Need a taller fence? Poll says most of us have a nosy neighbor

Written By: Kathy Price-Robinson - Jan• 28•08

Antennoragate_2Here’s the chilling opening to a press release I got recently:

Quick — exactly what time did you leave for work this morning? Not sure? Well, maybe your neighbor knows. A new ServiceMagic.com poll revealed that nearly two-thirds of respondents claim to have (or have had) a nosy neighbor living nearby.

Of the 1,100 people surveyed nationwide, 64% said their neighbors follow their lives a little too closely. The same number of people reported that they’ve actually caught someone in the act.

However, when it comes to admitting to being a snoop, only 9% confessed to spying on their neighbor, and only 2% said they “see everything” that goes on around their block.

“Let’s face it . . . it’s a bit creepy,” said David Lupberger, ServiceMagic.com’s Home Improvement Expert. “It’s disconcerting to know that every time you’re in the yard that you might have someone watching your every move.”

Yeah, it’s a lot creepy!

And I have one thing to say about this: Co-Dependents Anonymous. Did you know there is a 12-Step program specifically designed for those who are obsessed with other people’s actions?

OK, so if your nosy neighbor isn’t looking for change and spiritual growth, what can you do?

See the complete results of the ServiceMagic poll on snoopy neighbors.

(Photo: This is a nice privacy solution at the home of Austin architect Michael Antenora. The tall gate creates an enclosed courtyard, while the translucent panels allow light. Photos courtesy of the architect.)

Do you have now, or have you had a “nosy neighbor”?

No — 27%
Yes — 64%
I am the nosy neighbor — 9%

To what level have you seen the snooping get?

No snooping — 17%
Small amount (harmless) — 28%
Moderate amount (annoying) — 37%
Large amount (things got ugly) — 17%

Have you confronted the neighbor about their snooping?

No, it’s no big deal — 37%
Yes, but it didn’t help — 24%
Yes, and it put an end to it — 4%
No, I don’t like confrontation — 24%
There’s no snooping on my block — 11%

Have you ever caught a neighbor red-handed in an act of being nosy?

No — 28%
Yes — 67%
No, but it’s only a matter of time — 5%

Do you suspect there’s someone on your block who “sees everything” that goes on?

I confess – it’s me — 2%
Yes, but it’s harmless — 40%
No, everyone keeps to themselves — 18%
Yes, and they’re just waiting to report loud noises, illegal parking, overgrown lawns, etc… — 40%

What kinds of snooping do you suspect go on where you live now (or in the past)? [select all that apply]

Eavesdropping — 32%
Looking through trash cans — 7%
Gossiping about other neighbors — 62%
Looking over the backyard fence — 48%
Constantly watching through the window — 73%

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3 Comments

  1. Helen says:

    It seems to me that this is more a reflection of our own paranoia than of actual snooping of our neighbors.

  2. lil_gaucha says:

    Now wait a minute. I’ve had some nosey neighbors and have (almost) always been grateful for them.
    Sure, when I was in high school we couldn’t get away with anything because they knew when we came and went and when an unfamiliar car came up the drive, but when we went on vacation, we never got robbed and always had a dog sitter, when we were kids, we had an instant go-to adult in an emergency and we always, always felt safe in the neighborhood.
    Now that I’ve moved to the “Big City” I’ve got a couple neighbors in my new neighborhood who you might call nosey, but we actually picked this neighborhood because of its friendliness. The kids run around in the streets and play, when my trash can blows away, someone picks it up and returns it to my yard and when a toddler recently went missing, the whole neighborhood turned out to search — and found him within an hour.
    I’ll give up a bit of privacy for that heapin’ good helping of neighborhood safety.

  3. OK, you two commenters have given me a perspective I didn’t have before. Thank you for that. I should have added another choice to my poll on what to do about nosy neighbors: Thank them for their concern!

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