Everyone shares a responsibility to be kind, considerate, and respectful to their neighbors. Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, you should always strive to make a positive impact on your community. When neighbors support each other, the entire community thrives.
Being kind and considerate offers a great return on investment. If you help your neighbors out, they’ll be much more likely to help you in your time of need. Also, if you build positive relationships with your neighbors, resolving conflict becomes much easier. Mutual respect in a community goes a long way, so making the effort to be a good neighbor is always worthwhile.
There are plenty of ways you can connect with your neighbors and promote a happy and respectful community. Here are five tips to become a better neighbor:
1. Introduce Yourself
The very first step toward becoming a better neighbor is getting to know your neighbors. Even if you’ve lived in your home for years, it’s never too late to introduce yourself to other community members. If you feel comfortable approaching a neighbor’s house, you could simply knock on the door to introduce yourself. If not, try to introduce yourself to a neighbor when your paths cross naturally.
When speaking with a neighbor, try to listen for hints of any potential concerns or complaints. This can be especially helpful if you’re introducing yourself to a new neighbor. For instance, if your next-door neighbor mentions that they wake up very early for work, you should consider being mindful of noise late at night. By listening to and anticipating your neighbor’s needs, you could avoid conflict.
If a concern or conflict does arise, you’ll find it far easier to manage after you’ve established a connection with your neighbor. You already have mutual respect, so your neighbor will know that you’re not just trying to pick a fight if you ask them to adjust their behavior. The same is true if your neighbor approaches you with a concern.
2. Be Mindful of Noise
Noise complaints are one of the biggest interpersonal issues among neighbors. Volume can be particularly concerning for those living in apartment or condo complexes because noise travels so easily between neighboring units. However, noise can also be an issue in communities of single-family homes.
In many cases, people don’t realize that their level of noise is disruptive to their neighbors. To be a good neighbor, you should always be mindful of noise. If you’re hosting a party, check in with your neighbors beforehand to make sure it won’t be too disruptive. If you have neighbors living below you, try to keep your footsteps quiet when walking around late at night. Avoid mowing your lawn or doing other noisy tasks early in the morning. Limiting your volume at night and in the early morning only requires slight adjustments to your behavior, but it can go a long way in helping you maintain good relationships with your neighbors.
3. Maintain Curb Appeal
Some neighbors aren’t concerned at all about curb appeal, and others care a great deal. You shouldn’t have to go to extreme lengths to make your landscaping look immaculate to appease your neighbors. However, keeping the exterior of your home in good condition is considerate. It keeps the neighborhood looking clean and vibrant and it can even improve the property values in the community.
Maintaining good curb appeal can be as simple as mowing your lawn regularly and keeping the yard free of trash or debris. Excess garbage piling up on the curb is one of the most common concerns for community members because it could attract pests. You should also be mindful of where your property ends and where your neighbor’s begins. If trees or shrubs in your yard are starting to encroach on your neighbor’s property, you should take care of the issue as soon as possible.
4. Avoid Gossip
It can be very tempting to engage in gossip with your neighbors. You may learn of a volatile neighbor who should be avoided or of a family that needs a helping hand. Spreading gossip is almost always more harmful than helpful, though. Stories can quickly become distorted as they pass from person to person, so the information you hear may not be entirely accurate. You also don’t want to gain a reputation as someone who spreads gossip and can’t be trusted.
If a neighbor starts telling you the community gossip, try to change the subject and redirect their attention. If they persist, it’s best to listen quietly without commenting or spreading the rumors. Also, be careful what you say to your neighbors who are notorious for gossiping. If they gossip with you, they’ll probably gossip about you. Avoid making any negative comments about other neighbors so that you don’t end up in a conflict.
5. Take Initiative
Acting as a leader is a great way to develop good relationships with your neighbors and to promote a stronger sense of community. Many community members hesitate to take action when they notice a problem because they don’t want to cause a stir. While you should always be careful and considerate when acting on a problem, you shouldn’t be afraid to take the lead.
There are so many different ways you can take initiative in your neighborhood. If you notice a family in need, you can lend a helping hand and encourage others to do the same. If you see a community-wide issue, consider bringing your neighbors together to find a solution. You can even take initiative by hosting a neighborhood barbecue or holiday party to give community members a chance to bond.
You can do your part to foster a happy and healthy community by making an active effort to be a good neighbor. Get to know your fellow community members, be considerate to all, and take action if someone is in need. This positive attitude is contagious and it can help everyone feel more comfortable and cared for.