A good neighbor can become like family. Good neighbors can be trusted to keep an extra key, water your plants, watch your home and your pets while you’re on vacation, and call or text you if they see anything you should be aware of, such as that time you left your garage door open when pulling out in a rush.
On the other hand, conflict with a close neighbor can leave a homeowner feeling drained and frustrated. We’ve all heard those stories and wondered how a person thought that leaving their broken down truck parked directly in front of your house for 6 months was acceptable behavior. Or the neighbor who stopped mowing his lawn or the one who tried to have her property be declared a bird sanctuary, just when you put a for sale sign up.
The key to connecting with your neighbors, like so many things in life,
is a proactive approach.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, knock on the neighbors’ doors or approach them when they’re outside and find out how they like the neighborhood. Oftentimes people will be surprisingly candid about both the positive and negative aspects of a community (in their opinion).
Introduce yourself to the neighbors when you first move into a new house, before a conflict arises. Ask questions about them and listen to their responses. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, find out some of their favorite spots to eat and shop.
If you’re already established in a neighborhood, take the time to walk two houses down and meet the family that just moved in. Extend a welcome and find out where they moved from.
The key is starting a healthy relationship with your neighbors is to have your first interaction be conflict free. Allow your first impression to be positive instead of a plea for them to control their playful puppy who constantly leaves surprises in your yard.
Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”