Here at Nextdoor, we’re celebrating good neighbors all month long, but for many of us living in cities, the days of running next door to borrow a cup of sugar seem far in the past. We nod hello to our neighbors but rarely say more than hello. How can we all be better neighbors? In honor of National Good Neighbor Day on September 28, here are my favorite tips on how to be a good neighbor – this month, and all year long.
Do be friendly. Make a point to introduce yourself, welcome new neighbors, and get to know the people who live around you on a first-name basis. It is important to know who your neighbors are, especially in the event of an emergency. Rely on old-fashioned socializing: say hello in the hallway, on the street, or at the mailbox – or even invite your neighbors over for a fall gathering.
Don’t be noisy. This is one of the cardinal rules of being a good neighbor. Try to keep noise down after 10 p.m. and during weeknights, and be sure to keep dogs and other pets under control both inside and outside the home. If you are going to have a large gathering or party, notify neighbors in advance and be mindful of their schedule.
Do lend a helping hand. Offer to share with a neighbor in need – an impressive 9 out of 10 Americans surveyed are comfortable sharing with neighbors. Start a carpool to work or create a lending library for books or expensive yard equipment. Watch out for each other. When neighbors are away, pick up their mail and warn them of any criminal activity in the neighborhood. Be willing to help other neighbors in times of crisis or with everyday favors such as carrying groceries.
Don’t invade personal space or boundaries. Be respectful of your neighbors’ privacy – keep the conversations on your Nextdoor newsfeed appropriate for the neighborhood, and if you want to reach out to a neighbor with personal updates, send it to them in a private message.
Do keep conversation light and cordial. No one wants a nosy neighbor. Stick to basic topics such as the weather, local sports teams, or pets. Avoid gossip and, when in doubt, abide by the old saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Don’t let your neighborhood go unkept. Keep your neighborhood clean beyond your front door. In addition to keeping your yard or apartment exterior tidy, make an effort in your neighborhood. Do your part to help pick up extra leaves or coordinate a clean up if there is clutter or trash accumulating in the neighborhood.
Do create a sense of community. Strong neighborhoods don’t just magically happen; they’re the result of neighbors making an effort to connect. Host a yard sale, start a neighborhood watch, or plant a community garden. Inevitably, knowing your neighbors will help create a happier and safer neighborhood – and a happier place to call home.
Do you have a good neighbor that you want to recognize? Nominate them for Nextdoor’s National Good Neighbor Awards for a chance for them to win $1,000 and a matching donation to a charity of their choice.