It's important to cultivate good relationships with your neighbors. Neighbors can be an excellent source of support and friendship, as well as a sounding board for ideas. These relationships take time and effort, but they are worth it in the end. It may take some creativity to cultivate these relationships, but it will be worth the effort in the end.
Here are some simple strategies to build these important relationship:
Always greet your neighbors.
Regardless of how busy you are, a simple acknowledgement of a neighbor’s presence goes a long way.
Make eye contact
When you see your neighbor nearby make sure to make eye contact with them. It doesn't take long, but they will appreciate it and it shows them you care.
Show you are paying attention
Demonstrate your attention to your neighbor by remarking on something relevant. Saying something like, “Looks like you’ve been fishing” or “You’ve got the friendliest dog ever” shows you’re paying attention.
Notice changes in your neighbor’s appearance.
Making comments such as, “I like your new haircut” or “You look nice today” always brings a lift.
Take a genuine interest.
When you say, “Hi,” show real interest and add something like, “I’ve been wondering how you’re doing since I hadn’t seen you lately.”
When you’re feeling rushed or not in the best mood, remind yourself to be kind to your neighbors.
Opening a door for your neighbor when his hands are full or helping him carry in bags of groceries shows you care.
Say, ‘thank you.’
When your neighbor does something for you, remember to show your gratitude.
Find time to chat.
You can most likely tell when someone is interested in spending a few minutes to talk with you, so make time to have a conversation.
Make an effort to get to know your neighbors.
You’ll find that you live near some pretty fascinating people if you attempt to discover more about your neighbors.
Be open to becoming friends with your neighbors.
You’ve probably made at least one good friend in the past from getting to know your neighbors. How about adding a couple more? There’s no such thing as too many true friends!
Offer to help.
Lend a hand whenever a neighbor needs a ride or other assistance. If the shoe were on the other foot, and you needed a hand, wouldn’t it be nice (and convenient) to receive help from your neighbors?
Invite a neighbor over for coffee, drinks, or dinner.
When you discover neighbors who intrigue you, invite them to share a beverage or meal with you.
Keep it simple.
Most people get a little anxious when things look overly planned or perfect. Instead, just have a few snacks ready (and a simple meal if you're having dinner). Keep it casual, relaxed, and easy. Neighbors really appreciate those things.
Don’t wait to be asked.
If your neighbor just pulled up with a chair in their truck, rather than wondering whether they want help or not, just walk over and offer to carry. If, for some reason, the neighbor doesn’t prefer for you to help, he’ll let you know.
Everyone likes a person who doesn’t put on airs. Be yourself and your neighbors will love you.
If you offer to drive your neighbor to work tomorrow because her car is in the shop, ensure you arrive in plenty of time to get her to work on time.
If your neighbor asks for help and you simply can’t do it, let him know right away so he can make other arrangements. Rather than say, “I might be able to work it out,” be honest about how the timing will not work for you this time. You could, however, offer another time you can do it, in the event your neighbor is in a position to be flexible.
Have a sense of humor.
It’s always more fun to be around entertaining people who make others laugh.
Show vigilance when it comes to the neighborhood.
Keeping an eye out for out-of-place vehicles or strangers on the street illustrates that you care about your neighbors. Plus, paying attention to unusual happenings protects you and your family as well.
If you happen to hear that the store around the corner is having a going-out-of-business sale, be sure to tell your neighbors. If the tables were turned, you’d appreciate knowing.
Take over soup or a hot meal just to help out.
If your neighbor just got out of the hospital for example, why not cook up a pot of chili or make a meatloaf to take to their family for dinner? At the very least, consider dropping off some take-out food items to lend a hand during your neighbor’s difficult time. People are always really happy to be given this type of thoughtful help.
Don’t force it.
Notice if a neighbor isn’t all that interested in developing a close friendship. Some neighbors prefer to say, “Hi” and that’s it. If you’re observant, you’ll pick up on the type of relationship your neighbors prefer to have with you.
Don’t be pushy.
Keep your personal invitations to a minimum. Few people like the neighbor who’s always trying to make plans with you or demanding that you spend time together with them.
Recognize different priorities.
You may be settled and have lots of free time to hang out, but your neighbor, however, may be trying to work fulltime and have 2 young kids to deal with when he gets home. Being sensitive to your neighbor’s life is an important aspect of being a good neighbor.
Try some of these ideas to get to know your neighbors and become their friend. By engaging in positive actions like helping out when they need it or lending a sympathetic ear to their woes, you'll soon become the best neighbor on the block!