The dynamic of many neighborhoods has changed over the years. In past decades, neighborhoods were the staples holding healthy communities together. Not only did you know your neighbors on your right and left, but you knew the ones up and down the street. Today, it often seems as if being a good neighbor is a lost art. We all hear about the bad ones, but very few people end up being friends with the people they live near.
What if this changed, though? What would your life look like if you had healthy relationships with your neighbors? By prioritizing your neighbors and doing your best to be a good neighbor yourself, you might be able to change the entire dynamic of your street.
4 Tips for Building Better Neighbor Relationships
Being a good neighbor really isn’t that hard. Sure, it takes some time and effort, but don’t all relationships? Here are some tips to help you out:
- Get Off to a Good Start
A lot of people drop the ball when a new neighbor moves in. Instead of introducing themselves within the first 24-36 hours, days turn into weeks and months. At this point, it’s just awkward and no meaningful interaction ever occurs.
You want to get off to a good start when someone moves in. Bring over a meal or a housewarming gift, introduce yourself, and learn their names. This positive first impression will set the tone for your relationship.
- Offer to Help
Neighbors love to complain about one another. If there’s a problem that isn’t dealt with, it can fester for weeks or months until you explode on your neighbor. This often happens with home maintenance and lawn care. If you have a neighbor who doesn’t cut this grass or lets his house deteriorate, the natural response is to get angry. But what if you offered to help?
“Messy neighbors aren’t always out to get you. Sometimes they don’t know any better or lack the time and money to address simple issues,” Green Residential points out. “Without being accusatory or demeaning, politely ask if you can help out. One of three things will happen: (1) they’ll be so embarrassed that they’ll immediately fix the problems themselves, (2) they’ll take you up on your offer, or (3) they’ll get defensive and tell you to buzz off. Even if the last scenario happens, you’re no worse off than you were before.”
- Take Care of Your Property
Building off the last point, taking care of your own property is one way of building goodwill with neighbors. People are much more likely to treat you well if you cut your grass, don’t leave trash in your yard, park in the driveway, and take the time to keep things beautiful. It shows respect to the people around you.
- Invite Them Over
It’s hard to build relationships with your neighbors if you only ever see them when you get the mail or drive past each other in your cars. In order to build some meaningful friendships, invite neighbors into your house. Host a cookout for the people in your cul de sac. Have a game night once a week. Get together to watch the big game. The more you do together, the stronger your relationships will be.
Relationships Take Time to Build
No relationship is built overnight. If you want to create healthy friendships with your neighbors, have a little patience and work at it. Each little interaction you have – from a wave in the driveway to bringing over a meal when someone is sick – influences the bigger picture. Do what you can and come to grips with the things you can’t control.