Our “backdoor” neighbor sent a letter this week to introduce or reintroduce herself to those in the neighborhood. In her letter, Julie said that she’d made a New Years’ Resolution to be a better neighbor and this was part of her resolution. After a brief introduction Julie provided her contact information – phone number and email address – and invited neighbors to feel free to call on her for help.
I responded to her letter with an email and included our phone number, something you wouldn’t have needed to do a few years ago. Her letter made me realize that the phone book is no longer very useful for finding numbers to contact neighbors. And while we’ve exchanged cell phone numbers with several neighbors, there are others I couldn’t contact in case of an emergency. So Julie’s letter reminded me to make a better effort to be a good neighbor.
Here are some tips on how to be a better neighbor:
- Introduce yourself. If you don’t know your neighbors, look for opportunities to introduce yourself and exchange phone numbers and email addresses so you know how to contact one another should the need arise.
- Communicate with your neighbors. Give them a heads up if you hear any neighborhood news. Let them know you’re planning a yard sale or a party so they can be prepared for the onslaught of cars. Talk to the old-timers in the neighborhood; you can learn a lot about your community.
- Watch out for your neighbor’s welfare – keep a watchful eye and be a caring person. Collect newspapers stacking up when your neighbor is out of town or return their trash cans that blow down the street. Let your neighbor know you’ve got their back.
- Maintain your home. Don’t let the yard get overgrown or piles of leaves stack up. Keep your garage door closed. Make repairs. Trim shrubs and trees. Put your trash out on the right day and bring in the cans or bins at the end of the day and don’t leave toys, newspapers, flyers, or other “stuff” in your yard.
- Control your dog. No one wants to hear your dog bark at all hours and if you walk your dog in the neighborhood, clean up the mess your pet leaves in your neighbors’ yards.
- Buy lemonade. When you see children in your neighborhood manning a lemonade stand, buy! It doesn’t matter if you want the lemonade. Help the kids have some fun.
- Be a good driver.
- If someone needs help, lend a hand. Welcome those who are newcomers and support those experiencing times of change.
- Be informed about community issues and vote. Whether the issues involve a homeowners association or city and county government, it’s important to stay informed about the issues and weigh in for the benefit of your neighborhood.
- Keep it down. This is especially important if you live in an apartment or condo, remember you share common walls.
Smile, socialize, and contribute to the security of the community…it’s worth the effort to be a good neighbor.