Casual Acquaintance Etiquette

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2008
Casual Acquaintance Etiquette
Tue, 04-08-2014 - 2:24am

Hello ~ 

Tonight I noticed (from a distance) that my neighbor has lost all her hair and is wearing a head-wrap. I've been thinking about her for hours and am feeling a great deal of compassion and concern. Our condos literally share a wall between us -- and I feel like being so close, if she ever needed anything, it would be great for her to know I'm here. At the very least, I'd like her to know that a fellow human being is thinking about her and wishing her well. I have a desire to reach out in some way just to let her know I care.

However, I'm hesitating A) because I'm not sure what to say and B) because I barely know her -- and I'm not sure it is any of my business to say anything, if it will make her feel uncomfortable, or if she has plenty of people who actually know her in her life to help her and express concern-- and I'm just way out of line. 

We live in Southern California, and I think it's pretty normal for neighbors to be fairly disconnected here. We say hi, comment on the weather now and then, etc. but really i the year since she's moved in we've never had a real conversation. That said, I feel like it's almost odd NOT to say anything, like a conspicuous avoidance of something very obvious. 

Soon enough I'll run into her outside our houses -- what can I say to her that will come across with the appropriate level of compassion, and is unlikely to offend? 

I don't want to get heavy, but maybe just something along the lines of: "Hi, How are you? I'm sorry to see you've been ill. I'm just next door if you ever need anything."  But "I see you are ill" seems like a rude statement/judgement. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2013
Fri, 04-11-2014 - 12:44pm

Oh I know what you mean about not knowing what to say because she could misinterpret your intentions as just nosiness. However, I believe in being honest and direct so perhaps you should just go introduce yourself. If a frienship sparks up and she tells you what is going on, then offer your help. If not, then it just doesn't.