Neighborly disputes are not uncommon.
Most of the time, issues are over things like hedges being too tall, or a fence being obtrusive. However, a Reddit user sought feedback about a backyard yoga class.
Reddit user justwant2relax asked:
"AITA for continuing to sit on my porch and drink beer like usual even though my neighbor is having a women's only yoga classes in our shared backyard now?"
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
"So when I get home from work I go and sit on my back porch and drink a beer or two."
"I just enjoy the sun and fresh air while I stare off into space. I actually share the backyard with another other unit (duplex situation). The couple that lives there got permission from our landlord to use the yard to have yoga and other exercise sessions since their indoor studio space is being closed again.
They have these classes around the same time that because it's a convenient time for a lot of other people too. Two times a week (Wednesday and Friday) the lesson is women's only."
He then explained the issue that this caused.
"One of my neighbors came over after their lesson last Friday. She was very non confrontational when she approached me."
"She acknowledged that I had every right to sit there and it wasn't a problem on their coed class days, but said that the women felt uncomfortable with my presence during the women's only classes and are no longer wanting to attend."
"She explained that these are their most popular classes and the ones where they makes most of their money and they can't afford to lose more clients. While I understood that I really didn't want to give up my little outdoor time two days a week. So, I continued to chill on the porch like I always do."
Then, things escalated.
"On Wednesday the class was already setting up and the women were all chatting. Not long after I sat down my other neighbor (not the same one that talked to me the first time) came over."
"She was a lot more stern than the first one when she asked me to wait to come out til they're done. I get a little nervous when people are mad at me so I apologized and told her I really need this time to unwind.
"She asked me if I didn't think that these women need this time too. That they live just as stressful lives and need to be able to feel safe here and not like some drunk guy is gawking at them while they're in tight clothes and vulnerable poses.
I'm really not trying to stare at them though. I usually just stare off into space and their right in front of my porch, so I guess it looks like I am. I also don't drink enough to get drunk. Usually just one beer. Although sometimes more on Fridays.
Like I said I'm not really good at dealing with people when their mad at me, so I ended up just apologizing again. She just stared at me. Eventually she said I "just didn't get it" and walked away. I could hear both of them apologizing to the women there.
In the end most of them left though. While they continued the class with the two people that remained I could just feel them both glaring at me, so I ended up getting up a little early and going inside."
Then, the landlord got involved.
"Anyway just a little while ago I got an email from my landlord. In it he was reminding me that the backyard was a shared space and that I need to be respectful of others when they are using it.
Now I'm unsure how I should handle today because I'm already tired and looking forward to relaxing on my porch, but today is another women's only day.
Edit. Okay so I just noticed the email from my landlord was actually sent to both me and the couple in the other unit. So, maybe he's not just talking specifically about me."
And he closed by addressing some specific suggestions.
"Edit 2: Someone suggested I hold a book or magazine while I'm out there. So I'm going to try that today and see if it makes everyone more comfortable.
Edit 3: Someone else suggested maybe splitting the hour. I think I could work with half an hour a day and I'd be willing to let them pick their start and end time in case they prefer to start their class half an hour earlier or end it half an hour later than usual. I'm going to email that suggestion to both them and our landlord just so we're all on the same page because I am kind of worried he's only getting part of the story.
Also a different person suggested maybe introducing myself to their clients so they can learn I'm not a total weirdo. I'm going to ask my neighbors and see if they think that might also help.
Edit 4: Also might get a hammock to chill on instead.
Edit 5: Thank you guys for all the suggestions for angling my chair, screens, using the front yard (don't have one), going for a walk, staying inside. Unfortunately I don't think any of those work for my situation for the reasons I have explained in the comments. Im just going to stick with the suggestions I've already mentioned in my previous edits. Thanks again though."
Redditors weighed in by declaring the OP was:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You're The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many felt this case was complicated.
"I dunno. I think the obvious a**hole is the one who is profiting off of a shared space. This is a home that is being used as a business but only one side of this shared experience is profiting off of it."
"It is intruding on the other person's comfort of their home." - diefortheslug
"While I definitely agree that she's wrong, I feel like the label 'a**hole' requires a degree of malice. The first neighbor who acknowledged that OP had the right to sit out there, and was non-confrontational, and hoped he wouldn't, in my mind, doesn't reach the level of 'a**hole'.
The second one, who demanded it, was definitely an a**hole." - barbed_d**do
"Id say that OP is NTA and the landlord and other tenants are the a**holes. Is OP getting reimbursed for a lack of use and quiet enjoyment to their residence?"
"Was restricted hours in their lease? The whole situation sucks, but OP is paying for the use of the residence and not being reimbursed for lack of use." - RTK9
"Yeah honestly, this is one that has arguments on both sides. Finally a post that isn't a clear and obvious not the a**hole or one made by someone so egregious that it's shocking they can't see how they are an a**hole lol." - Isolated_Aura
Others felt it was a little bit more clearcut.
"They tried being reasonable. Trying to survive covid but the guy has such a dedicated drinking schedule that he can't be off by an hour?"
"Eh.... Yeah yeah nobody has to do anything for anybody is the motto here but delaying porch beer time once or twice a week is not a ridiculous request." - dontworryitsme4real
"She shouldn't really be having yoga lessons with a bunch of people in a shared backyard in the first place though. It would be a bit different if it was just her but running your business out of a shared backyard is inconsiderate." - LeonhardTaylor
"The Yoga Teacher could go do her class in a local park. She can't expect to use a communal outdoor space for her classes and inconvenience all the other tenants who literally pay for access to that space, pandemic or not."
"If the others do allow her to use that space, then she certainly can't go adding conditions to it such as he can't sit on his porch drinking a beer." - splendidwaffle
Hopefully a compromise can be made between these two tenants.