6 Little But Meaningful Ways To Be A Good Neighbor

Greg Norris December 7, 2023

If you want to have a good neighbor, you have to be a good neighbor first. And learning how to be a good neighbor is a skill that can be equally as impactful on you as it can on your neighborhood. 

So whether you just bought a new home or have lived in your place long-term, your goal as a part of a community is to make it a safer and more comfortable place to live in. After all, the quality of a neighborhood is heavily impacted by the people who make it up. Here are six little but valuable practices to help you become the kinder, more caring neighbor you'd want to live next to, not only now that the holiday spirit is in the air, but for the whole year round.

Be mindful of the noise you are making, especially during certain hours of the day, such as late at night or early morning. Avoid blasting loud music, slamming doors, or throwing boisterous parties during those hours. This might be more applicable if you live in a townhouse or a condo, as you likely share walls with neighbors, and noise is more easily heard. 

If you're throwing an evening party, be courteous and let your neighbors know in case it runs late into the night. Do your best to not be disrespectful and disruptive to contribute to a peaceful environment for you and for those who live near you. 

We love our furry friends, but not everyone in the neighborhood will feel the same way. Don't be that neighbor who thinks it’s okay to let their dog bark incessantly day and night. Bring them indoors if they tend to bark through the night and work on improving their habit. If you like taking your pet for walks, always keep them on a leash, no matter their size and breed, in case there are any young children around or people not comfortable with pets. Likewise, don’t forget to pick up after them. Keep your gates locked if they’re out in the backyard to prevent them from escaping. Similarly, don’t let your cat roam the neighborhood and use other’s property as their litter box.

If you're a new homeowner, understand that everyone in the neighborhood will appreciate you keeping your home’s exterior clean and tidy. Lawn care and yard maintenance are extremely important for most residents, especially those who are concerned about their home’s resale value. And a home that looks like it isn’t being taken care of can unfortunately hurt a surrounding home’s resale potential. 

Since you’re now part of a community, one way to contribute to it is by keeping your house in tip-top shape and maintaining a nice curb appeal. Hide eyesores such as trash and other junk, upgrade your mailbox, trim trees and shrubs, etc.—little things that could improve your home’s exterior aesthetics, contribute to your property value and help you stay in good standing with your neighbors.

Another way to be a good neighbor and to take care of your neighborhood is by being helpful. Making small acts of kindness, and helping out whenever you can, benefits both your neighbors and yourself. According to a Nextdoor study, performing small acts of kindness for neighbors reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely. If you see someone struggling with groceries or attempting to do a two-person job alone, might as well offer your assistance. If you've living in the neighborhood for a while now, you can help out new neighbors by being a source of information. You can let them know the names of reliable service providers, such as tradesmen, general contractors, or landscapers. Or recommend grocery stores that offer the best deals. 

Use the skills and resources available to you when lending some support. Do you have a wonderful garden? Share seeds or seedlings, or even your knowledge on how to grow a particular plant. Remember: every small gesture counts and can go a long way toward establishing yourself as a friendly neighbor.

Getting involved in your community is a great way to show you care, and helps you connect with others, especially those who have the same interests as you. Attend HOA meetings, participate in community events and cleanups, comply with the association's set of rules, turn up at block parties—generally, take an active role in changing the neighborhood for the better. 

It's natural for issues and concerns to arise between neighbors. Maybe you have a neighbor whose dog barks all night long. Or your next-door neighbor’s tree is causing damage to your property. Or there’s someone who’s not following HOA rules. Whatever the concern, the last thing you shouldn’t do is to complain via text or email, slip them an anonymous note under their door, or badmouth them to other neighbors. It’s best to set a meeting with them to discuss the matters at hand, calmly and constructively. Remain respectful and try to work a solution out that benefits all parties. Most likely, they will appreciate you approaching them directly rather than passive-aggressively throwing them under the bus. 

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