How to handle “needy” RV campground neighbors


Dear RV Shrink:
We have been full-time RVing for about seven years. We have met many wonderful people. However, occasionally we meet a “stalker.” It is usually a single person, perhaps lonely. The latest example happened in the Everglades National Park at Flamingo Campground. I called him “Ears.”

My husband could not step foot out of our motorhome before this fellow camper was “Johnny on the spot.” He had to be sitting at his trailer window watching for my husband to exit. It was almost funny, if not so annoying. My husband was very patient and spent time letting this guy shadow him and talk his ear off, but finally we moved to another campground ahead of schedule because it became too annoying.

Should we have stayed and explained to this person that we needed less contact? It was very awkward. We kept looking in the rearview mirror as we headed north to see if we were being tailed. —An Earful in Florida

Dear Earful:
The answer would depend on how flexible you are. I applaud your husband’s patience. Some people are lonely and need a listening post. However, there must be some limitations. If the person is rude, irritating, nosy or inconsiderate in some way, I would have no problem setting them straight – first with some subtle hints, and if that didn’t work, being more direct.

Sometimes you do not have the convenience of moving. Perhaps you have paid in advance for a long-term space. Each instance would be a judgment call on the annoyance scale of one to ten.

I think you will agree in your seven years of living the RV lifestyle, the majority of the people you connect with are a joy, not a hassle. A huge part of this lifestyle is meeting interesting people from all walks of life. That is not to say that you have to hit it off with every camping neighbor you meet. This is no different than any other relationship problem you encounter in life. Make good judgments and watch your rearview mirror. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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Subtle hints? Like what?


Some people don’t have any social boundaries and therefore need a little assistance. I would have said, as politely as possible, that “ you’ll have to excuse us, but my wife and I need some alone time “ A couple of years ago, we arrived at a campground and our soon to be next door neighbor came running over to help us park. I politely asked her to leave. Soon after we watched her run over to another new arrival and stay “ helping “ for hours.