Are you friendly with your neighbors? Do you even know who they are? There was once a time when folks commonly spent their evenings out on the porch, swapping stories and recipes across the fence. These days it’s almost uncommon to even know who lives next door.
Today is actually Good Neighbor Day, encouraging Americans to be, well…. good neighbors. But what does that mean? It means at least being respectful and considerate of the folks in your neighborhood. The best neighbors are the ones who are also thoughtful.
Need some inspiration?
Start out by talking to people. Say hello, ask how they are or just wave from a distance. If they’re new to the neighborhood, stop by and introduce yourself.
Once you know who they are consider doing something a little extra. Try organizing a neighborhood event like a yard sale, Christmas party, walking group or block party.
Take a look around and consider the folks around you. Is there a single mom who seems to be struggling? Invite her kids over for a play date so she can run to the store or finish chores. Is your neighbor elderly? Take their paper up to the house on bad weather days or offer to pick up something at the store when you go. Maybe they are a widower or a shut-in? Take them a home cooked meal once in a while. They might be really grateful for those leftovers you were about to throw in the fridge.
Keep an eye out for those who are sick or struggling. Take them soup or check in on them just to say hi and make sure they’re ok.
If the power goes out, make sure your neighbor has a way to stay warm or to cook until the electric comes back.
Want to make friends with someone or maybe just say thanks for being a good neighbor? Take them an unexpected gift. It need not be expensive – flowers from your garden or fresh cookies from the oven come to mind.
At minimum, being a good neighbor means respecting the people around you. Keep the noise down, especially between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. No mowing, no hammering, no loud music when folks might be trying to sleep or just enjoy a quiet morning at home.
Respect their space. Don’t trespass or spy, gossip or meddle in their affairs. Be responsible for your pets, cleaning up after them and keeping them off your neighbor’s lawn.
Keep your home neat and well maintained. Keep your grass cut and trash picked up from your yard. Keep your sidewalk clean of snow, bicycles and other items that might make it difficult to walk. Shoveling your own sidewalk? Take a few minutes to do theirs as well.
Do you have a good neighbor? We would love to hear about them! Tell us about your good neighbor or about ways you try to be a good neighbor in the comments section below.