I’ve been lucky enough to have the same great neighbors on either side of me for almost a decade. Our little neighborhood is possibly the best kept secret in town. That’s why I was so surprised when both neighbors put their homes up for sale within six months of each other. I didn't take it personally, ten years is a good run and they both had new circumstances that meant they needed a new home. However, this did get me thinking about what kind of neighbor I am. How can I channel my inner “Mr. Rogers” to help my future neighbors feel welcome and continue to be a good neighbor for the long-haul?
Here are a few things I came up with as I pondered WWMRD (What Would Mr. Rogers Do) even after the sparkle of newness has worn off my new neighbor’s home.
Help them feel welcome
If you’re starting from day one, try to make your neighbor feel welcome. Moving is stressful and tiring and a nice gesture from a new neighbor feels good. Give them a friendly “Welcome to the neighborhood” note, deliver homemade baked goods (homemade from the grocery store bakery works too), or just walk over and introduce yourself. What I’m saying is find a way to say “Hi, we’re glad you’re here” and make an effort to get to know each other.
If you see your neighbor outside, say hello and ask how they’re doing. You don’t need to be Mr. or Ms. Congeniality, but avoiding conversation at all costs is not pleasant and does not go unnoticed. Make an attempt to give a friendly wave here and there and ask your neighbor how they’re doing.
Mind Your Pet Manners
Your pet is undeniably cute and adorable, but it’s important to realize that your neighbors may have a very different view of your pets. Excessive barking is annoying, aggressive dogs are frightening and the “gift” your pet leaves in the yard near your neighbor's fence leaves a certain undesirable smell. If you have pets, be mindful of their behavior and clean up after them.
Warm weather calls for fun cookouts and outside get-togethers with friends. Give your neighbor a heads-up if you’re planning to host a large party. Music can add the perfect ambiance, but be mindful of your volume and make sure you end the evening at a reasonable hour so as not to disturb your neighbors or keep them awake.
Keep Up Your Curb Appeal
Keeping up with HGTV-level curb appeal is not realistic, but be aware that you live in a neighborhood where your yard and home are in the direct line of sight of many people. If it’s not garbage day, don’t leave your trash can on the curb. Unless it’s pick-up week, don’t leave large items to dispose of on your lawn. Also, take down your holiday décor within a reasonable amount of time, especially things that start to wither, like trees and wreaths. It’s not pleasant to watch your neighbor’s décor participate in the circle of life as they decay and rot.
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to make it a beautiful day in your neighborhood, check out all of these tips on our Pinterest board. Do you have other ways you’d like to share about how to be a friendly neighbor? Tell us in the comments!