There’s a lot of good that comes from being a benevolent neighbour. But it isn’t just feel-good stuff—studies have proven a scientific connection between positive neighbour relationships and good mental health. And it’s already a well-established fact that social isolation is bad for our health, sometimes even fatal.
In light of this, Neighbour Day is an initiative run by not-for-profit Relationships Australia to celebrate community and encourage people to connect with others in their neighbourhood. For Neighbour Day this Sunday 27th March, we would like to offer some tips on how to be a better neighbour.
You don’t need to throw a housewarming party, but your neighbours will appreciate the chance to meet you in person. When introducing yourself, ask if there is anything you can do for them as they move in. They may have an extra piece of furniture that needs to be carried up the stairs or a box that needs lifting. If it’s a family with children, offer to have them over for a playdate with your kids while the moving process is being completed. All this not only makes the transition easier for them but also gives you the chance to get to know each other better.
A little kindness goes a long way
Kindness is a beneficial habit that costs nothing at all. Kindness helps build stronger relationships with the people around you. If you are kind to others, they will naturally reciprocate the same behaviour. The simple acts of kindness that you do for your neighbours are the things that will make them feel happy and comfortable in your neighbourhood.
But did you know that helping others also makes ourselves happier too? Indeed, research shows a direct correlation between overall well-being and giving our time, money, or other resources to something we care about.
So next time you’re out mowing the lawn, why not offer to do your neighbour’s too?
If your neighbour is elderly or vulnerable, check up on them once in a while. Perhaps even help buy their groceries on your next trip to the supermarket.
If you know your neighbour has had a baby, chances are it’s a special time for them. Take the time to congratulate them and/or send a thoughtful card.
It doesn’t take much effort to help your neighbours but doing so can make a big difference in the relationships you have with them.
The best way to be a great neighbour is to be considerate. Whether you’re working on your property or throwing a party, it’s important to be aware of how your actions affect those around you.
If you’re an early bird, try resist mowing your lawn at 7am on a Saturday morning. Wait until at least 10am since your neighbours may be sleeping in on the weekend. Renovation jobs that involve drilling and hammering can also be quite disruptive, so why not let your neighbours know beforehand?
Some neighbours will not be enthused about a wild party going on in their backyard at 12am—remember, they are human just like yourself! However, if you plan ahead and communicate early about which nights or what times are better suited to have a gathering, they’re far more likely to be understanding.
Lastly, remember that you don’t have to become deeply involved in other people’s personal lives to be a great neighbour. Be friendly, but don’t overstep the boundaries. Observe and respect your neighbour’s personal space. Some people may love lots of interaction, but others simply prefer to be on polite nodding terms. And that’s fine too.