Who doesn’t love a list? Truth be known, I sometimes even make lists of my lists. Some might call that crazy. But I say: master list. And to that point and without further ado, behold the list of how to be a good neighbour:
- Say hello
It’s free. Deceptively simple. It has immeasurable value and it will get you everywhere. Well, not literally, but don’t suddenly take an avid interest in your feet whenever you see your neighbour; look them in the eye, turn the corners of your mouth up in a smile and say hello. Many good friendships have started that way. And even if you’re not looking to add to your friend list, we could all use a good neighbour.
- Be first to introduce yourself
Whether you move in, or they do first, doesn’t matter. What matters is being the first one to pop next door to introduce yourself. When we moved last, before we’d even moved in, we were there painting inside and our neighbour popped-by to introduce himself and his son. And that was the beginning of a great friendship as well as cementing the value of this small but great neighbourly gesture. It’s also an opportunity to sticky beak on who is inhabiting the house next door!
- Offer to feed the dog/cat/bird when they go away
Some might say this one’s a thinly veiled selfish act, especially if you do it in the spirit of having the favour reciprocated one day. But, hey, that’s what neighbours do and the point here is about offering … it goes a long way.
- Check the overhang
We talked about this last week – the obligations of being a tree keeper – so no need to bang on here, but needless to say, if your trees overhang your neighbour’s boundary, do the right thing; remove them, before you make them grumpy. Grumpy neighbour equals bad neighbour.
- Ask questions
If you have a dog and you regularly leave the house to go to work, then chances are Fang may miss you. Be sure to ask your neighbours whether they hear your dog barking. No one likes offering this information, but by asking the question, you make it easier for your neighbour to give you an honest answer. And if Fang is barking, take steps to fix it and keep your neighbour informed of the progress (or run the risk of having them think you’re doing nothing). Otherwise we’re back to grumpy neighbour …
- Hang out
It’s true – like family – you can’t choose your neighbours, and they may not be your ‘kind’ of usual friend, but take the opportunity to embrace that diversity. Everyone we meet has the potential to teach us something. Neighbours included. So, by reaching out and inviting them over for drinks/potluck dinner or a barbeque you will all enjoy the benefits of a harmonious neighbourhood.
- Last but most obvious, keep it down
Noisy neighbours are seriously the biggest deal breaker. Not everyone shares your taste in music or love of large gatherings. When attending a lovely daytime gathering with a few friends recently, the neighbour had just acquired a motorised, remote-controlled esky. Yes. It’s true. If a large mozzie and a lawnmower had had a baby, that’s what we were hearing whaling. Not pretty.
So. There you have it; the list of how to be a good neighbour (minus the remote-controlled esky).
With the pace of life these days, many simply don’t know their neighbours like they used to. And that’s a great loss. Good neighbours are a great gift. Chances are you’ll see your neighbours more often than you see your friends, so it’s worth investing some time and effort into making it a solid and harmonious relationship. That way, if or when issues come up, you can deal with them like civilised people.
And that’s what we are, right?