Tips To Being the Best Neighbor
Now that we have established the four traits to being an ideal neighbor, let’s explore how to act on these behaviors — trust, being quiet, friendly and respectful.
“Good fences make good neighbours.” - Robert Frost
Tips for meeting new neighbors
- Make a formal introduction: Getting to know your neighbor is the key to developing a trusting relationship. When making a neighbor or family feel welcome, you are establishing a safe and more open communication between you and that neighbor. After a few days of moving in, consider bringing them a welcome gift, such as a treat (be considerate of allergies) or a plant for their home.
- What to do when your neighbor seems shy: Being the new kid on the block isn’t always easy. Understand that there will be times when a new neighbor may not be as open to interacting with someone they don’t know. In this situation, consider bringing a few other neighbors to help encourage more conversation and reduce any awkwardness.
- What to do when your neighbor isn’t open to conversation: If you find that your new neighbor is not open to conversation, keep your meeting brief and to the point. This will help keep your neighbor from feeling uncomfortable or pressured to have a conversation. If they suggest that it is not a good time to talk, wish them a quick and warm welcome — advise them that you are more than happy to come back another day or at a time that works best for them.
- Give your neighbor some time after a formal introduction: Moving into a new home can be stressful. After making a formal introduction, be respectful of your neighbors time — try not to invade their space as they are transitioning into their new home. They most likely have a lot on their plate and are not able to formally entertain guests while setting up their home. Before making a second visit, consider asking your neighbor about a good time to come back and visit. As another option, invite them to your home so that they don’t feel pressured or rushed.
- Let them do the talking: As a new neighbor they may have a lot on their mind with moving into a new home. When talking to your neighbor, allow them time to talk and be respectful of their time — they could be extremely busy or unavailable to chat. Offer to answer any questions that they may have about the neighborhood or HOA community.
- Exchange information: Providing your neighbor with your information is a great way to keep in contact and build open communication. If you see that your neighbor has young children, provide them with a list of contacts for a local babysitter or car pool. If available, provide them with your HOA neighborhood watch information that works as a group of community members dedicated to keeping the neighborhood safe.
- HOA meetings: Offer to go to their first HOA meeting with them. As a new HOA member, they may have a lot of questions about their homeowners association. Provide your new neighbor with a list of current HOA community organizations and an updated calendar of meetings that they can attend.
“A good neighbor is a fellow who smiles at you over the back fence, but doesn’t
climb over it. ” - Arthur Baer
Tips for current neighbors
- Have your neighbors best interests at heart: When it comes to caring for your home, trust is everything. If in the situation your neighbor asks you to watch their home while away, be sure that they know you have their best interests at heart. Make the effort to check in with your neighbor, so that it gives them a sense of security that their home is in good hands. Take some time to check that their doors are locked, or perhaps see if there are any minor yard issues. For example: watering the plants or raking the leaves. If you sense something suspicious at their home, make sure to contact your neighbor or the police in an extreme situation.
- Lend a hand to those more at risk: During COVID-19 it is important to take our elderly and disabled communities into high consideration. As a suggestion, offer your services to an elderly or disabled neighbor that may be immobile or lack transportation. For example: offer to deliver groceries, clear snow or ice from the driveway, rake leaves, or offer to throw the trash out.
- Be a resource: Create a list of community members that may be interested in being a part of a community resource group that provides tools available to any nearby neighbor. For example: a saw, hammer, shovel, or even ladder are all acceptable tools.
- Be active in your community: Being active in your community helps build trust and friendly relationships over time. For example: yard sales, community food and clothes drive, block parties and holiday events are all great ways to stay active in your HOA community. As you continue to participate, your neighbors and community will see that you have their best interests at heart.
- Keep your word: No one desires to have a neighbor that says one thing when they really mean another. Keeping your word is a large part of building trust. If you offer to lend a hand, make sure to follow through with your promise. When borrowing something from your neighbor, always return it right away or provide them with a date that you expect to have it back to them.
- Be respectful of noise after hours: As a respectful neighbor, make sure to keep noise levels to a reasonable volume, especially during the evening. When hosting large parties, be sure to inform your neighbor when the party plans to start and end. Provide them with your direct contact number so that they can call you if the noise becomes too disrupting. This will allow them to see that you are more than willing to cooperate and be respectful of their privacy. As an HOA community member, make sure to reference your community guidelines or board of directors about any noise regulations in regard to having large parties or group gatherings.
The Good Neighbor Recap
1. Good neighbors are friendly.
- Friendly neighbors are welcoming to new residents. They introduce themselves, maintain relationships, and are approachable. They also enjoy being social in their community and encourage others to do so as well.
2. Good neighbors are helpful.
- Helpful neighbors are always there to lend a hand. They are considerate of others and offer their services to help those in need. A helpful neighbor is also available to help a new or current neighbor with their kids, day-to-day tasks or home.
3. Good neighbors are trusting.
- Trusting neighbors have their neighbors best interests at heart. They treat their neighbors home and family as if it was their own. Trusting neighbors also keep their word and follow through when asked to do something.
4. Good neighbors are respectful.
- Respectful neighbors understand boundaries and are respectful of their neighbors time and space. They are also respectful of those that may not like a lot of interaction and prefer to communicate on an as needed basis. Respectful neighbors are also considerate of their neighbors property.
5. Good neighbors are considerate of noise.
- Neighbors that act responsibly to noise levels is a large part of building a respectful relationship. They are accommodating and willing to adjust noise levels when their neighbor may feel disturbed or uncomfortable.
Interested in a good read? This Story About a Broken Fence Will Change the Way You See Your Neighbors tells the story of two neighbors and the importance of being a respectful neighbor.