Why you could be a bad neighbour
A friend’s neighbour once left the handbrake of his 4WD off while he dashed back into his house to grab something, writes Erin Reilly.
Introduce yourself to your neighbours and invite them over for a cuppa (or a beersie).
My friend watched through my lounge window as the neighbour’s giant vehicle rolled across their shared driveway, right into the back of her station wagon. Then she saw him look around to make sure no one was watching and drive away like nothing had happened.
Another of her neighbours owns an obnoxiously loud V8 that he revs up every morning before 7.30am.
The car roars in and out of their driveway multiple times before 9am when its owner finally goes to work. The same thing happens at the end of every day – the owner arrives home and is then in and out every half hour until roughly 10:30pm.
Getting a baby to sleep amidst the constant disruption is nearly impossible.
My friend and her family moan about their bad neighbours daily.
But last week they asked themselves the following question: If we think they’re bad, could they think we’re bad too?
How do you think you stack up? Ask yourself:
Do you know the names of your neighbours? Do you make a habit of mowing your lawns at 7:30am on a Saturday, or holding regular raucous parties? Do you steal fruit off your neighbour’s trees (even if it hangs over onto your side)?
Communities are much nicer to live in when neighbours communicate. Maybe your neighbour doesn’t realise their V8 is as loud as it is. Maybe they don’t know that babies live next door, or that you look forward to Saturday sleep-ins. Perhaps all it would take is a friendly ‘how are you going?’ and a casual mention about the noisy vehicle?
Let’s make a concerted effort to make our neighbourhoods friendlier. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and invite them over for a cuppa (or a beersie). Think about the noise you’re making and mow the lawns after 10am on the weekend. If you’re having a bit of a shindig – pop over to the neighbours and give them a heads up – or send them a message on Neighbourly.co.nz. Instead of driving around your neighbour’s recycling bin, bring it in for them. And if you’re a wiz in the kitchen, offer to turn the fruit that’s hanging over onto your side of the fence into jam for both of you.
These little ‘acts of kindness’ might seem inconsequential, but can be the first step when it comes to building connected neighbourhoods.
Neighbours are much like family; you don’t get to choose them, you just get handed them. With that in mind, let’s all go out of our way to be good neighbours, not the ones that people peer at through cracks in their curtains.
Get to know your neighbour – it could make life a lot easier for all concerned.