They Spoke Rapidly In Polish And Spanish Which Their Neighbour Thought Sounded Abusive – Was The Neighbor In The Right To Call The Police? 

A 29-year-old woman and her 31-year-old husband had recently moved into a nice flat near a city center in England. They had a next-door neighbor whose balcony was adjacent to theirs, the neighbor became concerned after assuming the couple were constantly fighting. Here is what unfolded:  

Linguistic Background

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The couple shared a unique linguistic background; the husband was half Spanish and half Polish, while the wife was of Polish descent. Consequently, they often engaged in conversations that intertwined both languages, occasionally throwing in English for good measure.

Rapid Conversations

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Their multilingual conversations were fast-paced, and to the unaccustomed ear, they might have sounded somewhat “aggressive.” The woman wrote: “I’ve had people assume I was angry because of how the language sounded to them when I was having a completely pleasant conversation.”

A Concerned Neighbor

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Their neighbor had overheard their conversations and jumped to the conclusion that they were frequently engaged in disputes. Concerned for the woman’s well-being, she approached her one day and asked if she was okay.

An Explanation

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The woman was initially puzzled by her neighbor’s inquiry but quickly clarified that everything was fine and that they hadn’t been arguing at all. She ventured to explain that the harsh-sounding nature of both Spanish and Polish might be responsible for the misinterpretation.

A Doubtful Neighbor

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However, her explanation fell on deaf ears. The neighbor remained skeptical and offered her assistance if needed. Undeterred, the woman informed her husband of the situation, and they decided to speak more quietly to avoid further misunderstandings.

A Bizarre Encounter

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One day, two police officers unexpectedly knocked on their door. An anonymous caller had expressed concerns about the woman’s wellbeing, prompting the visit. This bizarre encounter left the couple feeling humiliated and bewildered.

A Persistent Neighbor

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The neighbor, not convinced by their explanations, approached the woman once more the following day. The woman implored her to let it go. “She told me that she wouldn’t have to worry if we just switched to English. I told her we wouldn’t be doing that and she’d have to take my word for it and stop bothering us.”

A Public Accusation

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Matters took an even more distressing turn when the neighbor posted a recording of the couple’s joyful banter to the neighborhood’s online group. In her post, she expressed her conviction that the woman was in danger, seeking advice on how to report it. The response from the group was divisive, with some agreeing and others vehemently defending the couple.

A Defending Voice

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Eventually, someone who spoke Spanish and another who spoke Polish chimed in, affirming that the couple’s conversations were not indicative of arguments. They ridiculed the neighbor for her intrusive actions and urged her to mind her own business.

An Angry Confrontation

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The neighbor eventually removed the recording but remained furious. She confronted the woman, shouting and berating her, accusing her of humiliating her deliberately and playing with her emotions.

A Conflicted Woman

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The woman found herself in a difficult position. She empathized with her neighbor’s genuine concern but also felt wronged by her neighbor’s actions. She questioned whether she should have switched to speaking English to avoid the entire situation and wondered if she was in the wrong for confusing her neighbor.

Asking the Internet

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Confused as to what to do, the woman posted her story online for second opinions. “Honestly, I’d report her for harassment”, one commenter suggested. “Recording you without your knowledge, and posting the private conversation to social media? That’s a serious invasion of your privacy.”

Eavesdropping Xenophobe

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Another reader expressed her skepticism of the neighbor’s good intentions. They wrote: “If your neighbor actually cared about your well-being, she would have been relieved at the Spanish and Polish speakers clarifying that you were fine. The fact that she was embarrassed shows what her really motives were: eavesdropping busybody at best, outright racist xenophobe at worst.”

Legal Action 

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Other commenters suggested the woman take serious action. “This is anti-foreigner harassment”, one person pointed out. “This won’t end. You should seek legal intervention.”

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