While neighbors might not always show up with freshly baked cookies the second someone new moves in (although we can dream!), it is not a lost art to be a good neighbor in general.
Although it depends on the type of neighborhood as to what the specific social norms are, neighbor nice-ities should be a part of every neighborhood and community. Here is a list of some of our favorite tips, tricks and ideas to being a good neighbor:
Oh, noise. The bain of all apartment complexes, college roommates and neighbors in general. Let’s face it - noise transcends walls and property lines whether we intend for it to or not. To keep your neighbors from being bothered, remember these best practices with noise:
If you are moving your lawn on a weekend morning - spare your neighbors the dreaded 7 a.m. lawnmower wake up call and wait until mid-morning.
As a common courtesy, no need to use your horn in your own driveway (no matter how late someone is!).
Depending on how close you are to your neighbors’ home - even quiet conversations can be a little too close when it gets late at night. Take those late-night conversations inside when the neighbors’ lights go off!
As a general rule, for anything loud like children playing, construction, etc. try to keep the hours from 9 p.m. to 9am on the quiet side. Your neighbors will hopefully do the same!
Pets can act as the perfect glue to your neighborhood … or be the most tense aspect of living on your street. Let’s work to do your part to have a happy, healthy street of pets!
ALWAYS pick up after your pet!
Be mindful of barking. Even if you feel like your dog is the best watchdog in the world, remember that neighbors can likely hear, as well.
If you have the option - try to have your dog relieve themselves in your yard as opposed to going just down the street! A big walk is fine, but no one likes their neighbors walking just far enough to go next door to use the bathroom!
Try your best to train for calmness around other people and pets!
Your “curb appeal” is your presentation and contribution to the neighborhood in the most literal sense - so do your role, and put your best foot forward! Things to think about:
Keep your lawn mowed, and pick up those leaves! Even if you’re more of a “naturalist” think about how you want to keep your street looking!
Make sure trees, limbs, weeds, etc. don’t creep into your neighbors’ yards. No one wants their interaction with neighbors to be about limbs falling in their yard!
Keep up with the exterior walls of your home. Keep a lookout on any peeling paint, needed paint touch-ups, and any mold or other unwanted visitors that may need to be cleaned up.
Remove bikes, skates, and toys from your yard and driveway at the end of the day.
Try to park in your garage, or if nothing else - your driveway. Depending on the neighborhood, some places even have rules surrounding where residents can and can’t park their cars.
While common courtesies, maybe more than any other category, depend on your neighborhood, how social everyone is, etc. there are some small things that ring true for everyone and can make a huge difference!
Respect your neighbors’ space. No matter how friendly a neighborhood is, always let someone show you how integrated they want to be as a neighbor.
Be mindful when borrowing!
Don’t contribute to neighborhood gossip or rumors.
Make sure you know and understand the rules if there is an HOA that you are a part of.
If something needs to be discussed with a neighbor - make sure to speak with THEM and not someone else about it first. Once discussing - try your best to end on good terms. No sense in letting something drag on with those you share a community with!
Not every neighborhood may have the community you wish it would have whether you have just moved in or have been there all your life. Good news? You can try yourself to change things in a positive direction! Ideas for how to create more of a community:
Whether you’re a new or longtimer in the neighborhood, put it upon yourself to introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know!
Even if you aren’t close with someone, always smile and wave when passing.
If you are hosting something larger at your home, invite the neighbors! A simple invite to a gathering you will already have a large group at could mean the world to a neighbor wanting to get to know others better.
Give out your phone number to neighbors and make them feel like they truly can reach out to you!
Organize a CSA with the neighborhood - everyone likes good food!
Drop a card in neighbors’ mailboxes for the holidays.
Organize a low key block party for everyone to get to know each other.