Now that I am at home during the day I am getting to know my neighbors better. We bought our house two years ago and I honestly never took the time to get to know any of our neighbors, we were working during the day and the opportunity just never seemed to arise. But now that I am out and about during the day I am getting the chance to meet more of my neighbors, and I have myself impressed at their neighborliness. Case in point, I took my dogs for their daily walk this afternoon and my neighbor’s large dog jumped the fence and came rushing at my dogs. As I struggled to control my dogs on their leashes, a very nice gentleman who had been weeding in his yard a couple of doors down came rushing over and not only shooed the escaped dog away from us, but then insisted on walking with me the rest of the way home just in case the dog tried to follow us again. This was far and above the call of neighborly duty, especially considering that was the first time we had ever met, but I was very grateful for his kindness because I honestly was a little worried about that big escaped dog attacking my little dog.
And this isn’t the first time I have noticed what awesome neighbors we have. A few weeks ago our neighborhood was hit by a tornado. Thankfully no one was hurt but there was quite a bit of damage done to yards and houses. The morning after the tornado I went outside to survey the damage and start cleaning up and my neighbor from across the street came over and began asking if we were OK and if there was anything I needed his help with. As we chatted I noticed that up and down the street neighbors were checking on each other and helping each other to get everything back in order. All of this has made me realize how important our neighbors are and that a neighborhood is a community that can be a great asset in life – and it has inspired me to take steps to become a better neighbor myself. If you find yourself wanting to become more neighborly as well, here are 7 tips to get you started.
Always Say Hi
Make a habit of smiling, waving, and saying “hi” every time you see one of your neighbors. Whether it be a chance encounter at the mailbox or you happen to make eye contact as you are both pulling into your driveways, always greet your neighbors every time you see them. This not only lets them know that you are friendly, it can also lead to conversations that can help you get to know your neighbors better and keep you informed of what is happening in the neighborhood.
Spend Time Outside
Don’t be one of those neighbors who stays couped up inside the house all the time, or looks out the window to make sure no one is around before walking to the mailbox. Avoiding your neighbors is not doing anyone any good, so make an effort to spend some time out and about in the neighborhood by taking walks or tending to yard work. The best way to get to know your neighbors is to put yourself in situations where you will come into contact with them, so get out and spend some time enjoying what your neighborhood has to offer.
Be Attentive and Considerate
There are many things that can clue you in to what is going on with your neighbors if you pay attention. If you notice a funeral sign in a neighbor’s yard or a neighbor putting up posters for a lost dog, don’t ignore them but rather offer your assistance in some way. Give your condolences to the grieving family and offer to cook them meals, or offer to help your neighbor scour the neighborhood in search of their lost dog. If you notice that a neighbor forgot to take their trashcan to the road on trash day, take a moment to take it to the road for them. Pay attention to the needs of your neighbors and treat them with kindness, you will both reap benefits from it.
Keep The Outside of Your House Neat and Orderly
Be considerate of your neighbors by keeping your yard picked up and your trash out of the street. If a cat gets into your trashcan, take the time to pick the trash up before it blows into all of your neighbors yards. What you do inside your house is your business, but everyone shares the neighborhood and should take pride in it.
Take The Time to Welcome New Neighbors to The Neighborhood
When we bought our house our next door neighbor brought us a card and a plant, and I have never forgotten it. It only takes a moment to give someone a friendly welcome to the neighborhood and it will leave you both with a warm feeling inside.
Don’t be that one neighbor who never participates in anything. If everyone is decorating their house for Christmas, then throw up a few lights too. If the neighborhood is hosting a neighborhood-wide yard sale, then at the very least donate a few items to sell. No one likes the Scrouge of the neighborhood, so don’t let it be you. Suck it up, flip the porch light on this Halloween and pass out some candy – your neighbors will like you better for it.
Control Your Pets
We view pets as members of the family, but someone in the neighborhood having rowdy or uncontrolled pets can make everyone around them miserable. Make sure that broken fences are mended properly when a dog escapes, and that you always clean up any mess that your dog or cat makes in a neighbor’s yard. Control your dog’s barking so that he or she doesn’t bother neighbors who may be napping or enjoying a quiet afternoon. Keeping pets under control and being considerate of your neighbors is the neighborly thing to do.