Why bother making friends with your neighbor? After a busy day, time behind closed doors is a luxury and reaching out to neighbors may not seem worth the effort. But, creating goodwill with your neighbors can pay off in big ways.
Historically, a sense of community was a staple throughout most of America. The onset of the urban lifestyle, social media “relationships,” the breaking apart of the family unit and the need to stay busy has robbed us of the “real-time” connections we once had.
Truly connecting with neighbors creates a feeling of harmony, security and support. There is tremendous value in simply knowing that someone is nearby who cares and is willing to help if needed. Equally as important as a sense of community, being good neighbors benefits everyone when problems arise.
When people live near others, things can happen—children may be too loud, pets may damage your yard, cars may block your driveway, weather may destroy a shared fence, and the list goes on. Issues like these trigger frustration, and when we don’t know the person who is causing the frustration, tempers can flare—and small issues can quickly escalate.
Here are ten ways to be a good neighbor.
- Introduce yourself. Most people do not know who lives next door to them. Consider bringing a plate of goodies or a plant for their garden.
- Greet neighbors with a smile, wave or friendly “hello” each time you see them.
- Invite neighbors to your house to share a meal or light snack with the purpose of getting to know them better. Love hosting? Hold a party for all your neighbors.
- Respect property boundaries. Make sure trees or other plants are not growing over onto your neighbor’s property or blocking their view. If you are going to remove a tree, talk with your neighbor first. Keep fences in good repair.
- Offer to pick up mail, newspapers or watch your neighbor’s home when they are away for extended times.
- Respect noise level at all times – especially early in the morning or later in the evening. No one likes to wake up early on a weekend to the sound of a lawn mower or other gas-powered equipment.
- Keep your yard tidy. Regularly mow the grass, maintain garden areas, and keep the property free of trash and other debris. Broken down vehicles, old campers, boats and other items should not be stored in front of your house.
- Contain your animals to your property. Some people fear dogs and no one wants to clean up after someone else’s pet. A constantly barking dog is a sure way to irritate others.
- When hosting a party or large gathering, notify your neighbors and ask about parking preferences. Let them know when your guest will arrive and what time they may leave.
- Slow down when driving through your neighborhood and watch for children, pets, and those walking or biking.
When a problem does arise, go to your neighbor in a calm, respectful manner and look for a positive solution. Assume the best. Respect and consideration go a long way. People are more likely to work with you to solve issues when you have established a relationship built on trust and mutual respect.
Why spend the time making friends with your neighbors? Why not. The more we engage with one another, the better neighbors we become. It will be time well-spent.