How To Be a Good Neighbor: 5 Simple Ideas

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We’ve all been there: Your upstairs neighbor seems to be dragging bricks across the floor, jumping on a trampoline, or singing in the shower like they’re in the front row of Coachella.

While it’s fun to poke the ceiling with a broom or tweet a passive aggressive note, what would be even better is if we all worked just a little more to be good neighbors. 

A 2018 Pew Research study found that roughly a quarter of American adults under 30 didn’t know any of their neighbors. It got us wondering: What would those numbers look like if we just reached out a nonjudgmental hand? 

Neighborhoods are fertile ground for deep, rich communities, where people can count on one another, delight in their shared humanity, and add meaning to what might seem like just another residential street. 

There are loads of discriminatory housing practices in the U.S. that keep diverse communities from true connection and opportunity, but your willingness to trust and connect may just be a catalyst for change in your corner of the world. 

In the book The Little Book of Lykke: The Danish Search for the World’s Happiest People, author Meik Wiking details how the art of togetherness impacts lifelong satisfaction and health, quoting a Danish proverb: “It is better to have a good neighbor than a distant friend.”

Plus, being a good neighbor is exactly what Mister Rogers would want us to do.

Here’s how you can start making it a beautiful day in your neighborhood: 

How To Be a Good Neighbor

1. Introduce yourself (and even create a neighborhood directory)

Whether it’s a note in a mailbox, a hand-delivered treat, or a simple shout across the yard, introducing yourself to your neighbors is the first step.

Go even further and create a directory with contact information and special skills! (You can even use the excuse of it being “in case of emergencies” if you’re nervous to ask). 

2. Respect the rules of community living

The golden rule of community: be kind. It’s important to share the same courtesies, like keeping quiet hours or shared laundry room expectations. If there is a conflict, learn to resolve it in a restorative, helpful way (ahem, don’t call the cops).

3. Set up systems to share & support 

Little free libraries, tool lending systems, communal pantries, or reliable child care go a long way. What can you implement in your area? 

4. Go the extra mile to connect

Start a book club, a meal train rotation, margarita nights on your front porch, an intramural soccer group, outdoor play hours, or just a regular movie night. Sharing space allows neighbors to engage and trust one another. Plus, it’s just fun!

5. Celebrate and delight in your community

Whether it’s a block party, picnic, trash cleanup, or holiday event, find time to delight in and take care of your community; not just when you’re in desperate need of a babysitter. 

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A version of this article was first published in the Goodnewspaper — Good Good Good’s monthly print newspaper filled with good news and ways to make a difference.

You can also find more good news in the Goodnewsletter — the free daily email filled with reasons to feel hopeful.

Article Details

November 18, 2022 7:49 PM
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