Seeing people bringing a tall ladder or electricity tool from a neighbor’s home to theirs is a frequent sight in my block. In the evenings a lot of us sit outside on the front porch relaxing, and catch up with others who walk by with their dogs or are just out for a night stroll. When our chickens escaped into a neighbor’s yard, not only weren’t mad, but they helped me around the cows up and toss them back over the fence.
Getting along (or maybe not getting along) with neighbors can make a massive impact on our daily lives and how we feel about our home and neighborhood. Whether you live in the city, the country or somewhere in between, studying the art of being neighborly is something which may help us all. Here are eight strategies to browse the ways of being a good neighbor. When you are done reading, go pour yourself something yummy to drink and sit on the porch for a spell.
1. Be friendly. If you are new to the neighborhood, a friendly smile and hello can go a long way toward creating rapport with neighbors. Introduce yourself when you run into a neighbor you have not met yet. And if you’ve been there awhile and somebody new has just moved in, a small gift, like home-baked goods (or a treat from a popular local shop), is a considerate approach to welcome him or her.
Mindful Designs, Inc..
2. Be considerate about sound. As a rule, keep audio and loud outdoor conversations down after 9 p.m., and try to not start up the power tools or leaf blower before 8 or 9 a.m.. If you’re arranging a party, try to let your neighbors know in advance — and if you enjoy throwing frequent parties, it is not a bad idea to invite your neighbors!
If it is your neighbors who are being too dumb, your first step must be a polite knock on the door. Inform them without sounding mad, that you understand they’re having a great time, have friends seeing, but it is getting too loud for you, and could they turn the music down or take the party indoors after a time you feel is appropriate? Be sure to thank them whenever they do what you’ve asked.
Daleet Spector Design
3. Deal with difficulties in person. As when your neighbours are being too noisy, any other problem ought to be addressed promptly and in person. It might seem easier to write a notice or dash off an email, but written complaints may seem more mean spirited than you planned, and might shut down communication with that neighbor later on. Give your neighbor an opportunity to listen to what you need to state in a face-to-face chat, then listen to his or her side as well.
Remember your neighbor is probably not going anywhere, so even if you do not especially like him or her, then it’s in your interest to find a way to get through it together.
On a related note, don’t gossip about neighbors! It could feel like maturing to whine about shared problems, but gossiping generally only deteriorates relationships.
4. Be sensible about pets. This may be a big point of controversy among neighbors, therefore try to tread lightly whether you’re the pet owner or the individual being bothered by a neighbor’s pets. If something occurs once or twice — loud barking, poop on your lawn etc. — take a deep breath (well, possibly step away from the poop first …) and let it move. When there is an ongoing problem, talk it straight with your neighbor. Even if you’re upset, try to think about something kind to say about your neighbor’s pet prior to launching into the criticism part of your talk.
For pet owners, even if a neighbor approaches you with a complaint regarding your critters, do your best to listen to and acknowledge their feelings. Assure them you can do what you could to remedy the situation — scoop the litter, keep your puppy on a leash, then fix the fence and pay for training if needed.
If you have more unusual pets, like chickens, it’s wise to contact neighbors early to inform and educate them about their new animal neighbors, and assure them you’re taking steps to care for the animals properly so that they won’t be an issue — which would also likely be a good time to hand over a basket of fresh eggs! And always let neighbors know that they could come to you if your pets are being a nuisance.
Raise Chickens With No Ruffling Feathers
Hamilton Snowber Architects
5. Respect common spaces and shared walls. Keep shared hallways, entrances, and common rooms on your apartment or condominium clear of personal belongings. Even though space may be tight within your unit, it is important to get another location for that stroller or bike — crowded common regions can become a fire hazard, or at least a tripping hazard.
If you share partitions (or a ceiling or floor) with neighbors, then try to keep noise down to a sensible level all of the time, not simply late in the evening. If you live upstairs, think about using area rugs over hard flooring to muffle the sound of footsteps — a frequent complaint among downstairs neighbors.
Outdoor spaces in apartment buildings and condos are usually fairly close together, so know about your drifting grill smoke — gas grills might be best in tight quarters. If you smoke, be respectful by not smoking at which others may acquire secondhand smoke.
Westover Landscape Design, Inc..
6. Maintain your front yard tidy. There is absolutely not any need to get into a contest with neighbors over who has the greenest lawn, but maintaining a basic level of tidiness is going to be appreciated by all. Set your garbage and recycling cans back promptly as soon as they’ve been accumulated, keep grass mowed and weeds pulled, and try to avoid storing too many possessions on your porch or in the driveway.
7. Follow neighborhood parking manners. Always try to park in front of your house if possible, and never block neighbors’ driveways. In certain neighborhoods with narrow roads, it’s the custom for all to park on just 1 aspect — even if it is not an official guideline, it’s best to follow suit.
Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design
8. Build community. Building good relationships with neighbors often comes down to the little things. If your garden generates a bumper crop of berries, bring a basket next door to discuss. Trade tools and abilities. Be generous with smiles and be willing to give a hand if it is needed. And you don’t need to be part of a neighborhood watch to help keep your neighborhood feeling somewhat safer — simply knowing your neighbors and occasionally chatting together may go a very long way. Let your immediate neighbors understand if you are going to be out of town, and whether you will be having anyone stay at your house while you’re gone.
If your neighborhood doesn’t already have any events, think about organizing one. Annual events like a block party, a spacious house or a neighborhood yard sale are a great way to build a feeling of community and get to know your neighbors.
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More: 15 Ways To Make Your Neighborhood Better