Should we really care so much about neighbors? Sharing pieces of everyday life with those around you sounds like a nice idea, but is it really necessary? Lots of us would love to have more fulfilling relationships with our neighbors, but is it worth the time and effort that those entail?
The answer to these questions is a resounding yes. Connecting with neighbors has an outsize impact on your physical and mental health. Research has shown that creating community with those who live near you creates many positive benefits. Mental clarity, a reduction in depression, and a positive outlook on life are just a few of those perks.
No matter where you live, neighbors are a fact of life…and they leave an impact no matter what. Organizations like Opportunity Insights even provide data showing that kids are shaped by the neighborhoods where they grow up – in both positive and negative ways. A better neighborhood increases the likelihood of good outcomes for all the kids who share it.
Let’s explore some of the deeper reasons behind these benefits…and focus on some concrete strategies to being a better neighbor.
Why Neighbors are Good
Contact with neighbors – even light, casual chit chat – can increase your sense of social support and well-being. During COVID lockdowns, many of us experienced the loss of simple, daily interactions, and our mental health suffered as a result.
Shared experience creates a bond, and neighbors can become a safety net in a society that often doesn’t prioritize care for neighborhoods equitably. It’s your neighbors who can keep an eye on your house, who’ll notice when you’ve been too sick to shovel the driveway, and who can check on you when they haven’t seen you outside.
Neighbors offer an incredible benefit – they know exactly where you’re coming from. Shared experience of the unique texture of your life can offer solidarity and insight.
Ways YOU Can Be a Good Neighbor
- Be friendly. All it takes is a wave! Take the time to say hello, make introductions, and continue engaging in small talk. It pays off!
- Be considerate and respectful. Whether you’re mowing your grass or deciding whether to put up holiday lights, take your neighbors’ experience into account. Going the extra mile to consider their feelings is truly appreciated.
- Take time for kindness. Got some extra cookies or leftover lasagna? Drop it off at a neighbor’s front door! Small gestures show that you care – and that you’re prioritizing your relationship.
- Pay attention. Notice the small things. Get to know the names of your neighbor’s pets and which cars are usually in the driveway. When things change, ask questions. Check in on their quality of life.
Keep At It!
If you’re working to improve relationships with your neighbors and strengthen your community, keep going! Though it can sometimes feel daunting, it’s worth all the effort. Once you’ve established a thriving neighborhood alongside your fellow residents, you’ll enjoy it for years to come.
To start a conversation about what that could look like in your neighborhood, click here to book a call with us!