of times where y'all can help on what to say, not say i'm a horrible friend. please don't b/c i'm not!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

i did mean to say she is NOT on disability and is NOT disabled. she said she just lacks motivation & wants someone to keep her focused while she cleans. does that change my answer? for me, no, b/c i need motivation, support, physical assistance myself - but i don't ask for it or get it. basically she just wants me to come over and SIT. like i have time to sit & when i do, it's when my boy's in bed and i'm SITTING at my own house...or cleaning my OWN house, lol

y'all are giving me a backbone, thanks so much!!!! i lol at grandma t.'s response though - "you don't have to ask me anymore" - HA! (i probably won't say that but that's exactly how i feel - QUIT ASKING ME!!) lol :)

Featured Answers

I'd probably say something like this:
"Wow! I know! We working women could all use a cleaning lady, right? If only I could afford a maid...I'd get one in a heartbeat. It's all I can do to keep up with my own cleaning! hahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

6 moms found this helpful

I kinda know what she is talking about "help her clean" by sitting there yakking with her while she cleans. I havent a clue WHY I am better able to clean when someone talks to me while I do it. Maybe she just needs some company?

4 moms found this helpful

Let me get this straight? She's single, no kids and doesn't work and she can't keep her house clean herself? How does that make sense? I would just tell her, "Sorry but I have my own house to clean, a child to care for, and a job to do, so any free time that I have will be spent playing with my son. Maybe you ought to hire a maid to come in to help you." That should hopefully put an end to her asking you all the time. Very strange. I just don't get it why she can't manage to clean herself. Very lazy if you ask me.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Just be humorous with your responses like "I know what you mean, sure would be nice if the housecleaning fairy would show up once a week huh?" Or, "I hear ya, I just finished doing all my chores, get going on yours and they'll be done too, I can't say that I'd love to help you, it takes everything I have just to do mine so honestly you dont have to ask me anymore."

9 moms found this helpful

I'd probably say something like this:
"Wow! I know! We working women could all use a cleaning lady, right? If only I could afford a maid...I'd get one in a heartbeat. It's all I can do to keep up with my own cleaning! hahahahaHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

6 moms found this helpful

"Sarah....are you kidding me?! I can't help you clean your house because I can barely keep up with mine! When you have a kid and a full time job THEN you can ask me for some help."
I don't see what's so hard about saying that. You wont be losing a full time babysitter or anything and then maybe she can take a look at herself and see how selfish she is being. Believe me, you don't need friends like that.
Laura

5 moms found this helpful

Let me get this straight? She's single, no kids and doesn't work and she can't keep her house clean herself? How does that make sense? I would just tell her, "Sorry but I have my own house to clean, a child to care for, and a job to do, so any free time that I have will be spent playing with my son. Maybe you ought to hire a maid to come in to help you." That should hopefully put an end to her asking you all the time. Very strange. I just don't get it why she can't manage to clean herself. Very lazy if you ask me.

4 moms found this helpful

What the? I'd think my neighbor was lazy and cuckoo if she ever asked me to clean her house. I think any of the responses below would work. Sheesh!

4 moms found this helpful

I kinda know what she is talking about "help her clean" by sitting there yakking with her while she cleans. I havent a clue WHY I am better able to clean when someone talks to me while I do it. Maybe she just needs some company?

4 moms found this helpful

In all these years, I have never asked one of my friends to help me clean my house, nor have they asked me.

It's this easy: "Sorry, I can't." With no explanations. After a couple of times of your saying this, she should stop asking, if she's normal.

Don't let her use you. She can clean her own house, like everyone else, or hire a maid.

4 moms found this helpful

Tell her to check into Flylady = ) sorry, that is all I have for you...I do not think you are a bad friend...boundaries are a GOOD thing.

3 moms found this helpful

Do you know why she doesn't clean her house herself? Have you asked her? It would be interesting to hear her reasons.

I hate cleaning my own house - I don't want to clean anyone else's unless it's helping my mom or my sister. Or a friend who has had surgery or is sick or getting ready for a party I am helping with. I don't blame you for punting this.

Just keep ignoring her. And DO pay her when she watches your son so that she can never accuse you of getting something for nothing.

Good luck!
D.

