We have gotten so used to having a ‘to each his own’ mindset when it comes to our neighbors. Come to think of it, years or even decades living in your village, do you really know all your neighbors, or at least any of them? Perhaps, there’s no better time to develop a relationship with them than now.
If anything, the pandemic taught us that we can only be so self-sufficient. The statement “No man is an island.” has never been so true. Times, when we grapple with uncertainty in our livelihood and health, remind us how having a support group is a crucial part of our lives.
Speaking of support groups, there’s no other that you can run to for the smallest favors to major personal woes just a knock on the door away than them. And so, this year, make being a good neighbor a thing again. If you’re not sure how here are just some of the best ways:
You can make a great impression on your neighbors from the smallest things. The least you would want is them thinking that you’re intentionally being a nuisance. Make them feel that you come in peace, for instance, by maintaining your yard well so your bushes or trees don’t interfere with their electrical cabling and show them you’re able to manage household affairs, not airing your dirty laundry out or make abnormally loud noises especially during the wee hours of the evening, and being a responsible pet owner that cleans up after them.
On the other hand, it’s best to not get too friendly to the point that makes your neighbors uncomfortable. Some neighbors like their privacy and so you would not want to force being close with them. Greet them when you cross paths as a friendly gesture, but mentally take note to set boundaries.
Find a Common Ground
While some neighbors are on the timid side, some would be more than glad to create a bond with you, and so you have to nurture that. Sometimes, it takes several minutes of small talk to discover that you could actually vibe with your neighbor, who for so long you might have had prejudice on. If you’re a mother, you’ll find that a neighbor who’s also a mother has so many things in common with you, squeezing in as much me time when the kids are at school or recipes you’d want to perfect, for instance. Just a quick conversation with someone who can relate to your issues and aspirations is already so therapeutic.
The next step is to engage in hobbies and recreational activities with them regularly, on weekends to be practical. Hold grill or pool parties, stroll, bike, or walk your pets around the hood, or even have your kids play ball in your backyard basketball court. While all these sound menial, these will all be beneficial for your relationship in the long run.
Nurture a Community Space
If your patio later becomes too small for your growing circle, bring your village’s clubhouse back to life by holding your weekly activities. If circumstances permit, arrange for annual field days scheduled at everyone’s most convenient time. You can also invite everyone over for homeowner meetings to discuss internal affairs including the maintenance of street lights and other fixtures, waste collection, and security in your place.
When all of you have more or less developed a team dynamic and could work out your differing opinions into one goal, it is also a great idea to expand your agenda to include plans for the greater community. Your number is your force and even just a day volunteering altogether for a coastal cleanup will do a lot. Taking part in community service will be soul-nourishing not only for you but for everyone.
Running Errands for Them
How nice must it feel to have someone you can entrust your home to or receive mail and packages when you’re away? This is just one of the perks you can get if you happen to live in a neighborhood where you’re friends with most if not all of the residents. As humans, we are naturally sensitive to the welfare of our neighbors and so we can only reciprocate any good intentions we receive.
So, as much as you can and when they aren’t currently capable, do them favors or offer to help them. They would appreciate even as small a gesture as you fixing the tap for them or giving them enough of the pantry essentials they ran out of just before they get to buy them.
It takes little effort to be a good neighbor. But, how it benefits you and the community is exponential. Most often than not, your neighbors are the first ones you can run to for help in the house and so it’s only right to maintain a good relationship with them.