Get to Know the Neighbors

They say ‘no man is an island,’ and when it comes to building your community, it’s definitely true. Whether in friendship or foul weather, knowing your neighbors is the key to a network of fun and practical relationships.

How to meet the neighbors
Meeting your neighbors isn’t always easy, especially if you all work away from home. Be sure to take the opportunities you have and make use of them. Whether you’re walking the dog, trimming the hedges or taking out the garbage, say hello to your neighbors who are out and about. It only takes a few seconds to exchange names and establish the beginnings of a new connection.

Becoming visible
When you get to know those who live around you, you become visible and vital — not just another closed door with a question mark behind it. You go from being “the person next door” to “my neighbor” to those living near you. Knowing your neighbors’ names, occupations and families makes you more than just someone to occasionally nod to when you pass each other on the street — you’re connected! And with that connection comes a host of ways to enjoy each other’s company — and to get and give help when it’s needed.

Both a borrower and a lender be
Interacting with your neighbors also opens the door to sharing resources. You don’t need a pressure washer if you can borrow the one from the Jones family. Similarly, you can loan them your lawnmower if theirs breaks down. Of course, you all save money when you can share more expensive equipment, but you can benefit from the small gestures too, such as an egg here or cup of sugar there.

Increase your safety
Talking to your neighbors is a great way to keep up with all kinds of neighborhood information. In fact, joining or organizing a Neighborhood Watch is an excellent way to get to know those around you. When you know your neighbors you also have people who can watch your house and get in your mail while you’re gone. And you, of course, get to do the same for them.

Stay organized
Whether you want to start a community garden or stay abreast of plans that might affect your neighborhood, knowing people around you is the one sure way to organize efforts. It could start with a flyer or a call for a meeting via your Neighborhood Watch group, but the more neighbors in your personal network, the faster you can bring people together around important issues.

Like your family, you can’t choose your neighbors, but you can create a meaningful connection with them. Life is easier and more satisfying when you have people around you that you can count on and who know will return the favor. It just takes a few folks!