Neighbors are the heart of a community. And while most of us have good neighborly intentions, life tends to happen, schedules get packed, and before you know it, you don’t even know your neighbors’ names. If you feel like you could be a better neighbor, you’re in luck! Here’s how to be a good neighbor and a better part of the community where you live.
1. Share Contact Information
Share your contact information with your neighbors, and make sure they have yours, too. You never know when you might need their help, whether it is for a cup of sugar or some kind of emergency.
2. Know Their Birthdays
For your closest neighbors, find out birthdays and add them to your calendar. A thoughtful text or card wishing them a happy day is a simple gesture that could go a long way.
3. Send Treats Just Because
Holidays are great occasions to treat your neighbors, but there doesn’t necessarily need to be a reason to surprise them. The next time you bake a batch of cookies or a pan of brownies, set a few aside to take to your neighbors. This could show that you’re thinking of them even if your schedule doesn’t allow for much “hang out” time.
4. Offer To Water Plants/Get Mail When They Travel
It can be difficult for people to ask for help even if the chore is as light as watering a plant. Before they have to ask, offer up a helping hand to your neighbor when they mention travel plans. Chances are, they’ll do the same for you.
5. Invite Them To Parties
If you’re hosting an event or party at your house and you anticipate additional vehicles or noise, be sure to give your neighbors a heads up, or better yet, an invite. They’re far less likely to be annoyed by the inconvenience if they’re part of the action or given proper warning.
6. Respect Boundaries With Pets
Some people are particular about their lawns, so consider playing it safe and assuming that your neighbors fall into that category. Try not to let your pets wander across property lines, and if you take them on walks, be sure to always pick up after them.
7. Surprise Them With Kindness
It’s a nice gesture to surprise your neighbors with an act of kindness every so often. Consider mowing their lawn on a hot day or shoveling their driveway in the winter — especially if you’re already tending to your own. If your neighbors are older or have small children, these simple acts will especially go a long way.
8. Exchange Keys
If you’re comfortable with it, consider giving your neighbors a spare key to your home to use in case of an emergency. You never know if you might need something checked on while you’re away, or when you might have to leave home quickly. Ensuring that someone has a key (or knows where to find one) can eliminate some worry.
Communication is an essential part of being a good neighbor. If you’re having construction work done to your house or yard, let your neighbors know. If guests are staying with you for an extended amount of time or you plan to travel for the summer, share those details with your neighbors to avoid questions or confrontations later.
10. If Issues Arise, Address Them In Person
Over time, it’s likely that you’ll have some sort of issue with one of your neighbors. Tone and words can easily be misconstrued over text messages or emails, so consider making an effort to talk with your neighbors face-to-face when problems come up.