Modern life is a lot less conducive to friendships with neighbourliness than it used to be. But positive relationships with those around us can make our lives more pleasant and give us a sense of who we are. Here are a few ways to help nurture those relationships for happier, healthier lifestyle.
Introduce yourself to newcomers. Your new neighbours may be feeling lonely and unsure, especially if they’re far from home, and might appreciate a friendly face bearing a homemade cake or a plant. If they have children, tell them where the other local children live. Give advice on the best places to eat and shop.
Be considerate about noise. As a rule, keep music and loud outdoor conversations down after 9 p.m., and try not to start up the power tools or leaf blower before 8 or 9 a.m.. If you are planning a party, try to let your neighbors know in advance — and if you enjoy throwing frequent parties, it’s not a bad idea to invite your neighbors to one!
Deal with problems in person. Just as when your neighbors are being too noisy, any other problem should be addressed promptly and in person. It may seem easier to write a note or dash off an email, but written complaints can seem more mean spirited than you intended, and may shut down communication with that neighbor in the future. Give your neighbor a chance to hear what you have to say in a face-to-face chat, and then listen to his or her side as well. Remember, your neighbor is likely not going anywhere, so even if you do not particularly like him or her, it is in your interest to find a way to get through it together.
Keep your front yard tidy. There is no need to get into a competition with neighbors over who has the greenest lawn, but keeping up a basic level of tidiness will be appreciated by all. Put your garbage and recycling cans back promptly after they have been collected, keep grass mowed and weeds pulled, and try to avoid storing too many belongings on your porch or in the driveway.
Be considerate in general. Return anything that you borrow from a neighbour, such as tools, in good condition and as soon as you’re finished with them. Replace anything that belongs to your neighbour that you, your children or your pets break or soil. If your neighbour hasn’t brought in his or her bin yet, do it as a favour. Random acts of consideration will get your neighbours talking.
Follow local parking etiquette. Always try to park in front of your own house if possible, and never block neighbors’ driveways. In some neighborhoods with narrow streets, it is the custom for everyone to park on only one side — even if it’s not an official rule, it is best to follow suit.
Invite your neighbours over. What better way to meet your neighbours than to invite them to an informal barbecue or party? If you deliver the invitations in person, you’ll get a chance to have a chat before moving on to the next house.