There are good neighbors and bad neighbors. Of course, you'd want to be a good one. You do not want to be that neighbor people try to avoid because you rub everyone the wrong way, that neighbor who everyone gossips about, or that neighbor whom no one will call the ambulance if an emergency occurs.
If you feel like you're not doing a good at being a kind neighbor, it's not too late. It's in your best interest to know the hows of being a good neighbor genuinely. As the adage goes, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
No matter how self-sufficient you deem yourself to be, you are part of a community. And there are unwritten rules you need to follow. For example: be kind to your neighbor. Being genuinely kind will go a long way. Before you know it, you're the neighborhood's Ms. or Mr. Congeniality.
Why Be a Good Neighbor
You reap the following benefits if you're a good neighbor.
· For personal development – You learn something from all the people you meet, and that includes your neighbors. If you close your doors to your neighbors, you might be losing opportunities for self-improvement and good company. Likewise, you can teach a thing or two to your neighbors.
· For your mental health – Being an outsider of any community can be bad for your mental health even if you say that it's a personal decision. On the other hand, having a healthy relationship with your neighbors will give you a sense of peace and security about the home you live.
· For your safety – You won't be at home 24/7. Some of your neighbors, such as stay-at-home parents, stay put while you're away. They can look after your property if you've been good to them, even when you don't ask them to. Good neighbors are quick to point out visible home safety concerns to other friendly neighbors too.
· For fun – Neighbors are potential friends and family. When you build a good relationship with them, you'll get invited to gatherings, bingo nights, and other activities. This is especially helpful and fun if you have kids. Do not limit your friends to people you meet at work or your long-time friends. There's no harm in making new ones.
· For networking – You're serious about your career. That's why you seldom mingle with neighbors. You're too busy. But have you ever considered your neighbors as a potential addition to your growing professional network? Who knows, the person living next door might be your ticket to the most rewarding career.
· For a sense of community – This is most important to parents. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. So you want to start a family in a place where there's a strong and supportive community—a place where people look after each other.
Qualities of a Good Neighbor
Below are some of the qualities good neighbors have. Practice them in your daily life to become a better member of your community.
As soon as you move to your new home, introduce yourself and the rest of your household to new neighbors. That will set the tone for your role in the community. But don't let your friendliness stop there.
Whenever you bump into neighbors on the street or share a hallway with them, throw them an appropriate greeting. If it comes with a smile, the better, and if you have time to spare, a quick chit-chat won't hurt either. Just make sure you're not faking any of these niceties. Some people can easily sniff out feigned friendliness.
Know as much about your neighbors as you can—not for gossip's sake. This is so you'll know how to best relate with them. Make an effort to learn what they do for a living, what they're passionate about, and how they spend their spare time. Of course, make sure to share about yourself too. It's a two-way street, and you can't hog both lanes.
If you're genuinely interested in your neighbors, you'll take to heart whatever information they share with you. For instance, if they told you they work night shifts at home, you will no longer be bothered by any business you observe next door in the wee hours. You know that it's part of your neighbor's daily practices at home.
There are many ways to show that you're a considerate neighbor. For example, if you live in a condo unit separated from the next tenant with no more than a thin wall, keep the noise down. If you're planning a party, give your neighbors a heads up so they can plan accordingly. Offer a neighbor waiting for a cab a ride if you're going the same route.
Avoid playing instruments loudly and at wee hours, especially if you live in a cramped condo building where your next-door neighbors will probably hear whatever you're doing. Sure, you're in your private space. But that noise can't be contained and can reach other spaces.
In addition, be mindful of how you use shared spaces. Remember that these spaces are for everyone.
Watch your kids and pets. Do not let them roam the neighborhood unsupervised. Keep in mind that any untoward incident within the neighborhood can cause trauma to all residents. That includes a kid being attacked by a neighborhood dog or a pet being run over by a speeding car.
Pay your homeowner or association dues on time. That's another way to show that you're a responsible tenant or homeowner. Know that association dues go to amenities that ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in the neighborhood.
When you use communal spaces, do not litter. Yes, there are building or neighborhood custodians who'll clean after you and are paid to do so, thanks to your association fees. But that's beside the point. The point is it won't take too much time and effort to clean as you go and spare the next person who'll use the space you vacated from litter.
If you live in a condo unit, do not throw away stuff from the balcony. No, not even if it's just a candy wrapper. You don't know whose window that candy wrapper will fly into. Be aware of the garbage schedule too.
Respect your elderly neighbors. Respect neighbors who are younger than you. Give everyone respect, and they'll return that same amount or more. That includes the building or village personnel. Being respectful doesn't cost anything, so go all out.
Being respectful is not exclusive to using the right words when talking to people. Being respectful should also manifest in actions. For instance, if you observe proper parking etiquette, you show respect for your neighbors.
Be attentive to your neighbors' needs. For example, if you hear an unrelenting fight next door and you feel that it's about to end badly, take it upon yourself to call the authorities. The people involved might not appreciate this intrusion at first, but if it's the best way to handle the problem, they'll realize that eventually.
If your neighbors are away for vacation, look after their property. Alert them if you notice something strange, such as the presence of possible burglars. Or better yet, call the building or neighborhood admin.
Contrary to popular belief, generosity does not have to be expensive. You can be generous with your time. If you notice a neighbor going through something, talk to them. Build rapport with them and listen to what they have to say.
Do you have leftovers from the last party you hosted at home? Share the excess with your neighbors. They'll appreciate the thought.
A good neighbor is sensitive. You won't say words you know will hurt your neighbors' feelings or do stuff you know will offend your neighbors. Moreover, you have the emotional maturity to put yourself in your neighbor's shoes.
For example, you have a neighbor who recently gave birth. They never smile when they see you. They won't even respond to your greetings. Instead of taking the situation personally, try to imagine where the other person is coming from. Maybe she's suffering from postpartum depression.
Like a good neighbor, you can step up and lend an ear to help. Or, if you feel you haven't built enough rapport with the person to intrude, the best you can do is understand their actions and not take offense. Of course, it would be thoughtful if you reach out to them with a jar of homemade goods once in a while.
Being a good neighbor doesn't mean you have to get close to everyone and talk to them at all times. Remember that sincerity trumps smarm. Your neighbors don't want to see you put on a facade of being nice and caring. Instead, show that you care through actions.
Yes, being a good neighbor won't take too much time and effort. If you are good to your neighbors, your neighbors will be good to you as well. That can only mean you'll have fewer reasons to look for a new home now or in the future. What you have is more than enough.
Published by Geri Pacleb