Communities aren’t comprised of buildings, trees, streets, and stores. People are the threads that weave the fabric of society. If you want to build a better community, stop thinking about how you can bring in good restaurants or how to create better programs. Instead, focus on how you can become a better neighbor to those around you.
How to Be a Good Neighbor
A good neighbor is someone who makes a positive contribution to their community. The neighborhood is better because of them. If a good neighbor leaves, the community feels the loss.
Good neighbors come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities. You don’t have to fit some boring mold or wear a fake smile around. It’s not about being happy and cheery – it’s about caring for the people and resources that are within reach.
Not sure where to begin? Here are some simple ways to get started:
1. Take Care Of Your Property
How you maintain and care for your property says something about how you view your community. If you mow your lawn every week, pull weeds, wash your windows, and pressure wash your siding, it communicates to your neighbors that you care. If you let things fall into disrepair, it sends the opposite message.
You don’t need the best lawn on the block, but it’s fairly easy to stay on top of landscaping and upkeep. Do what’s expected of you and then do 10 percent more.
2. Keep Noise To A Minimum
Part of being a good neighbor is not doing things that upset people. This means keeping noise to a minimum.
“If you like to throw parties, try to keep them as low-key as possible. This means you shouldn’t blast music and/or allow people to be outside after normal bedtime hours,” Green Residential advises. “You should also put definitive end times on your parties and keep the guest list to a reasonable limit. It’s also smart to talk to neighbors ahead of time to let them know that you’ll be hosting a party. This simple courtesy should make them more understanding.”
Pets are another major source of noise disturbance. If you have dogs, don’t let them incessantly bark in the backyard. If they’re causing a nuisance, bring them inside.
3. Get Out And Meet People
You can’t be a good neighbor if you stay inside all day and ignore those around you. Take the time to get outside and meet people. Going on walks around the neighborhood is the best way to meet people. If you have a front porch, spending time outside after work is another good avenue for introductions.
When you do meet people, make a point of remembering their names and a couple of key details about them. There’s something powerful about being able to call people by name that makes them feel special.
4. Avoid Excessive Privacy
There’s nothing wrong with having some privacy – particularly in the backyard – but avoid going overboard. Large stone walls, gates, and trees that block visibility into your property all send the wrong signals to others. You want your home to welcome people with open arms.
5. Share Your Stuff
A good neighbor is someone who others know they can come to with a request or need. If you want to bless the people around you, share your stuff. Whether it’s a bag of flour, a piece of lawn equipment, or a meal, generosity goes a long way towards building a community up.
6. Host Block Parties
Block parties were once a staple of thriving communities. And while they may not be as popular as they once were, your neighborhood can still benefit from a community gathering.
Try hosting a block party in a cul-de-sac or other convenient outside gathering area. Make it an open invitation event and ask everyone to bring a dish. This makes it easy, cheap, and family-friendly.
Lead By Example
Don’t wait for someone else to be a good neighbor – go ahead and step up to the plate. Lead by example and expect that others will follow. Kind deeds, gracious interactions, and a helpful spirit go a long way towards bettering a community from the inside out.
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