3 moms found this helpful

Her request seems a little...personal. I wouldn't ask a neighbor for help with housecleaning. If she's not clearly disabled or whatever, the next time she asks, I'd say: "Sally, I noticed you ask for housecleaning help pretty frequently. You know, I'm glad we're neighbors and each other's contacts, but I don't have time to do housecleaning other than my own. But I'm concerned about you: Are you having some physical issues or other things that are keeping you from being able to do it? Do you need a ride to a doctor or anything, if that's what's up? I want to help as a friend if you have a problem that means you can't do it."

That makes you the good guy (you DO want to help if she IS truly having a problem you really may not know about, right?). If there is something actually wrong, better to know about it and give her the benefit of the doubt.

AND if this is really just a matter of her being fully capable but just whining about her housekeeping -- asking her sincerely if she is ill or has problems should (one hopes) shame her enough to make her stop asking.

One other possibility here. She may be simply lonely. If she's mostly asking for your company while she cleans, she may be wanting the company, not the cleaning. She may be socially inexperienced or inept and may not know how to say "I'd like to get together as friends and do something." She may be in financial straits so she can't say "Let's go out" and she doesn't know what else to say except "Keep me company while I....clean." So to be a little gentler, I'd say, consider the possibility that this isn't about cleaning at all but is about her wanting another adult to talk with, especially if she's home alone most of the time. So you also could ask her up front: "Hey, is this really about housecleaning, or do you just want company?" And maybe ask her to go out for coffee for an hour. She could turn into a great neighbor if you get past the housekeeping thing.

3 moms found this helpful

That's just weird to me. Clean her house? I'd find someone else to be your emergency contact and watch your kids in a bind.

3 moms found this helpful

It's always easier to clean someone elses house than your own. My neighbor and I always joke that we should trade and clean each others houses. Maybe next time tell her 'sure, I'll do yours if you do mine - you 1st!'
I think your neighbor is completly nuts. Never would I ask something like that. That's bananas.

3 moms found this helpful

Well you could always clean in exchange for babysitting or better yet suggest she use the babysitting money to hire a cleaning lady. :)

3 moms found this helpful

Cleaning goes quicker when I listen to music. That should help ease her bordem and put her in a groove.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm confused. Is you neighbor disabled or something? If so, there might be agencies that can help. Maybe you can help her find one. Otherwise, find a new emergency sitter and stop talking to her. You've already told her no and she didn't get it!

2 moms found this helpful

I was in a similar situation...my friend kept asking me to drive her kid everywhere. We are both sahm. If I was going out, she'd ask where I was going and if I could take her kid to his dad's or granny's or to the store so he could pick something up for her or to carpool for school or sports activities. I finally told her straight up to "stop asking me to drive your kid everywhere b/c it was starting to annoy me and I really wanted to stay friends with you". She backed off and we are still friends :)

2 moms found this helpful

I would just tell her in a nice way how you feel. The truth never hurts. Let her know that you have a lot going on in your own life and adding some1 else's burden will only overwhelm you. If all else fails, just ignore her. I def. know how u feel. I have a neighbor who has MS. She has a husband and a toddler. The only real family support she has is her mom but she lives abt an hr away & doesn't drive. When she comes over she stays for abt 5 days and then they take her home. That being said, they wanted 2 rely on me to be her caretaker. I have a family of my own (hubbie plus 2 boys who are in elementary school). Granted I'm a sahm but I've got tons of things to do. I have helped her out numerous times. Most of the time when I was helping her out, I pretty much had to baby sit her. She sits on the couch all day long watching tv and looks helpless and she doesn't want 2 improve her situation. She just wants U 2 feel sorry 4r her the whole time. I've tried 2 offer suggestions like changing her scenery, changing her routine, etc. It goes to no avail. Her husband on the other hand would offer me money from time to time for my troubles but I would always say no thanks. Truthfully, I don't think he had any intentions on giving me money in the first place. So one day when he offered $, I said I won't take yr money but what I would like is the next time we have a snow storm 2 plow me out with yr snow blower. In my mind, I thought that was fair. He agreed. Well kid u not, he called me the next day to say he wouldn't be able to do that ever because he has to take care of his wife and kid. He said I was welcomed to use it anytime though. Well that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Since I befriended them, they have called me to do all kinds of favors from babysitting his wife, taking her places and even picking up his kid from daycare. Well now, when they call me, I just ignore their phone calls. Last time I saw her husband, he came with a sob story. Guess what, I stopped him dead in his tracks. I said well yr going to have to pay someone for help. Because all I can do at this point is offer prayers. I have a lot going on in my own life and left it at that. I don't think he liked it very much but who cares. I got my life back. Sorry for being long winded. Had to vent. Hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with the other posts, next time she brings it up tell her, unfortunately, you have to clean your own house and totally understand her wanting help. Before she brings it up again, check around and get some numbers of some cleaning ladies. Then you can tell her you have been checking into cleaning help and if she would like, you will gladly share those numbers with her! That way, maybe she will realize that you also may not have the time you need. (I doubt it). but for now, I would just jokingly say, yeah, I would like someone to help clean mine too, but I don't see that happening unless I hire someone and that is not in my budget, so I have to make the time and take the effort to do my own. Suggest to her that she get someone in and do it really well, and then pick up nightly before she goes to bed and then do a few daily chores to keep it up so she does not get overwhelmed. If she stays at home and does not work and has no family, she should not have that dirty a house, unless she is a total slob and she should be able to handle it. If she says any more to you point out that you have less time than her for cleaning since you have a full time job and family and you wish you had the extra time to clean as well but that after you do your cleaning, your free time is for your child! Again, you can do that in a joking manner and maybe it won't seem so harsh. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful

