Many of us do not realize the importance of getting to know our neighbors. In fact, neighborly relations have made a steady decline since the 1950s; for reasons unknown to sociologists. Most of us probably don’t even know our neighbor’s name. In actuality about 28% of us don’t know ANY of our neighbors’ names, according to a 2010 Pew study. So why is this so important?
(1) Knowing your neighbors, and having at least an acquaintance-type relationship makes your community stronger. (2) Crime levels tend to drop when neighbors know each other. (3) The community tends to have better abilities to organize toward common interests. (4) Knowing your neighbors can help diffuse conflicts before they turn ugly, and; (5) It makes your living experience that much more enjoyable!
So if you have a neighbor that seems friendly or even one that bothers you from time to time, take the initiative and spark up a conversation the next time you see them. It can be as simple as a smile and a hello. If your apartment community has monthly community events, instead of deciding not to go, take that leap and join in on the fun.
If your neighbor doesn’t know who you are how can they respect and know your boundaries and limits. Instead of it being the annoying neighbor that stomps around after quiet hours for no reason, it becomes Jeff and Cindy working out to their exercise DVD. Once that relationship has developed, even if the behavior doesn’t cease, it gives you the confidence (and the resources) to call that neighbor and let them know how you are feeling before you become upset, and allows both neighbors to calmly speak before it potentially turns into a hostile relationship. Jeff and Cindy realize they are being too loud too late at night and decide to work out a bit earlier. Problem solved, and still friendly!
- Rebecca Marshall, Leasing Agent at White Pines Apartments/At Home Apartments