Less than 48hrs after reading this post over at Down to Earth Mother, I was lucky enough to enjoy first-hand the benefits of being friendly with your neighbours.
Following the recent downturn and subsequent redundancies, our street is looking somewhat empty at the moment.
Unfortunately, living in a company town means that only current company employees (of which there are now less) are eligible to live here. As a result, our little street of 13 houses has said goodbye to five families, leaving only 8 houses occupied.
Regardless, those that are left are a good bunch, particularly the neighbours that are directly across from us; a lovely Islander gentleman, his gorgeous Thai wife and their ‘cute as a button’ 11month old son. Despite significant language barriers we often trade herbs (their Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass is exceptional), cooking (I take over scones, cupcakes and brownies while delicious Thai dishes are often sent our way) and we let the little ones play together whenever the weather allows. Our neighbour’s English is improving and I am learning about Thai geography and some basic words! It’s a win-win…
Yesterday we loaned our lawn mower. No big deal and certainly nothing that we would ever expect any form of repayment for, after all sharing resources is one of the beautiful benefits of being neighbourly. Upon glancing out the window as I was washing the lunch dishes, I suddenly noticed that our wonderful neighbour had not only mowed his own lawn, but had now started work on our verge (my least favourite area to mow)! Naturally we asked if he was lost…
Even more surprisingly and delightful, late in the afternoon after the lawnmower had returned to the garage, a plate of delicious, freshly made Thai spring rolls arrived on our dining table. What a treat!
Getting to know your neighbours can be an absolute delight. Collectively you can share resources (saving both money and the environment), and learn from each other, regardless of cultural or lifestyle differences.
Easy tips to get to know your neighbours!
• When you first move in to a new neighbourhood, take the time to introduce yourself, exchange phone numbers and share any significant details that may be relevant (shift work, large family, friendly dog…)
• Bake extra – baking a little extra to share with your neighbours takes almost no time at all, yet delivers amazing amounts of goodwill. Nothing extends the hand of friendship better than pumpkin scones or chocolate brownies.
• Is your herb garden overflowing? Let your neighbours know – you may save them a trip to the shops and prevent your lovingly tended herbs from being wasted.
• Host a neighbourhood BBQ and invite everyone to bring a plate that celebrates their heritage
• Initiate a conversation. Rather than just a brisk hello as you rush past, linger for a moment and ask about their day. It may just be the start of a wonderful new friendship.
• Do you have kids? Concerned about their safety? Start getting to know the other parents in your neighbourhood. Not only will your children suddenly be surrounded by friends (less requests to be driven to distant friend’s houses), you will also feel reassured about your children’s safety.
• Mowing your verge? Take an extra five minutes to look after your neighbours at the same time.
• Bring the rubbish bin in. Less than 30 seconds to perform a random act of kindness to make you both happier!
Not only will knowing your neighbours give you greater peace of mind, it may help save you money and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Now who is up for that?