The Holden Team's Blog
Social media, cell phones and hundreds of television channels may have brought the world closer, a whole lot closer. In fact, because of these devices, it only takes the click of a button to keep up with what’s going on in the world. It seems impossible to perceive of yourself as ever being alone with the constant connections. Yet, there are downsides to relying on technology to connect with another person, especially when it comes to community relationships.
Good neighbor relationships don’t happen on their own
It’s not just that rewarding neighborhood relationships help to strengthen trust inhumanity. It’s also not just that good neighborhood relationships give you a support network, people to contact should you need someone to look after your children.
There are health benefits to developing good relationships with your neighbors. Deeper human connections have been reported to ward off feelings of isolation and loneliness. By becoming friends with your neighbors, you also gift yourself with a positive feeling each time you see your neighbor.
You can also have someone to talk with should you deal with a personal or work related challenge. This can help to reduce stress as well as lower your chances of developing a stress related illness or disease. Also, if you have rewarding relationships with your neighbors, you can create incredibly loving, exciting and lasting memories that extend beyond your immediate family.
Steps to great neighbors
But, good neighbor relationships don’t just happen. Similar to rewarding relationships between colleagues, a spouse or beau, it takes effort to make a neighbor a friend. Because you live within close physical proximity of your neighbors, it won’t take mileage and transportation expenses to keep in touch.
What it will take is commitment, patience and understanding. A simple first step is to speak with your neighbors when you see them, even if it takes a few times before your neighbors take the initiative and speak to you first.
If your neighbors have children, encourage your kids to make friends with the youngsters. You could also form a neighborhood block party to kick in spring and bid farewell to summer.
When neighbors share information with you in confidence, keep the information to yourself. This means not telling anyone what was shared with you unless the information would put someone in danger. In that event, you may have no choice except to share the information with a professional.
This next tip goes beyond living with neighbors. Get in the habit of practicing active listening skills. For example, don’t interrupt your neighbors when they are speaking. Also, avoid framing your response to a question or comment that a neighbor shares with you while your neighbor is speaking. Active listening is a great way to build trust.
As you get to know your neighbors better, consider inviting them over to your house to enjoy a chat on the front porch. If your neighbors reciprocate, they should start to invite you over to their place as well. Right now, it may sound far fetched, but your neighbors could become among your very best friends if you put in the effort to get to know them better.
Even more good news is that it’s never too late to start to make the effort to become friends with your neighbors. It may be as simple as saying “hello” each time that you see your neighbor. Finding out what your neighbor’s name is also helps. So too does practicing active listening skills and valuing your neighbor’s ideas, opinions and thoughts.