You're right; She's wrong. Just say no. No explanations, no excuses.
Just don't let her watch your child anymore.
I know it is hard.

1 mom found this helpful

if she is single, and doesn't work, what does she do with her time? I'd suggest to her to dust one day, clean the bathroom one day, vacuum one day, then it won't seem like such a chore. Maybe tell her that is the way you do it, just to see what she says. Tell her with so little time that you have you have to do a little each day to keep up and it won't seem so bad. And you don't sound like a mean person to me!!

1 mom found this helpful

Thats weird that she asks that. Each time she asks, just laugh and say you have all you can do to clean your own house.

Her comment when you were working at home, just reply "Ha ha ha. I dont think my boss would be too thrilled if I came over to help."

Just laugh it off and chalk it up to a weird quirk of your neighbor's.

1 mom found this helpful

She is single and doesn't work? How does she afford to live, who is paying her mortgage/groceries since she isn't on disability....?

One thing I have learned to do, is offer to help through information. Example, "You know Marie, I would love to help but my plate is so full. But I found a great deal for a local maid service, here is their phone number."

Also tell her about flylady.com... it can maybe help her with the motivation thing. She sounds lonely and depressed to me.

1 mom found this helpful

If she would actually do a good job, I would partner up and do both of your houses, both of you clean at yours for an hour then go clean at hers for an hour. If she isn't very good, I'd just say, I'm really sorry but I just don't have the time."

ETA:

I like the idea of her paying you. You've paid her when she's watched your kid so why not? As long as her house isn't super nasty it might be an easy way to make a couple extra bucks. If you even want to go there.

1 mom found this helpful

ok ya, it sounds like she needs some motivation and some help. how about...maybe you can keep each other motivated? like you tell her you're going to clean the bathroom when your kid goes to bed. and she can do the same at her house. so, it's kind of like accountability.
BTW, you sound like you're doing a great job being a single mom with no extra support around you!

It sounds to me like she either wants a friend to hang out with, or she is a bit of a mooch. As a mother of three who works part-time, I have learned that it is fine to say "No". You are already committed for the day, and you don't have to explain why.

That is strange. But IDK... maybe not. When I was a kid, I was so put out by how often adults in my life expected me to clean other peoples bedrooms. If my parents befriended any couple with kids younger than me, they would send me to their homes to clean their rooms. Until you brought this up, I forgot how put out I always felt! I felt just like you do now. I figured I had my own room to clean. They should clean their own.

But then there's this other side that makes me wonder... My mother is a slob. Her room just gets worse and worse and it's in MY house. I don't know what to do. I can't just go in there and clean it myself. I would misplace her things and she'd be mad. But I wonder if my mother ever understood how to clean! My grandmother and my mother were always at odds over the house. My father was always cranky on the weekends and ordered everyone around to clean and my moms 2nd husband always complained about her lack of cleaning. Maybe this is your friends problem. Maybe she needs to be taught how.

I think if someome was saying this I'd ask them straight up if they know how to clean, if they need to be taught some organizational skills, or are they just joking around? Tell her a price. Tell her that you want X dollars to help her get caught up once. That is, unless she just says she's making coversation and thought she was being funny.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.