Home is a special place. Your home is your haven, a safe place where you can take your heels off and relax. After a long day of work, the last thing you want is trouble in your personal paradise. Trouble is that most of us don’t live on our own private island; we have neighbors. We all know that neighbors can be a blessing or a curse. What we often don’t realize is that our behavior is a huge factor in how our neighborly relationships develop.
The most important thing to consider when thinking about your relationship with your neighbors is what kind of neighbor you are. That’s the one thing you can control. Are you a good neighbor? If you’ve just moved, the best thing is to start off on the right foot. Be friendly even if you don’t feel like talking, because first impressions count. Conversely, respect your neighbor’s privacy. Sometimes people want to come home and collapse after a long day and they don’t want to stand outside for 30 minutes talking. Allow your neighbors to wave hello and go inside if they want. In general, as in all other aspects of your life, remember the Golden Rule.
Not everyone takes that approach to neighboring. There are several types of people who can be hard to live with, or near. There’s the grumpy, stay-off-my-lawn neighbor; the slovenly, wish-they-didn’t-live-next-to-you neighbor; the busybody, would-be-police neighbor; the junk collectors; the oblivious pet owners and the partiers. Each of these types of “bad” neighbor has one thing in common – they will most likely not move just because you have a problem with them.
With that fact in mind, it’s best to approach the situation with the knowledge that you will be seeing this person frequently for what may be years to come. For that reason, try not to start an all out war. Never make an enemy when you can just as easily make a friend. First, cool down. If your neighbor is driving you crazy, just wait. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you can speak calmly, think about what you’re going to say. Think about things from your neighbor’s perspective. It’s really easy to think, “She knows that drives me crazy,” but it is possible that your neighbor is clueless about your irritation. When you approach your neighbor, make your concern clear and concise. Rather than accusing them of being slobs, try asking them to help you, even propose a solution good for both parties.
Throughout your dealings with the people who live near you, try to remember that your neighbors are people too and their home is also their haven. Everyone has different taste and style, beauty and beastly is definitely in the eye of the beholder. So smile and be as cordial as possible. The old adage about honey works with neighbors too. Cookies, treats & flowers go a long way towards making friends.