We’re taught to love thy neighbor. But what does that really mean? What defines a good neighbor in the 21st Century? Why does being friendly with the folks who live around you even matter?
Whether you’re buying your first house, renting an apartment, or settling into a new condominium, your home is sacred. Essential life functions occur there: raising a family, eating, sleeping, relaxing, studying, working, creating... you name it!
Home is defined not only by where you live but by how you live. You can have a “really cool place” but still feel disconnected from your own community.
Feeling “at home” has a lot to do with your neighbors. The quality of a neighborhood depends on the general behavior of the people who live there – how they act, react, and interact among one another.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re new to the block or have lived there years, being neighborly is always worthwhile.
Meet and Greet – Meet your neighbors if you haven’t already. You might feel more comfortable waiting for a chance encounter outside, but feel free to go knock on their door and introduce yourself.
Heads Up – Keep your neighbors informed of large parties, extended remodeling, or anything that could disturb or inconvenience them. They might not like it, but they’ll respect the sentiment.
Acknowledge Differences, Find Common Ground – Age, faith, ethnic background, and marital status affect lifestyle. You and your neighbor may live right next door to each other, but view the world in completely different ways. That’s okay – just be aware of how that might create friction. That recognition alone can help work out disagreements and perhaps even stave them off in the first place.
Assume the Best – That’s what unites neighbors. Assume that, like you, your neighbor prefers peace to problems (especially petty ones!). Assume that, like you, your neighbor wants the best for their family. Assume that, like you, your neighbor is a good person who wants to live a good life. Be careful, be cautious, but remember your neighbors are human just like you.
Other common courtesies include being mindful of playing loud music, keeping the exterior of your home tidy, and giving a wave to your neighbors. Always remember that kindness counts!
Safety – Neighbors can be lifesavers and work together to keep communities safe. When people take time to talk and share information regularly, it builds community and often reduces petty crime.
In the Know – Folks who’ve lived in your neighborhood for years likely know the ins and outs of city/county government, the school system, and other institutional knowledge about the neighborhood – from street parking rules to where to put the trash out. Asking questions about where you live and how things work is another way to get to know your neighbors. Even if you don’t make friends, you’ll likely learn something.
Value – Friendly neighbors aren’t directly related to homes values. However, close-knit communities and those with active groups – from neighborhood watches to block party committees – are the safest, cleanest, best maintained, and most friendly. That keeps property values steady and proves kindness really pays!
The Good Life – Being neighborly isn’t that hard. Just be kind, be considerate, and treat them the way you want to be treated. We don’t have to be best friends with our neighbors, but you’d be surprised how far a smile and wave go in building a sense of community. Get to know your neighbors and see how a little connection and go a long way to living the good life!
The town of Harmony is home to fine people who together make this one of the best places to live in the world. We might be partial, but just ask the neighbors!