Did you just move into a new home and are now excited to meet your neighbors? Or, did someone new just move in next door to you and you want to make them feel welcome? In either case, be the kind of neighbor that people like and want to get to know, especially if you live in a tight-knit community or cul-de-sac. Take a nod from the late, great Mister Rogers and be as kind and neighborly as he was.
In today’s technology-ruled world, it’s hard for many of us to even look up from our phones, let alone stop and take time to get to know those around us. Don’t let that deter you from being a good neighbor and presenting yourself in a positive manner and friendly light. It could mean the forming of a new friendship, but at the very least, it’ll help you enjoy and appreciate those you live by.
So, exactly what does it mean to be a good neighbor? For starters, be inviting and say hello. This warm gesture goes a long way and can be just enough for people who might be initially shy or have more introverted personalities. You most likely won’t see your neighbor that often, but when you do, a wave and a smile is worth it to the one on the receiving end. Plus, it doesn’t take any extra time or effort to just be nice.
If you have a dog, be courteous to your neighbors and keep them in mind before you let your pet loose. Pick up after your dog and keep him on a leash or within the confinements of your own yard. If you have a barking dog, make sure you alleviate the situation if it continues for a long time and don’t allow him to sit outside whining or yelping for an entire afternoon or evening.
Keep your kids under control as well. Although good neighbors help look out for each other in nearly all aspects, don’t make it your neighborhood’s responsibility to babysit your children. Discuss rules with your kids before allowing them to play outside. Instruct them to remain in your own yard and don’t leave their bikes or toys on the sidewalk where someone could trip on them. Kids will be kids, so shrieks and giggles will be common, but let them know that yelling is disruptive to everyone and might cause an adult to think something is wrong.
Keep your lawn clean and well-maintained. Don’t allow branches or debris to cross over to your neighbor’s lawn. Also, while it’s completely fine to have campaign signs in your yard, don’t go overboard with too many and make sure they are all within your own perimeter. By putting your belongings away every evening, you keep your yard looking good, not just for your neighbors, but for better curb appeal, too.
When a new neighbor moves in, wait a week or two to allow them time to settle in and then take them a casserole or a plate of cookies and introduce yourself. Another idea is to host a backyard BBQ and invite a few families in your neighborhood, including your newest neighbor, to get to know everyone in a casual atmosphere. If you both have kids around the same age, set up a playdate in the park and allow them to get to know each other as well.
Once you get to know your neighbors, you can offer to get the mail for them, water their plants, or take care of their pets when they’re away. It’s nice to know they have someone to rely on when they’re out of town to keep an eye on their home.
Lastly, hopefully, there are never any problems between neighbors, but if there are, address them right away and in a way that invites open communication from your neighbor. Depending on what type of issue you’re facing, it may be something your neighbor might not even realize is a problem. Use your best judgment and use language that doesn’t put your neighbor on the defensive. Remember to use kindness in your tone.
Good neighbors are involved without being nosy. They are friendly and welcoming without being intrusive. Respect your neighbors’ boundaries and in turn, you can expect them to respect yours. Being a good neighbor can turn your whole neighborhood into a peaceful and friendly place, which in the end, means better quality living for you.
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