3 Tips for Being a Great Neighbor

How would you define a good neighbor? Is it someone you enjoy socializing with or someone you trust to watch over your home when you aren’t there? Sometimes you have to start by BEING a good neighbor in order to HAVE good neighbors. While you don’t have to be best friends with your neighbors, it certainly helps when the people who live around you are people you can still communicate with and feel safe around. Do you have what it takes to be a great neighbor, too?

Here are 3 Tips on How to be a Great Neighbor, No Matter Where You Live:

  1. Establish and maintain proper boundaries: No one likes their personal space invaded, and everyone has a different concept of what those boundaries might be.  While it might sound somewhat cold-hearted to do, setting up boundaries is essential if you want people to know what you expect, or what you can expect from them.  When both sides are acknowledged and feel appreciated, it paves the way for less misunderstanding and tension and benefits everyone in the long run.  There are physical boundaries of your home and your yard, of course, but also figurative ones.  This is especially important to follow when you or your neighbor has young children. Teach your children all about respecting people’s privacy, and being mindful of other people’s preferences so that you don’t unintentionally offend anyone by being loud, rude, or obnoxious.  At the same time, if the sides are reversed, and your neighbors are the ones with children, they will appreciate knowing what your preferences might be so that they don’t get things off on the wrong foot.  But all that aside, sometimes no matter if you have a family of your own or not, exercising grace and patience is needed too – if you want to continue living side-by-side.
  1. Find ways to help one another: Meeting new neighbors is not unlike making new friends at school or at work.  Since you don’t know each other well if at all to start out with, the quickest way to become friends is by spending time together and finding ways to serve one another.  It can be with bringing the neighbor’s newspaper to his door, helping take in groceries, sharing a sweet after-dinner or a holiday treat, walking the dog, or inviting your neighbor(s) to your yard for a barbecue or pool party.  At the very least, you can attend your community’s planned events to meet your neighbors in greater numbers, where you are all participating in some way on your neighborhood’s behalf.
  2. Earn trust: How you trust others says a lot about how trustworthy you are.  If you are skeptical of their intentions, how willing are you to let others trust you?  You might be a shy person, but it doesn’t mean you have to be gullible OR avoid your neighbors altogether.  You can be friendly in some way.  Communication is key here because you set the tone for how your relationships go with your neighbors by how you perceive those around you.

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