Having a good relationship with your neighbors can have a big impact on how happy you are in your home. If you get along and have an easy rapport, it can truly add to your good feelings. On the other hand, if your interactions with neighbors are tense or negative, it can make you uneasy and unable to truly relax.
Part of having a good relationship with your neighbors is being a good neighbor. Here are some ideas to help you build a feeling of community in your neighborhood.
It’s hard to know your neighbors if you never step outside the front door. Say hello to people walking by when you collect the mail. Do a little gardening in the front yard or spend some time sitting on the front porch. Go for regular walks in your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised at how friendly people can be, and it’s a great way to get to know the people living in your neighborhood.
Being the new guy can be tough. Make the transition a little easier for new neighbors by taking the initiative and introducing yourself. Bring them a little gift like some cookies, a plant or a favorite goodie from a neighborhood store.
Be aware of your behavior
Nobody wants to move next door to someone who throws loud parties, plays their TV at an obnoxious level, or blares music late into the night. Don’t be the one who does it. Keep noise levels low before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m. – this goes for music, outside conversation, pool filters, lawn mowers and leaf blowers. If you’re throwing a party or planning some renovations, do your neighbors a favor and let them know about it in advance.
Keep pets in check
How people deal with their pets can be a real bone of contention for some. Bring barking dogs inside, keep dogs on a leash and always clean up after your dog when out on a walk. If you have more unusual pets, like chickens, let neighbors know about them and share some fresh eggs now and then. Let neighbors know they can come by if your pets are causing a problem, and be kind if you are approaching a neighbor about their pet.
Deal with problems in person
Do you like getting passive aggressive notes on your car’s windshield? No? Your neighbor probably doesn’t like getting them either. Instead of solving problems, handling an issue this way usually causes more. If you are having a problem with a neighbor, address it directly with them. It may make you feel uncomfortable or awkward, but it gives both parties a chance to be heard.
Respect common spaces
If you live in a condo or apartment, be aware of shared walls and keep common spaces like hallways and lobbies clear of personal items. If street parking is normal in your neighborhood, try to only park in front of your own house and don’t block a neighbor’s driveway.
By extending a little courtesy and friendliness, you can turn neighbors who were once strangers into friends. Living in a neighborhood where everyone is looking out for each other contributes greatly to your overall happiness, so it’s a good investment of your time and energy to nurture those relationships.