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Posted in Your Community, Community | May 2015

Mending fences

You don’t necessarily have to be best friends, but having a healthy, amicable relationship with the people that share your neighborhood space is important. For one thing, it’s just nice to be on good terms with the folks next door. But from a practical standpoint, it’s smart to keep things friendly for times when you may need to ask a favor or make a gentle complaint about noise or property standards. It really is easier to catch flies with honey, as the old saying goes.

So what can you do to create harmony and generate goodwill on your street? We’ve got a few good ideas to help you create a happy ‘hood:

  • Get to know each other. Organize a street party so everyone has a chance to meet and exchange pleasantries. You’re more apt to be tolerant of a neighbor’s behavior when you know a little bit about who they are. From a security standpoint it’s also good to get to know the faces that should be coming and going from your neighbors’ homes.
  • Go the extra mile every now and then. Shovel their part of the sidewalk or driveway, offer to mow their lawn, or share resources (order a bulk load of dirt or other outdoor maintenance supplies and split the cost). People appreciate those little neighborly niceties.
  • Offer a warm welcome. If someone new moves into the neighborhood, take over a small housewarming gift once they’re settled in. A batch of homemade cookies or a pretty houseplant would be very welcoming. This will give you a chance to introduce yourselves and demonstrate that you’re good people to know.
  • Be respectful. If you’re going to have an outdoor party, for example, let your neighbors know and tell them what time you’ll be wrapping up the festivities so they won’t be concerned about all night noise. The same thing goes if you’re having some construction or landscaping done on your property.
  • Don’t let things fester. If you do have a concern about something happening next door, address it right away before it becomes a bigger issue than it really is. Letting things go on too long will end up making you more frustrated and your approach more aggressive than generally warranted.
  • Decide if it’s really worth complaining about. Make sure the concern you have is worth potentially causing a rift in your relationship, and be aware that it might make your usually placid neighbors start looking over the fence and scrutinizing everything you do too. If it’s not really that big a deal that your neighbor doesn’t rake as soon as you think he should, stay quiet.
  • Be direct. If you do decide to speak with your neighbors, be as polite and respectful as possible. Explain your concern and try to offer a way to help with the situation, if possible.

There will be times when personalities just don’t mesh, but making an effort to be the kind of neighbor you’d like to have should help keep things pleasant between you and the people in your neighborhood.

For more great advice on what to do if you have troublesome neighbors, visit Readers Digest.

412445D CAN/US (05/15)

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