We’ve all seen or heard about those episodes from ‘The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door’ that make your skin crawl. It’s clear that having a negative relationship with your neighbours can make your home life absolute hell. As a contrast, a positive relationship with those who you share a wall or fence with can be incredibly powerful.
Busy city lifestyles tend to create a culture where it’s almost awkward to bump into your neighbour (whose firstname you’ve never bothered to learn). But a positive relationship with your neighbours is incredibly beneficial. Positive neighbours are a household to turn to in a time of need, a source of local information, not to mention a way to ensure the local community is a friendlier, safer and nicer place to live.
So if you haven’t established any kind of relationship with your fellow local humans, here’s a few steps on how to be a good neighbour…without coming across creepy!
We all have a name, and sharing it is a sure way to quickly transition from stranger to friendly neighbour. It instantly creates a much more approachable environment for you to reach out to each other in times of need and it’s lovely to be able to greet each other personally if you bump into each other.
If they’re a new neighbour, share some information about the area. Share great local places to eat, as well as nearby police stations, post offices, bus stops and garbage days. If your apartment block, street or suburb uses a group within Safeland, let them know so they can join it. If you’re the one new to the area, seek these pieces of information from your neighbours to make yourself feel safe in your new area.
Maybe your new neighbour works nights, which means mornings may no longer be an appropriate time to blast Radiohead from your kitchen window. Perhaps they’re new parents or they’re older, which means they may wish for their nights to be quiet. Obviously, everyone has a right to live the way to want, but working together to ensure everyone feels comfortable in their own home is integral to a happy home life.
Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior around your neighbours’ property. You can post any suspicious behavior into Safeland, either publically or to a specific local group, so others can help out if you feel the situation could potentially be criminal. Your neighbour will surely return the favour for you, keeping your property safer and more secure, too.
City folk are only too aware of how thin shared walls or ceilings are in apartment blocks or terraced houses. Be mindful where you place loud appliances and consider investing in carpet or rugs if you live above someone and have a love for stiletto heels.
Be respectful of your neighbours by keeping your pets under control and cleaning up after them. As breathtakingly cute as little Grover is, he isn’t your neighbours’ responsibility and it’s likely their love for Grover (and you) will start to decrease if their lives are disrupted by him. If your neighbours have a pet, let them know of any local Missing Dogs/Cats groups in Safeland, in case they ever need to use them.
When parking your vehicle, be sure not to block anyone’s access, take someone else’s spot or park in a way that forces them have to pull out of a tight spot. Also, be wary of your noise when driving around your parking space late at night or early in the morning – revving engines or honking horns is always unnecessary at 6am!
No matter how close you are with your neighbours, giving them a heads up about a shindig at yours will be greatly appreciated. Let them know how many people you expect and how long you expect it to go. Give them a phone number to use to contact you if things getting too rowdy. If you’re having a BBQ outside, be sure to position the BBQ so smoke wafting over to their yard is minimized. Give them the heads up at least a day before, too, just in case they have washing drying outside – no one likes a smoky smelling blouse!
If you have to put bins out for collection, ensure they’re out on the correct day and return them to your property soon after they’re emptied. If you accidentally miss the pickup, ensure your garbage is contained on your property. Garbage attracts vermin and foxes that can rummage through bins and create a huge mess. Wash your bins if they begin to smell. Why not look out for your neighbours too, if you think they may have forgotten to put their bins out that morning?
Whether it’s just a first name basis, or a relationship where you’re inviting each other around for dinner – neighbours are a part of your community, playing an important role within the local society you’ve chosen to live in. Get to know them and work together to keep your neighbourhood friendly and active.
Together, you can be part of the community movement to create a stronger, safer society!
~ Team Safeland