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How to be the Kind of Neighbor You Would Want with Harriette Cole

Written by Anne Dreshfield

cdxjw13y_400x400Harriette Cole is a life stylist, writer, editor, best-selling author, media coach, nationally syndicated advice columnist, and etiquette expert who is a frequent guest on NBC’s Today Show, LXTV, Access Hollywood, the Biography channel, BET, and more.

Her nationally-syndicated advice column, Sense & Sensitivity, has offered sage and sincere advice to a national audience for more than a dozen years. Her intention is to inspire people to have the tools to navigate their lives with grace, dignity and the utmost capability – inspiring them to discover how to be their best selves.

Harriette Cole joins us, together with State Farm, to share some of her tips on how to be the kind of neighbor you’d want just over the fence.


Say hey! All of us—from Millennials to Seniors—want to connect to our neighbors, even though we often don’t act on our instincts. Trust your gut and greet a neighbor today.

Make eye contact. Make eye contact the next time you pass a neighbor. You know you want to! Our survey says we want to connect but too often don’t. Don’t let busyness or privacy hold you back.

Tweet Me, Text Me. Seniors and Millennials use technology regularly to connect with friends and family. Now is the perfect time to Tweet, text, or otherwise engage social media to connect to the people closest to you—your neighbors.

Can you spare a cup of sugar? Instead of calling on friends or family who live far away for that proverbial cup of sugar, ask your neighbor. They can’t wait to give it to you! Literally, most neighbors say they welcome the opportunity to support the family next door.

Party On! Socializing with neighbors is a high priority for many of us, including 71% of Millennials, 81% of Seniors, 66% of African Americans, and 62% of Hispanics. But nobody’s putting one together – so get out there and throw a bash your neighbors can’t turn down.

Give equal credit. You might think women are your neighborhood’s event planners, but actually men do more of the organizing.

Trust your instincts, say hello. Because privacy is a high priority for most people in today’s busy society, many resist the urge to reach out to the people in their communities. Our research says, go on and do it! Most neighbors actually do want to connect.

Texting is the new knocking. If you don’t want to knock on your neighbor’s door for fear of invading their privacy, try texting first. And in turn, let your neighbors know what’s the best way to get ahold of you.

Be the first to welcome newcomers. Most people polled said they would appreciate being welcomed when they move into a neighborhood; however, most people weren’t. Bake that pie (or buy it at the store) and show up when new neighbors move in.

Look out for one another. Let your neighbor have your back! 69% of our survey participants say they take looking out for their neighbors as a personal responsibility. Next time a neighbor is out of town, keep an eye on their home.

Be a good citizen. No matter what your political stance, being involved is key – get out and vote and make it neighborly. Try ride-sharing to the polls. Or to make voting a little easier for neighbors with young children, offer to watch the kids for an hour. Engage in the civic conversation in your community, and remember to respect different opinions and keep an open mind.


Inspired by the tips you found here? Check out our Good Neighbor Award winners from across the United States who have made a positive impact on their communities. Know an inspiring neighbor yourself? Nominate them for our Good Neighbor award!

Good Neighbor Tips written by Harriette Cole via State Farm.

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