By Samantha Nicole Alarilla
Everyone wants to be a good neighbor. But what does a good neighbor entail? Everyone would have their own definitions of being one. To some, it might mean generally staying out of their neighbor’s business except for a quick wave and a polite hello when they run into them. To others, it might mean lending them supplies or offering to drive their kids to school or after-school practices on particularly busy days.
There’s no wrong way to be a good neighbor — as long as, well, what you’re doing is good to all parties involved — but if you really don’t know where or how to start, we’ve gathered up the basics for you:
Make an effort to genuinely get to know your neighbors and let them know that you can always be approached if they need help or if they just want to come over to catch up over coffee. Welcome new neighbors and offer to show them around the neighborhood. Make sure to include important points like general rules around the area and useful things such as trash pick-up schedules or carpool services. If you’re the new guy, introduce yourself to the neighborhood and let them give you a tour if they offer to. Doing all of this immediately lays the foundation for a good relationship with your neighbors.
Consider your neighbor’s lifestyle.
If you know your neighbor works night shifts and only gets rest in the day, perhaps you can keep your mornings as quiet and peaceful as possible. If your neighbor has very young children, then you know quiet evenings are very important to them. Know your neighbor’s lifestyle and schedules and be considerate of them to remedy problems before they even start. Don’t forget to give them the same information so that they can be more considerate towards you as well.
This is particularly for those living in condominiums or apartments because most units have shared walls and thin ceilings. The key is to minimize the noise you make. If you know that loud sounds can be heard in the unit below you, avoid stomping, jumping, or dragging heavy things across the floor. Don’t put TV sets or speakers near shared walls but if it can’t be helped, keep the volume down. If you’re going to be having renovations in your home inform your neighbors ahead of time and work together to make arrangements so that these renovations won’t be an inconvenience to anyone’s schedule.
Keep your pets in check.
We all know that our fluffy friends can get a little overexcited at times, and not everyone is very enthusiastic about them. Keep your dogs on a leash if they’re outside and don’t forget to clean up after thema when you take them on walks around the neighborhood. If you run into your neighbor’s dogs while on these walks, make sure to control them when their curious sniffing and play fighting gets a little too violent.
It is a universal annoyance when people park in places that aren’t meant to be parked at like in front of gates or in someone else’s designated parking space. Don’t be that guy and park only where you’re supposed to! If you’re unsure of where to go, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you think asking for help is an inconvenience, remember that it’s a bigger one when your neighbor can’t get out of their garage because your car is blocking their driveway.
Don’t let your waste get to your neighbors!
Have a yard? Make sure to mow it regularly to get rid of weeds that might spread and grow in your neighbor’s yard as well. Like hosting barbecues in said yard? Position yourself in such a way that family next-door won’t be coughing and choking in the smoke. It’s trash day? Dispose of your trash properly. Remember, no waste of yours should end up on your neighbor’s property.
And of course, keep in touch.
Sometimes the closest of life-long friends started out as neighbors. So make an effort to establish genuine relationships between your neighbors. Check in on them every once in a while to make sure they’re doing alright, tell each other stories over coffee and tea, offer to do errands for them, and allow them to do errands for you. Remember, these are people you’ll be living with for a considerable amount of time, so you might as well enjoy each other’s company and make life a little more meaningful together.