Sometimes it’s easier to love our neighbor in theory than in practice. Little irritations build up over time, and given our fast-paced lives, we find ourselves simply ignoring our neighbors rather than putting effort into establishing good relations. But in reality, taking a little time to build connections with neighbors pays plenty of dividends and staves off a lot of annoyance, drama, and inconvenience. Here are 10 surefire ways to be a good neighbor and reap the benefits of a close-knit community.
Be Welcoming, Old Style
A handwritten note or housewarming gift can bring unexpected joy in this world of virtual interactions. It is also a great way to introduce yourself to a new neighbor and make a good first impression.
Related: Welcome Home: 10 Great Gifts for the New Homeowner
Be Aware of Your Noise Level
Coping with neighbors' loud music and chatter can be a number one cause of stress and strife. Give your neighbors a heads-up before you throw a party, and choose a mutually agreeable time to cut the music.
Patrol for Packages
With doorstep theft on the rise, keep an eye on your neighbors' packages. Do you live in an apartment building? Bring your neighbors' deliveries up to their front door. If you own a house, offer to collect your neighbors' packages, mail, or newspapers when they’re traveling.
Related: 12 Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Package Theft
Touch Base Regularly
A little positive interaction can go a long way toward alleviating tensions and concerns. If you’re planning on throwing a party or starting renovations, inform your neighbors of the days and times when they may be inconvenienced. Find ways to thank them for being accommodating, and return the favor by being flexible in return.
Think of Others
Always consider how your actions may affect your neighbors. Don't let Fido bark incessantly or run around off leash. If you live in an apartment, don't pace around at 2 a.m. when you might disturb the people who live below you. Thoughtfulness and consideration can be easy to overlook, but they help make the world more pleasant.
Use Group Chat Wisely
Yes, there are times when group chat and apps like GroupMe can help facilitate neighborhood activities and communication. Just remember that text messages are not the right forum for lengthy conversations, complaints, and jokes that could be misunderstood. For sensitive conversations, pick up the phone, or go knock on your neighbor's door.
Keep Ears and Eyes Open
Be alert for unusual noises and other signs of disturbance, such as persistently barking dogs or doors that are standing open. If children are playing in the street, check to make sure that an adult is present.
Love Thy Home
Our attitude toward our home is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves—and others. When you take pride in your home, you help set the tone for the entire neighborhood. So, roll out the welcome mat, and put a few pots of greenery by the front door. Your home sends a message; make sure it's one of peace and kindness.
All It Takes is a Friendly Hello
Build relationships with your neighbors. In good times and bad, you'll be happy to have a community nearby.
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Be Friendly, but Read Cues
Particularly if you live next door to someone who's single, say hello and be friendly—but not too friendly. Read your neighbors' cues, and if they don’t seem eager to continue a conversation, show you are trustworthy by honoring their boundaries.