If you’ve recently moved to a new town or neighborhood, chances are that you may not know who is living within close proximity to your home. Long gone are the days of the past when people felt obligated to take a casserole dish over to the new folks next door. However, building relationships with neighbors can prove to be quite beneficial, especially if you have kids or live on your own. It’s always nice to have an extra set of caring eyes watching out for you and your loved ones. Whether you’re the newbie in town or are living next to the newbie, here are some ways to start the foundation of a great relationship with your neighbors.
1. Introduce yourself. While many don’t take a delicious food item over with them to meet new neighbors these days, a small treat does leave a lasting impression upon the new addition to the neighborhood.
2. Be a social butterfly. If your neighborhood has block parties, yard sales, barbeques, or various other events during the year, attend them. The more events you attend, the more people you will meet. The more people you meet, the more connections you will make.
3. Consider starting a community group. Whether it’s a neighborhood watch team, carpooling schedule, babysitting schedule, or even a neighborhood sports team for recreational fun, create something members of your neighborhood will want to join.
4. Lend a helping hand. If your neighbors have recently experienced a break-in, fire, or various other troubling event, let them know you care and ask what you can do to help. Knowing they live amongst people who truly care about them will ease their stress and worries. If you have elderly neighbors, offer to help them cut their grass or carry their groceries inside. Live near someone who is disabled? Offer to help clean their yards, take out their trash, or bring them their newspaper. Kindness is a trait that can always be afforded to pass on.
5. Be someone of your word. If you make a promise, go through with it. If you borrowed something, return it in the same condition it was in before you borrowed it. Establishing trust with your neighbors is extremely important to building a lasting relationship.
6. If conflict arises, be mature and respectful. Sometimes accidents happen, such as a tree falling into your yard, your mailbox gets run into, etc. If a problem with a neighbor arises, remain calm and respectful. Talk about the problem, don’t yell or accuse. Keep the doors of communication open and listen to what they have to say. Work on finding a solution you both are happy with so the problem becomes resolved in a way that won’t make things awkward in the future.
7. Consider sharing tools with others. In regards to number 3, you could create a group for the guys on the block where you all share your tools with each other; this saves money, as it will prevent everyone from buying the same tool to get the job done. Handing out your tools is another way to exercise trust and lend a helping hand.
8. If your neighbor is away, keep your eyes on their home. Neighborhood watch teams are an excellent source of security, especially if you have to go out of town for a few days or longer. If you notice a car in their driveway while they’re gone that you don’t recognize, contact them just to be safe.
9. Start a community project. Perhaps some of you are interested in planting trees, picking up trash, starting a neighborhood garden full of fresh produce, etc. – whatever the preference, a group working towards a common passion is capable of building strong friendships within your neighborhood.
10. Don’t be a nuisance. Keep your trash cans out of the way of others, especially out of their driveway or near their property. Don’t block their cars in or take their designated parking space on the street. Don’t allow pets onto their lawn and don’t let your own lawn look like an eyesore compared to theirs.