Tips for Being a Good Neighbor
Somewhere in route to the modern era, the feeling of belonging to our communities took a wrong turn. For many people, it’s all but vanished.
Connection is not a new idea. In fact, it’s as old and as deeply human an idea as any other. We are wired for connection, and we ignore it at our peril. Of course, it’s a big topic, and a lot more than one article can and has been written on the subject.
But here, we believe a great starting point is making efforts of our own, in our own communities. In other words, we think connection starts with having good neighbors. Which is really to say: being a good neighbor yourself.
And more importantly, not being a bad neighbor.
To get started, here are some quick tips for reviving your neighborly etiquette, and doing your part to make your neighborhood feel more like a community.
Don’t Be a Burden
Many of the following tips may seem obvious. Some, not so much. In any case, these are a few things to not do, before you try going the extra mile.
Don’t be a bad pet owner – Nothing builds resentment quite like an ignorant or self-centered pet owner. Be mindful of when a leash is necessary or simply polite, properly handle pet waste, and to the degree you’re able, train your animals to respectfully interact with the world.
Don’t leave the trash can out – For practical reasons, such as parking, driving or jogging, and simply for aesthetic reasons, bring the trash bin in after it’s emptied.
Don’t lose curb appeal – You do not need to pour hours into landscape design and maintenance, but the view from the street should be a tidy one. Clean up, trim foliage, mow the lawn, and so on.
Don’t gossip – It’s tempting to dish, but don’t let talking about other people drive every interaction you have with your neighbors. This has virtually no upside, and a glaring downside.
Don’t be loud – There’s no hard and fast rule for making noise, but you know it when you hear it. Be mindful. Don’t honk at midnight, don’t use power tools at 5 a.m. – things like that.
Being a Great Neighbor
Okay, now for going above and beyond. Follow these tips to become the neighbor of your neighbor’s dreams.
Introduce yourself –First things first: A good relationship with your neighbors has to begin with actually knowing who they are. It can take a little courage, but go out of your way to introduce yourself.
Give a heads-up – If you’re having a party that may restrict parking, or mildly bend the etiquette on late-night noise, a word of caution goes an incredibly long way. This is about showing respect, and earning respect.
Share information – A note here: this does not mean gossip. Instead, be the neighbor who is clearly paying attention to the community’s well being. People will appreciate the chance to avoid a problem – or take advantage of an opportunity – that you tell them about.
Handle conflict appropriately – When conflicts do arise, it’s a good idea to take a mature approach. Don’t immediately turn to the police, or resort to passive-aggressiveness. Instead, approach them mindfully and work through the issue judiciously.
Be service-oriented – Good neighbors are those we can rely on. Good neighbors are leaders. Show that you not only care, but are willing to help, by offering a helping hand when you can spare it.